Showing posts with label Frozen Four. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frozen Four. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

My Top-Five Picks for a Frozen Four

English: National Collegiate Athletic Associat...
This past week, Brad Schlossman reported that the University of North Dakota will bid to host a future Frozen Four in St. Louis, Missouri. Here's my question where would you like to see a Frozen Four held?

After pondering this subject for a few days, I came up with my favorites. Here're my top-five choices.

1. I am a big fan Florida, and I love the Sun Shine State. So, I would like to see a Frozen Four held in the Florida Panthers home arena, the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.

2. Staying in Florida, this past year's Frozen Four was a big success. So, I am cool with the Frozen Four going returning to Tampa Florida on a semi-regular basis. Obviously, UND also had success at Amalie Arena.

3. Last week, it was announced that Las Vegas is getting an NHL team. We were told it was a done deal. So, let's get the NCAA to change their mind about holding a NCAA championship in Las Vegas, Nevada. Currently, the NCAA doesn't hold championships in states where gambling is legal. T-Mobile Arena looks like a great place to hold a Frozen Four.

4. The Xcel Energy Center is another great venue to hold a Frozen Four in. There's not much more that I can add to that. While the weather in Minnesota can be dicey in April. It's a great hockey venue and the Frozen Four should return to the Xcel frequently.

5. Finally, I like the idea of holding a Frozen Four in Phoenix. Currently, the Coyotes play in Gila River Arena. That could change.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Frozen Four Lines: North Dakota vs. Quinnipiac

Quinnipiac (32-3-7)

Forward Lines
7 Sam Anas-26 Travis St. Denis-16 Landon Smith
24 Bo Pieper-19 Tanner MacMaster-12 Thomas Aldworth
39 Andrew Taverner-23 Tommy Schutt-17 K.J. Tiefenwerth
18 Soren Jonzzon-11 Tim Clifton-22 Scott Davidson

Defense Parings
6 Devon Toews-27 Kevin McKernan
13 Chase Priskie-4 Connor Clifton
14 Derek Smith-8 Alex Miner-Barron

34 Michael Garteig
29 Sean Lawrence
35 Jacob Meyers

North Dakota (33-6-4)

Forward Lines
9 Drake Caggiula-8 Nick Schmaltz-16 Brock Boeser
29 Bryn Chyzyk-22 Rhett Gardner-14 Austin Poganski
25 Joel Janatuinen-26 Coltyn Sanderson-17 Colten St. Clair
19 Shane Gersich-10 Johnny Simonson-11 Trevor Olson
Defense Parings
3 Tucker Poolman-6 Paul LaDue
20 Gage Ausmus-2 Troy Stecher
24 Christian Wolanin-4 Keaton Thompson

33 Cam Johnson
30 Matt Hrynkiw

There will be some lineup changes for UND. First, as we feared, Luke Johnson is out, he was wearing a very big brace (see screen shot from snap chat video). That doesn't look good. Tonight, UND will miss Johnson's faceoff prowess. 

Second: Colten St. Clair will take Johnson's place in the lineup. There’s no way he could play. Hopefully, he will be ready next season. Haden Shaw is out and Christian Wolanin takes his place in the lineup. There are two (Coltyn and Colten) on the third line.  

It will be interesting to see if UND tests the injured shoulder of Bobcats forward Sam Anas'. If I was UND, they should check him, legally, every chance they get. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

UND Hockey: The 2013-14 Season is Over.

We knew that Thursday or Saturday would be the last game of the season. Nonetheless, the last game always seems to sting, unless you finish with a title. This one doesn't hurt as bad as others. It took me a week to get over the 2011 Frozen Four.

I don’t think anyone expected UND’s season to end the way it did. UND finishes the season with a (25-14-3, .630) record. They had a 14-7-1 record at home and a 8-5-2 record on the road. They were 3-2-0 on neutral ice.

I don’t know if you could’ve drawn it up this way. Less than a second left in regulation, on a shorthanded goal, by a player that hadn’t scored a goal all season long. But that’s hockey. Sometimes you have to tip your hat and congratulate the other team. It pains me to say that.

Think about this, there was six-tenths of a second remaining in regulation. It was interesting to wake up this morning and see fans calling for Hakstol’s head on twitter. Bulldog radio play-by-play man Bruce Ciskie was re-tweeting some of them. It was even more interesting to see fans and writers telling these fans to get a grip. I actually found it interesting that fans of other teams were defending the UND head coach.

Those who read here on a regular basis know that I think Dave Hakstol is a good hockey coach. I think an extension would be in order, especially after this season. I think this is one of Dave Hakstol’s best coaching jobs so far. Hakstol took a team that wasn’t as talented as the previous ones and went to the Frozen Four. That’s not an easy task. That’s also not an accident. His team was six-tenths of a second from going to overtime with the number one ranked team in the nation. I think this team deserved a better fate. Tough way to lose.  

Hak’s teams are 14-4 in regional play. On the flip side, his teams are 1-6 in the Frozen Four. Okay, one area that Hakstol needs to improve on, I am sure that he would agree. Last night, Hakstol’s team played the game to perfection. I thought the coaching staff had a great team game plan. They kept the Gophers bottled in their own zone and were the better team for most of the game. I don't know what else you can say about that. The boys in green were well prepared and they played very disciplined hockey. It was the best game that I witnessed all season long.

Sometimes you have to tip your hats to both teams for putting on a good show.

Let’s also give credit where credit is due. When you’re in the Frozen Four, you’re playing the best teams in the nation. Minnesota is a pretty good hockey team, there’s no shame in losing to them. Again, it pains me to see them win the game, but they earned it. It's not a fluke that the Gophers are in the championship game of the Frozen Four. Congrats to the Gophers.

I have to tip my hat to Gothberg who played out of his mind during the NCAA playoffs. UND has a big-time stopper in net. For the season, Gothberg finishes with a 20-10-3 record, a NCHC-leading 1.99 goals against average and a .926 save percentage. It’s not how you start, but how you finish, right? After starting the season 2-5-2, from November 30, 2013, his record was 18-5-1 and he had a 1.75 goals against average.

There are better days ahead for this team… I am not giving up.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Sunday afternoon Pontifications

I am surprised at after all of these years, four to be exact, this hit is still a topic discussion on message boards. This check in question happened on March 13, 2010. Yep, no doubt it, this was a bad,and dangerous hit, but Frattin is no Matt Cooke and he was given a one-game suspension for this hit. I laugh at the suggestions that he should be thrown out of hockey for life.

Also, contrary to public opinion, North Dakota is no longer a bunch of knuckle dragging  Neanderthal  goons, as some opposition fans like to call them. They're not angels either. UND is ranked 18 out of 59 teams in Penalty Minutes, and averages 12.9 minutes per game. Compared to team of the past, that's not very high.

If you haven't been paying attention to UND hockey, they've changed the way they play. Gone are the big thumpers, UND is now more of a skating team, they play a smart tenacious checking game. Defensively, UND is the top scoring defensive teams in the nation, averaging  2.76 points per game.

This kind of piggy backs Brad's tweet. I always liked the argument that the Xcel Energy Center is not a home game for the Minnesota Gophers. Yep, and Worcester isn't a home game for the Eagles either right?  The Xcel Energy Center is about seven miles from the University of Minnesota's campus.

Breaking it down further, after winning the 2014 NCAA West Regional, the Minnesota Golden Gophers are now 23-13-0 all-time at the Xcel Energy Center. That's a .639 winning percentage. The Gophers had a (3-1-1, .700) record this season, their only loss, was to the Ohio State Buckeyes (3-1)in the Big Ten Hockey Tourney.
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Monday, March 24, 2014

UND's Chances at Number Eight

Since it is that time of year again, all of the "fire Hakstol" nonsense is put on hold, well at least until UND makes an exit from the NCAA tournament, if they even do this season.

This UND team is a team that has shown signs on how they can compete with the best teams in the country. On the contrary, they also have shown signs on why there is also a great chance that they could be golfing very early this spring.

Lets take a look at their first round match-up against a tough Wisconsin. The Badgers are coming off of an entertaining overtime victory in the Big Ten title game Saturday night against Ohio State. Finishing second in the Big Ten regular season standings, the Badgers have found themselves in the top 10 of the rankings essentially all season long. However, they are playing a UND team that has almost been unbeatable since their Friday night loss to St. Lawrence all the way back in November.

That being said, this UND team has also shown sides of very poor play. Good examples of this is their 6-3 loss to UNO at the Ralph in February and most recently this past Friday against Miami. The only difference between the two games is UND would put forward a good 60 minutes against Miami, but would miss on great scoring chances that one team just can't miss on.

If that team from the Miami game shows up this Friday against the Badgers, our tournament life is very likely to be limited and the "fire Hakstol" jazz will be back in full force once again. However, if the team from Saturday night, which beat Western Michigan 5-0, shows up, look out NCAA.

So what are the chances I am giving UND to win their eighth national title this year? I'd say probably about a 35% chance at the most. I can hear all of the hate coming in right now, but watching this team play all season, I learned that their play can be very bipolar. Depending on what team shows up this Friday, sorry for stating the obvious here like Pierre, but it will determine how long they can stay in this tournament. Beat the Badgers, and I think this team makes the Frozen Four.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

NCAA FROZEN FOUR: Semifinals preview (Thursday 4/11)

The NCAA’s Frozen Four takes center stage at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Semifinal 1

UMass Lowell 28-10-2 vs. Yale 20-12-3
Semifinal 3:30 p.m. (CT) ESPN2 (209 DirecTV/144 Dish)

UMass-Lowell’s offense is ranked #21 nationally and #3 defense.
Yale’s offense is ranked #26 nationally and #27 defense.

UMass River Hawks Fun Facts: On December 1, 2012, the UMass Lowell River Hawks were swept by the UNH Wildcats and the River Hawks looked like a team that was going nowhere with a 4-7-1 record. On December 8, 2012, the River Hawks started an incredible run, going unbeaten in 11 games (10-0-1). UMass Lowell went 24-3-1 then rest of the way, winning the Hockey East regular-season and tournament championship. Since December, UMass Lowell has been one of the best teams in the country.

Yale Bulldogs Fun Facts: The Yale Bulldogs was the last team to make the NCAA tourney. If the Michigan Wolverines had beaten Notre Dame and made the NCAA tourney, Yale would have stayed home. WCHA Dominance, Yale was 4-0 against the WCHA this season beating Colorado College Denver University and North Dakota.  Three of those games went to overtime.

Players to watch

River Hawks Forwards: Scott Wilson (16g-21a—37pts), Joseph Pendenza (14g-23a—37pts), Derek Arnold (13g-16a—29pts), Riley Wetmore (15g-11a—26pts), Josh Holmstrom (12g-12a—24pts). Defense: Chad Ruhwedel (7g-16a—23pts), Christian Folin (6g-15a—21pts), Joe Houk (0g-11a—11pts). Goalie: Connor Hellebuyck, 20-2-0, 1.31 GAA, .953 save percentage.

Bulldogs Forwards: Kenny Agostino (17g-23a—40pts), Andrew Miller (16g-21a—37pts), Antoine Laganiere (14g-13a—27pts). Defense: Tommy Fallen (7g-16a—23pts), Ryan Obuchowski (3g-9a-12pts), Gus Young (2g-6a—8pts). Goalies Jeff Malcolm 18-6-2, 2.35 GAA, .916 save percentage.

Semifinal 2

Quinnipiac 29-7-5 vs. St. Cloud State 25-15-1
Semifinal 7:00 p.m. (CT) ESPN2 (209 DirecTV/144 Dish)
St. Cloud’s offense is ranked #2 nationally and #15 defense.
Quinnipiac’s offense ranked #18 nationally and #1 defense.

Saint Cloud State Huskies Fun stats: Saint Cloud State’s Drew LeBlanc (13g-37a—50pts) is the highest scoring players left in the NCAA tourney.  Saint Cloud State freshman Jonny Brodzinski’s 22 goals lead the nation for rookies.

Quinnipiac Bobcats Fun Facts: This season the Quinnipiac Bobcats never lost more than two games in a row and they only did this one time. Also, the Bobcats never lost more than three games during a month (March).

Players to watch

Quinnipiac Bobcats forwards:  Mathew Peca (15g-15a—30), Jeremy Langlois (12g-18a—30pts), Jordan Samuels-Thomas (16g-11a—27pts), Kellen Jones (12g-14a—26pts), Connor Jones (12g-14a—26pts). Defense: Mike Dalhuisen (8g-8a—16pts), Loren Barron (3g-13a—16pts), Zach Davies (2g-13a—15pts). Goaltender: Eric Hartzell 29-6-5, 1.55 GAA, .933 save percentage.

Huskies Forwards: Drew LeBlanc (13g-37a—50pts), Nic Dowd(14g-25a—39pts), Jonny Brodzinski (22g-11a—33pts), Kalle Kossila (15g-18a—33pts), Ben Hanowski (17g-14a—31pts). Defense:  Nick Jensen 4g-27a—31pts), Andrew Prochno (5g-23a—28tps), Ethan Prow (3g-12a—15pts). Goalie: Ryan Faragher 24-13-1, 2.22 GAA, .916 save percentage.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Frozen Four Match-Ups (by Sioux 7)

It looks like a really blew my frozen four picks from two weeks ago. I had picked Union, Maine, Michigan, and North Dakota to make it, well at least I got one right. How about the fact the we have four teams from four different conferences this year, last year it was just the WCHA (UMD, UND) and CCHA (UM, ND) in the frozen four.

Here we are, Tampa Florida, none the less; not exactly what I call hockey country. Anyway here are the team’s backgrounds and information as well as my best guesses as to the winners. .

#3 Union (26-7-7)
Union got to the Frozen Four by beating Michigan State and UMass-Lowell in the East Regional (Bridgeport, CT) two weeks ago.

The Dutchmen are 6-0-0 on neutral sites and 10-5-3 on the road this season. Union is on a seven game win streak that helped them capture the ECAC hockey crown. The Dutchmen have only lost two games in the 2012 calendar year (Brown and Cornell).

This is Union’s first trip to the Frozen Four, they are 2-1 all time in the NCAA tournament. They lost to Minnesota-Duluth in their first ever NCAA game last year, and UMD went on to win the title last year.

Union ranks
4th in team offense with a 3.55 avg/gm
1st in team defense with a 1.80 avg/gam
4th on the Power Play at 24.34% (46/189)
10th on the Penalty Kill at 84.8% (128/151)

#6 Ferris State (25-11-5)
The Bulldogs got to this point by beating Denver and Cornell in the Midwest Regional (Green Bay, WI) two weeks ago.

The Bulldogs are 0-1-0 on neutral ice and 8-6-3 on the road this season. FSU has won three of its last four games.

This is Ferris State’s first trip to the Frozen Four; they are 3-1 all time in the NCAA tournament, 2-0 this year and 1-1 in 2003, losing to Minnesota that year.

Ferris State ranks
21st in team offense with a 2.93 avg/gm
5st in team defense with a 2.17 avg/gam
25th on the Power Play at 19.17% (37/193)
6th on the Penalty Kill at 85.8% (157/183)

The all time series between Union and FSU is all Dutchmen, they are 4-0-0, and those games were all played in 2006 and 2007, in Big Rapids and Schenectady respectively.

Going with the numbers on these teams it favors Union, going with that logic I'm going with the Dutchmen to advance to the Final. UNION WINS


#1 Boston College (31-10-1)
The Eagles got to Tampa by beating Air Force and Minnesota-Duluth in the Northeast Regional (Worcester, MA) two weeks ago.

The Eagles are 8-1-0 on neutral ice and are 10-6-0 on the road this season. The Eagle come into Tampa on a 17-game winning streak, their last loss was on January 21st to Maine.

This is Boston College’s 23rd trip to the Frozen Four; they have won the NCAA Hockey Title 4 times – 1949, 2001, 2008, 2010. The Eagles are owners of a 43-38 all-time NCAA tourney record.

Boston College ranks
6th in team offense with a 3.50 avg/gm
2nd in team defense with a 2.07 avg/gam
11th on the Power Play at 21.55% (39/181)
3rd on the Penalty Kill at 88.0% (162/184)

#8 Minnesota (28-13-1)
The Gopher got to the Frozen Four by beating Boston University and North Dakota in the West Regional (St. Paul, MN) two weeks ago.

The Gophers are 2-1-0 on neutral ice and are 9-6-1 on the road this season, and have now two in a row and five of their last six games.

This is Minnesota’s 20th trip to the Frozen Four; they have won the NCAA Hockey Title 5 times – 1974, 1976, 1979, 2002, 2003. The Gophers are owners of a 52-33 all-time NCAA tourney record.

Minnesota ranks
1st in team offense with a 3.67 avg/gm
8th in team defense with a 2.21 avg/gam
5th on the Power Play at 23.24% (43/185)
36th on the Penalty Kill at 81.0% (149/184)

The all time series between Eagles and Gophers is at 27 games with Minnesota leading 14-11-2. They have met nine of those times in the playoffs with the Eagles holding a 5-4 edge. These teams are 1-1-0 in neutral-site games, one in 1954 (14-1 Gophers) and 2008 (5-2 Eagles).

Last year the semi-finals were similar in that one game was between teams that did have all the hardware (UMD v ND) and the other was two storied progams (UMich v UND). Could this game be like that one? Where the favorite team plays well and gets dumped by a hot goalie? Can Patterson stone wall the Eagles? I think he can, but will he? EAGLES WIN

If, and that's a big if, my semi-final predictions are correct, that would be a Union and BC final. I'm going for the new kids on the block.
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Redwing77's NCAA Tourney Bracket Pick'em Part Two

Here's the final installment. I'm not going to predict the Frozen Four outcomes until the teams have been set.

Midwest Regional:

This is about as difficult as the West. It features Michigan, Ferris State, Denver, and Cornell. Since I haven't seen 3 of the 4 teams in this bracket play, I'm going to be brief.

Ferris State vs. DU:

Ferris State is a Cinderella story. They came out of nowhere to choke away the CCHA tourney by losing in the first round.

DU is a tough team mad as all get out after getting embarrassed vs. UND in the WCHA Tourney championship.

Prediction: Feel good Ferris State. You made the tourney. Bad news: DU destroys you.

Michigan vs. Cornell:

SNOOOOOOOOOOOZEFEST. Cornell historically plays a boring style of hockey. Michigan is cold and calculating. If Shawn Hunwick shows up like he did vs. UND a year ago, Michigan wins easy. If he lets in weak goals like he did vs. WMU, then oops.

Prediction: Michigan wins.

Regional Final: Michigan vs. DU. I think DU stuns the #1 seed in this Regional.

East Regional:

This is the easiest bracket in the tourney by a LONG SHOT. If you could believe in a team like Union, it would be easy to think they'll walk into the Frozen Four however....

Union vs. Michigan State:

Union is a team that hasn't really played many quality teams. They've played a few ranked opponents. They've played nonconference ranked opponents in DU, CC, WMU, Michigan, and Merrimack. Against those opponents, they have a 2-2-2 record. Their wins were against Merrimack and Michigan.

Michigan State is an interesting story in that they squeaked in by the hairs on their chinny chin chin. If it was any other opponent I wouldn't give Michigan State a sniff at a win.

However....I'm not sold on either team doing anything, but since I have to pick a team...

Prediction: I predict upset city. Michigan State wins in OT. Union becomes the only #1 to fall in the first round.

Miami vs. Mass Lowell:

UMass is another Cinderella story. They've seemingly come out of nowhere. And that's where they're going in this NCAA tourney.

Miami: Been here done it before. Miami has been very inconsistent looking downright pathetic vs. WMU in the CCHA tourney. However, Blasi always watches his team drop one in their shorts before the NCAAs and well, things turn out alright.

Prediction: Miami wins.

Regional Final: I may not be sold on Union/MSU outcome but I am sold on this: If Miami beats UMass Lowell, they go to the Frozen Four.

I also predict that this Regional will be the most poorly attended.

Frozen Four Wrap Up:

Using my predictions: I think the final four teams will be BC, Minnesota, Miami, and DU.

Since I'm not sold on any teams but BC and Miami listed above, I'll wait until the Frozen Four is set to make my predictions.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Frozen Four in Canada...

Our friends from the Coming Down the Pipe blog had an interesting topic on their blog this morning. Ironically, I have put some thought into this subject and had this discussion with others in the past. Personally, I think that the NCAA Frozen Four could be a big success if the event was held in Western Canada. First, location of site for a Canadian Frozen Four is going to be key. Second, the arena would also be important when selecting a possible Frozen Four site. Of course I think Winnipeg would seem to be a no brainier; however, the arena, the MTS Centre only seats 15,015 spectators for hockey and the NCAA might want a bigger arena.
The marquee NCAA event has criss-crossed the United States, it's been held in hockey mad markets, football stadiums, cities without Division 1 college programs and in places where the only ice you find is in your drink. Most of the time the Frozen Four has been successful but other times it has not and in some of those cases, it's a bit surprising.

But considering all of the creative ways the NCAA has come up with the celebrate the championship weekend of the sport, it's never left the country. Is it plausible to think that one day, the Frozen Four might be held in Canada?

To me, the answer is YES.
Apparently according to the Coming Down the Pipe blog, there has already been a discussion about the Frozen Four going to Canada.
Would the event draw fans in Canada where the NCAA game goes laregly unrecognized by the media? I don't know so I asked someone who would in Jeff Jackson, former coach of the OHL's Guelph Storm who leads the Notre Dame Fighting Irish into action on Thursday.

"We’ve actually had talks about that," Jackson said, "I think having it in Toronto would be very successful. We have had a lot of players from that area on our team before, or from other parts of Ontario, so I think it would work extremely well there or in other cities like Calgary, Edmonton... Winnipeg, there are lots of possibilities right across Canada."

Jackson's statement that there have been discussions already of a potential Canadian Frozen Four is consistent with what Paul Kelly of College Hockey Inc.