Thursday, March 31, 2016

Frozen Four Preview: Boston College

Quinnipiac's opponent in the first semifinal is the Boston College Eagles.  The Eagles are back in the Frozen Four for what seems like the 100th time.  In reality, the last time Boston College or BC, as they are commonly referred to as, was in the Frozen Four in 2014.  They were beaten by the eventual champion, Union (NY).  The last time BC won the title was 2012, when they beat Ferris State 4-1.  Funny thing, the tournament that year was also held in Tampa Bay.  The only difference was the stadium went by the Tampa Bay Times Forum and now it's known as Amalia Arena.  Amalia Arena is home to the Tampa Bay Lightning and hosted the Stanley Cup Final last year.

Boston College is located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.  It is a private, Jesuit Catholic University that was founded in 1863.  The college was actually founded in Boston and later moved to its current location on Chestnut Hill.  BC has 14,100 students, 9,100 undergrads and almost 5,000 post-grads.  While the hockey team has won 5 national championships, BC might be best known for Doug Flutie's Hail Mary throw in a win over Miami (FL).  They also have a rather intense rivalry with Notre Dame, known as the "Battle of the Catholics."

The Eagles play their home hockey games at the Conte Forum.  The Forum opened in 1988, and unlike Quinnipiac, the venue is on the campus of Boston College.  The capacity of the Conte Forum is 8,606.  That might not seem like a large number but it is almost the same number of people that go to Quinnipiac as a whole.  The hockey teams also share the venue with the Eagles basketball programs.  The rink itself is known as "Kelley Rink" honor of long time BC coach John "Snooks" Kelley. 

Boston College opened the 2015-16 season with a game against Army at West Point.  The Eagles won the game 5-1.  Their second game was not so easy as they lost 2-1 against Rensselaer in another away game.  They had a nice bounce back victory against Wisconsin, 6-0 at home.
Boston College vs. Army

Success continued for BC, this time on the road at Colorado College with a sweep.  The Eagles won 3-0 and 5-0.  They played another NCHC opponent Denver, at home.  They won 4-3, Denver is also in the Frozen Four. 

BC played their first Hockey East opponent of the season, UMass and whipped them 7-0.  They followed that up with a sweep of Maine, another Hockey East foe (3-0, 2-0).  Sandwiched in between conference games was a 6-4 win over the Spartans of Michigan State at home.

The Eagles continued Hockey East play with a couple of victories over New Hampshire and UConn.  Both of the wins were on the road.  BC headed back home for a game against RIT.  RIT was no match for the Eagles, 6-2 win for BC. 

Boston College moved back into conference play with a couple games against Northeastern.  The first game was a 3-3 OT tie, and the second was a 4-3 winner for the Eagles.  After that, BC welcomed Notre Dame to Chestnut Hill.  The Eagles lost 4-3 to the Irish.

After the Notre Dame game, the Eagles headed south to the Florida College Classic.  The trip did not go so well.  After being up 2-0 on the Ohio State Buckeyes, BC blew the lead and lost 3-2.  The next game was not much better, the Eagles lost 2-1 to Providence.

BC got some revenge after getting back to the northeast.  They welcome Providence to Chestnut Hill, and beat them 7-3 to get back on track.  The second game of the home and home, played in Providence was skated to a 4-4 OT tie.

The competition was very high when the Eagles faced their rivals Boston University.  In the first game, Boston College won 5-3 at home.  The second game ended in a 1-1 OT tie.

The next three games on the schedule were completions of home and home series.  First, BC beat UMass 8-0 on the road.  That was followed up by a 3-3 OT tie against UConn at home.  The final game in this stretch was a 4-0 victory for BC in South Bend against the Irish. 

Next, the Eagles played Harvard in the annual Beanpot.  The Beanpot played at the TD Gardens in Boston, is a yearly tournament of the schools in the Boston area.  BC won the game 2-1.  In between games for the Beanpot Championship, the Eagles beat New Hampshire 4-3 at Chestnut Hill.  BC won the Beanpot Championship with a 1-0 victory over their rival Boston University.

Boston College finished up the regular season with three home and home series.  First, the Eagles played against Merrimack.  They won the first game 6-3 and the second was a 5-5 OT tie.  Next up was the Vermont Catamounts.  The Eagles swept the Catamounts 3-1 and 4-1.  To close out the season, BC split the series with UMass Lowell.  Both teams won a game at home 3-1.

The Eagles entered the Hockey East tournament with a series against Vermont at home.  BC won the first game 3-0 but dropped the second game 4-2.  The Eagles won the final game in OT 4-3.  BC was bounced from the tournament in the semifinals by Northeastern.  The Eagles lost 5-4 to the eventual champions of the tournament.

BC's going to the Frozen Four!

BC opened the NCAA tournament against a familiar foe, in a familiar place.  They played Harvard, which they had beat 3-2 in the Beanpot, in Worcester, Massachusetts.  The Eagles beat Harvard again, this time 4-1.  BC followed up the win with a win against Minnesota Duluth, 3-2.  The Eagles were up 3-0 and Duluth made it really interesting at the end.  Though, at the end, BC held on, and punched their ticket to Tampa.
Again, Boston College will play Quinnipiac April 7th at 5 PM.  We will have a preview of the matchup and predictions coming out next week! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Frozen Four Preview: Quinnipiac Bobcats

In the first of two Frozen Four semifinals, the Quinnipiac Bobcats will take on the Boston College Eagles.  It was my thought that I should break down the Frozen Four team by team.  The four teams will get a week off before the Frozen Four starts so there is more an enough time to break it down team by team.  So, I figured the best place to start would be to tackle the No. 1 overall seed, the Quinnipiac Bobcats.  The attempt here will to get you ready for the Frozen Four and become educated on the four teams that will be in Tampa this year.

Quinnipiac is a private university established in 1929, in the town of Hamden, Connecticut.  They located by the Sleeping Giant State Park so if you cannot find a forest, there is one close by the campus.  They are known for the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.  You may hear Fox News or CNN quoting the Quinnipiac poll, well this is what they are talking about. The university hosts around 9,000 students (6,500 undergrads, and 2,500 post-grad). 

The Bobcats play at the TD Bank Sports Center.  It is located on Qunnipiac's York Hill Campus. It is shared with the basketball program.  The capacity of the site is 3,386 for hockey.  TD Bank was built in the mid 2000s and opened January 27, 2007.  The building cost $52 million.  As of 2014, the scoreboards were upgraded to HD.  Most notably, Quinnipiac was the host of the 2014 Women's Frozen Four.

This is Quinnipiac's first Frozen Four since 2013.  The Bobcats defeated St. Cloud State in the semifinal.  They were upset by Yale in the final.  It was the most of improbable runs by the Yale Bulldogs, a No. 4 seed.  Quinnipiac in 2013, was the No. 1 overall seed as they are this year.  The 2013 Frozen Four took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Consol Energy Center.   The Consol Energy Center is home to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Quinnipiac vs. St. Cloud State
Quinnipiac opened the season with a home and home with Holy Cross.  They won both games (5-3, 4-2).  The sweep was followed up with a 5-0 win over first year division one program, Arizona State.  Next, they played the Maine Black Bears.  The Bobcats also shut out Maine 4-0.  The team quickly jumped out to a 4-0 start, with wins over teams they should beat.

The Bobcats first real test came when St. Cloud State arrived in the TD Bank Sports Center.  Quinnipiac swept the Huskies in the weekend series, 5-2 and 4-1.  After St. Cloud, the Bobcats played their second road against Colgate.  They won a close game 3-2 and improved their record to 7-0 on the season.  The game against Colgate was also the first ECAC game for Quinnipiac.

The second test of the season came on a road trip to Cornell.  The Bobcats won 5-4 in OT.  It was the first win not in regulation.  It was also the second win over an ECAC opponent.  Next, the Bobcats welcomed Harvard in, and handily beat them 4-1.  So, in a stretch of 5 games, Quinnipiac beat 3 Top 15 programs.

The Bobcats continued the ECAC season with a 6-2 win over Dartmouth.  They beat UConn, at the XL Center, by the same score 6-2 in their next game.  The two wins were followed by a couple of OT ties against Clarkson (1-1) and St. Lawrence (0-0).

Quinnipiac got back on the winning track with a sweep of UMass (4-1, 1-0).  The success continued with a couple of 3-0, road wins over Yale and Brown. 

Quinnipiac vs. Yale
The Bobcats hit a minor road bump or a pot hole if you will against Boston University.  The Terriers came in and won 4-1.  It was the first regulation loss on the season for the Bobcats.  It was a heck of a way to start the season.

The rebound came quickly with a home and home against Princeton.  Quinnipiac swept the series (6-0, and 4-3).  Next, the Bobcats played Northeastern to a 3-3 tie.  The tie was followed up with a 5-0 win over Union.  Things were back on track for the Bobcats.

Quinnipiac played Harvard to a 5-4 OT win at Madison Square Garden in New York.  The road trip continued with a 3-3 OT tie against Maine.  As the road trip, the Bobcats played Rensselaer to a 2-2 OT tie as well. 

The Bobcats beat Dartmouth 7-5 in their next game.  They followed up the win with a 2-2 OT tie with the Big Red of Cornell.  They bounced back nicely from the tie with a 6-3 victory over Colgate.

After the Colgate game they started a stretch of 4 OT games in a row.  The Bobcats lost in OT 4-3 against St. Lawrence.  Followed by a 3-2 OT win over Clarkson.  Next, a 5-4 OT winner against Rensselaer.  The OT stretch was concluded with a 3-3 tie with Union. 

Quinnipiac closed out the regular season with a couple of 4-1 wins at home.  The first was against Brown and the second was against Yale.  The Bobcats finished the regular season with a 16-1-5 record in ECAC play.

The Bobcats opened the ECAC tournament with a win over Cornell.  Quinnipiac won the series 2-1. The scores of the games were 5-2, 4-5 and 6-3.  Quinnipiac hosted the first round because they were the higher seed with a better record than Cornell.

The next two rounds of the ECAC tournament were win or go home.  The games took place at Lake Placid, NY.  The Bobcats beat Dartmouth 3-1 in the ECAC Semifinals.  Then, they beat Harvard 4-1 in the ECAC Championship.

Get the App!

Quinnipiac was given the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.  They played RIT to a 4-0 victory in the first round.  They followed up the shutout with a 4-1 victory over UMass-Lowell.  They have a date with Boston College at 5 PM down in Tampa.  Have a great day!

As for sources, the stats, for better, for worse, on the university came from Wikipedia.  The stats and game scores came from the CHN app.  Its a great app if you want to follow college hockey.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Frozen Four Second Round Sunday

Tonight, the second round of the NCAA Men's Hockey tournament was completed.  Yesterday, North Dakota and Boston College punched their tickets to the Frozen Four.  Two more teams joined them tonight on the Road to Tampa.  The two Sunday match-ups were, in the East region, No. 1 Quinnipiac vs. No. 2 UMass Lowell and in the West region it was No. 2 Denver vs. No. 4 Ferris State.  Two very closely matched ups, let's discuss what went to down on Frozen Four Second Round Sunday.

East Region

No. 1 Quinnipiac 4 vs. No. 2 UMass Lowell 1 - Quinnipiac after being down early, ran away with this one.  I said that UMass goaltending needed to help them in the game or it would get away from them.  Quinnipiac has looked really good in their first two games.  UMass Lowell seniors final record 100-44-17, the most ever for a senior class at the school.  Well played Riverhawk seniors, well played!

The Riverhawks did open the scoring in this one at 3:01 mark of the first period.  The goal was scored on the power play by Dylan Zink.  Unfortunately, it was the lone goal for Lowell in the game.  At the end of the first period, Riverhawks led 1-0.

Quinnipiac had an offensive explosion in the second period when they scored three goals in seven minutes and thirteen seconds.  The first goal was scored by Landon Smith at the 10:33 mark.  Smith's goal was followed by Sam Anas' goal at the 12:11 mark.  The final goal for Qunnipiac, in the second period, was scored by Scott Davidson at 17:51.  The three goals were more than enough to put the game on ice.  At the end of two, 3-1 Quinnipiac.

Travis St. Denis scored an insurance goal 16:06 into the third period to make it 4-1.  That would be the final score of the game as Quinnipiac held on for the 4-1 victory.  They were the final team to punch their ticket to the Frozen Four.  They will face Boston College in the semifinal of the Frozen Four.

West Region

No. 2 Denver 6 vs. No. 4 Ferris State 3 - This was a close game until Denver got a couple of goals late in the third period.  Coupled with the goals, Ferris State took a major penalty just after and that sealed the game for the Pioneers.  The hit was borderline, but it was high.  In today's game if you hit someone high you have to be ready to serve a major penalty.  You cannot fault the refs for watching out for player safety, especially with hits to the head. 

Danton Heinen was first to score for Denver.  The goal came 5:34 into the first period.  Just about ten minutes later Gerald Mayhew scored for Ferris State to tie it up at one.  Denver had an answer for the Ferris State goal when Dylan Gambrell scored.  Ferris State refused to go into the locker room down at the end of the first period.  Their second goal came a minute later from Corey Mackin.  Denver 2 Ferris State 2 - First Intermission.

Compared to the first period, the second period was low scoring.  Denver got an early goal from Trevor Moore.  Moore's goal came 2:34 into the second period.  It was the lone goal of the second period.  Denver 3 Ferris State 2.

Ferris State capitalized on a Denver tripping penalty 7:17 into the third period.  This time it was Kyle Schempp.  The score stayed tied 3-3 well into the latter stages of the third period when Denver got two quick goals.  The first of the goals was scored by Blake Hillman at 15:28.  Hillman was followed up by Nolan Zajac, 25 seconds later.  Denver 5 - Ferris State 3.

All bets for Ferris State pulling the upset were off at the 16:27 mark of the third period when Brandon Anselmini was given a major penalty.  The major penalty was for checking from behind.  He was also given a 10 minute game misconduct.  Denver added a goal on the major penalty from Quentin Shore.  Thus, closed the scoring at 6-3 Denver.

This was a close game like I thought.  Denver got a couple of late goals that propelled them to victory.  The major penalty sealed Ferris State's fate.  I originally picked St. Cloud to get to the Frozen Four from this region.  Denver was the better team tonight and they are going to the Frozen Four for the 14th time.  Congrads to the Pioneers!  They will face North Dakota in the semifinal for the Frozen Four.


Hockey East sends six teams to the tournament but only one made it to Tampa (Boston College)
NCHC sends four teams to the tournament and two made it to Tampe (Denver and North Dakota)
ECAC rounds out the Frozen Four (Quinnipiac)
In the six years I have filled out a hockey bracket I have only gotten 3 of 4 team right (2012, 2016)
I have never picked all four Frozen Four teams

Frozen Four


April 7 - No. 1 Quinnipiac vs. No. 2 BC - ESPN2 - 5 PM or 8:30 PM TBD
April 7 - No. 1 North Dakota vs. No. 2 Denver - ESPN2 - 5 PM or 8:30 PM TBD

I will have a Frozen Four preview edition coming out some time this week!  Have a great night!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Frozen Four Second Round Saturday

As the first round in the East and West regions was getting started on Saturday, the Northeast and Midwest regions played their second round games.  The two games featured Boston College vs Minnesota Duluth in the Northeast region and Michigan vs. North Dakota in the Midwest region.  They were two very compelling games.  Let's jump into the analysis of the two second round games.

Northeast Region

No. 2 Boston College 3 - No. 4 Minnesota Duluth 2 - Holy cow! What an ending to this one! Boston College jumped out to a 3-0 lead and Duluth came storming back and almost tied it in the third period.  Unbelievable finish!  Let's talk about how they got there.

Boston College's Teddy Doherty opened the scoring 14:06 into the first period.  Adam Gilmour had the lone assist on the goal.  It was the only goal of the first period, BC 1 Duluth 0.

Early into the second, the Eagles scored again.  It was Teddy for his second goal on the night.  The helpers went to Zach Sanford and Chris Calnan.  This was also the only goal of the period, BC 2 Duluth 0 or Teddy Doherty 2 Duluth 0.

BC would strike for a third time, early in the third period on the power play.  Ryan Fitzgerald got the goal, and the helpers went to Scott Savage and Casey Fitzgerald. Time of the goal 6:35.

The tide would turn from there to the Duluth side.  Getting the first goal was Austin Farley.  It was a power play goal at 12:49.  About three minutes later, Karson Kuhlman scored, making it 3-2 BC.

You could not write a better ending to this game.  BC's Miles Wood took an interference penalty with less than two minutes into the game.  Duluth had to pull their goal because they were down 3-2.  So, it was a 6 on 4 for Duluth for the last minute of the game. With 9 second left, Austin Farley had a gem of a chance to tie it but he fanned on the shot.  The puck entered the blue crease and it was oh so close, yet so far away.  It was a tough play for Farley but he might be sick about it for a while.

I picked Boston College to get to the Frozen Four, but I did not imagine it going down to the wire like it did.  Holy Cow!  This is why I love hockey, teams look like they may be out of it but they fight back into it and give themselves a chance to win.

Midwest Region

No. 1 North Dakota 5 - No. 2 Michigan 2 - This game was much closer than the score might tell.  It was close until late into the third and then North Dakota took control of the game.  I said that Michigan needed their top line to come out and play well, and they did but they just did not get enough help.  In the end, the deeper team won, and North Dakota was the first to punch their ticket to Tampa. 

Drake Caggiula scored the game's first goal 18:54 into the first period.  It was the only goal in the first period, leaving the score North Dakota 1 Michigan 0.

In the second period Michigan's top line got going with a strike from JT Compher, the goal tied the game at the 5:33 mark.  The score would stay that way until late in the second period when Luke Johnson of North Dakota got his first goal of the game.  The unassisted goal made the score at the second intermission Fighting Hawks 2 Wolverines 1.

Compher was at it again in the third period on the power play.  His second goal of the game, at 8:39, tied things up at 2.  Unfortunately, for Michigan that was their last goal of the game.

North Dakota was just getting revved up.  At 12:03 in the third period, North Dakota got their first of the three goals in the period. Rhett Gardner was the first to score for the Fighting Hawks.  He was joined one minute and fourteen second later by Coltyn Sanderson.  Both goals were reviewed and determined to be good goals.  Paul Ladue added an empty net, power play goal for the 5-2 Fighting Hawks victory.  Michigan had pulled their goalie at this point to make it 5 on 5 since they were down 4-2 on the scoreboard.

It was a good game, Compher got his goals, but Michigan needed much more from the top line to beat North Dakota. Michigan was the only Big Ten team in the tournament, it was nice to see them at least get to the second round.

The Other Two Second Round Games - Sunday March 27th

East Region: No. 1 Quinnipiac vs. No. 2 UMass Lowell - 7:30 PM ESPNU

West Region: No. 2 Denver vs. No. 4 Ferris State - 5 PM ESPNU

Frozen Four First Round Saturday

Just another amazing first round day. Much like yesterday, one of the No. 1 seeds won handily and the other one was upset in OT.  It's funny how you get this far and things just seem to repeat themselves.  I think you need to remember that all 16 teams that made the tournament are quality teams, and the upsets are going to happen.  This is not like basketball where the No. 1 seeds are safe for the first two or three rounds.  It just adds to the chaos that is college hockey.

There were another four first round games today.  Let's begin the discussion and give you a little insight and analysis about what happened.

East Region

No. 1 Quinnipiac 4 - No. 4 RIT 0 - Like the statement that North Dakota made yesterday, Quinnipiac made a similar statement with a 4-0 victory over RIT.  RIT's bid to upset the overall No. 1 seed for the second year in a row fell short, really short.

The game was played really close for the first two periods.  There was a great deal of hitting by both sides which resulted in 3 penalties for both teams in the first period.  The calls varied from hitting from behind, hitting after the whistle and roughing.  I like it!

The only goal of the first two periods was from Quinnipiac's Travis St. Denis at the 14:55 mark of the first period.  On the primary assist was Quinnipiac's best player Sam Anas, I mention this because Sam Anas was a game time decision.  Luckily, for Quinnipiac he was able to play.

The wheels came off in the third period for RIT giving up three goals.  The first goal came from Scott Davidson at the 2:27 mark.  Then, it became the Soren Jonzzon show.  He collected his first goal at the 12:18 mark and his second goal came on an empty net late in the game.  The end result 4-0 Quinnipiac.

I think many people expected this to happen.  RIT was one of the lowest ranked teams in the tournament and Quinnipiac was clearly the highest.  I am not really surprised by this result.  I think Quinnipiac just wore down RIT over the course of the game and capitalized in the third period. 

No. 2 UMass Lowell 3 - No. 3 Yale 2 OT - Sure thing, let's have another OT game!  Just a close highly contested game between UMass Lowell and Yale.  I said that it would be a close, low scoring game and it ended 3-2 OT.  It was a little bit of revenge for the Riverhawks as they were ousted by Yale in the 2013 National Semifinals, also in an overtime game.

Michael Fallon for Lowell, opened the scoring in the first period, 4:27 in.  Yale had an answer late in the first period from Frankie Dichiara at the 15:19 mark of the first period.  The first period ended in a 1-1 tie.

Yale grabbed a 2-1 lead when Ryan Hitchcock scored 12:18 into the second period.  It was the lone goal in the second period.

Joe Gambardella tied the game 6:12 into the third period for the Riverhawks.  The game remained tied for the rest of the third period.  This meant more free hockey for the fans!

Gambardella was not done there, 1:37 into the first OT, he scored his second goal of the game!

I know I picked Yale but this game could have gone either way!  I love all these games going to OT.  There is nothing quite like sudden death hockey.  It's a win for the game of hockey and the fans of the sport.

No. 1 Quinnipiac vs. No. 2 UMass Lowell - Second Round Preview - I picked Quinnipiac in this game.  It should be a really well played game by both teams.  I don't think there will be much scoring unless Quinnipiac gets going like they did today against RIT.

Quinnipiac really just needs to continue the momentum they got in the first game.  They need to keep the lines rolling and the goals will come.  They play good defense, being able to start the tournament with a shutout.  They just cannot get frustrated early if the goals do not come against the Riverhawks.

UMass Lowell needs to slow the game down against Quinnipiac.  I think their goaltending might be a little better than Yale's so I think that will keep the game close.  They definitely do not want to get into a track meet, because they just cannot score like that against a quality opponent.

Honestly, I would not be surprised if the game goes into OT.  They are playing for a ticket to Tampa and there is a bunch of chips riding on this game.

West Region

No. 1 St. Cloud State 4 - No. 4 Ferris State 5 OT - Just like yesterday a No. 4 takes out a No. 1 in OT.  This was like a carbon copy of the Minnesota Duluth and Providence game but with more scoring.  Heck I even wrote that in the preview of this game.  I just thought St. Cloud would be able to pull out the "W".

The scoring started early, and was opened up by Ferris State.  Mitch Maloney scored at the 2:56 mark.  St. Cloud quickly answered 17 seconds later on a goal by Jacob Benson.  The score would stay that until 19:37 mark, when Ferris State's Jared VanWormer lit the lamp for the 2-1 lead.

Ferris State would get control of the game on an early goal in the second period.  Kenny Babinski's goal came at the 1:04 mark.  The answer for St. Cloud came on the power play at the 4:56 mark, when Mikey Eyssimont scored for the Huskies.  The final goal of the second period, came from Ferris State's Gerald Mayhew at the 12:01 mark.  The score at the end of the second was 4-2 Ferris State.

From a scoring prospective, St. Cloud owned the third period.  They got the two goals they need to force OT.  Mikey Eyssimont got his second PP goal of the game at the 4:38 mark of third.  He was followed up at the 11:29 mark of the third, Joey Benik tied the game for St. Cloud.  Eyssimont had a chance to win it but missed late in the third period.

Ferris State did not waste any time scoring 18 seconds in the first OT.  Jared VanWormer scored for the second time and sent Ferris State into the next round.  What a game!

I am sorry I didn't pick Ferris State but they are a great team.  Like I said before this game mirrored the Providence - Minnesota Duluth.  Ferris State is a scrappy team like Minnesota Duluth and they were able to pull the upset! Well played! 

No. 2 Denver 7 - No. 3 Boston University 2 - Well I think to say that Denver played well would just be an understatement.  I thought that Denver would win but not like this.  I said that, "Denver would win in the third," well they won in the first, second and third!  You could tell Boston U would have really liked to have Eichel back for this game

Denver opened up the scoring at the 13:49 mark of the first period.  Blake Hillman got the first goal for the Pioneers.  He was followed up by Dylan Gambrell's goal at the 17:40 mark.  The score was 2-0 Denver at the end of the first, and they were just getting started.

Will Butcher's power play goal opened the scoring 24 seconds into the second period.  Butcher's goal was followed up by Matt Maricinew's goal just over two minutes later.  The action settled down for a brief moment until Evan Janssen's goal at the 15:48 mark.  Janssen's goal ended the scoring in the second period, 5-0 Pioneers.

Butcher added a second power play goal, early into the third period.  The answer from the Terriers finally came at 12:45 into the third with Danny O'Regan's goal.  The answer was very short because less than two minutes later, Trevor Moore lit the lamp for the Pioneer's seventh goal on the day.

The Terriers' Mike Moran closed the scoring and their misery late in third with a goal.  Thus, making the final score 7-2.  Mercy, please!

No. 2 Denver vs. No. 4 Ferris State - Second Round Preview - Both team plays really well in their opening games.  This game is going to be another great game for the NCAA second round.

Denver scored 7 goals in the first round and had an offensive explosion.  It's going to be tough to keep that up against Ferris State.  Denver played in the NCHC tournament in the Xcel Energy Center so they are very familiar with the building.  That will definitely help as the Pioneers try to get back to the Frozen Four.

Ferris State played much better than I thought they would.  They have a similar style to Minnesota Duluth.  Like I said about Duluth, if Ferris State plays their game, they will be in the Frozen Four.  They will need to bring the physical play against Denver but keep it disciplined.

I am going to go with Denver, but I did pick St. Cloud State to win two games and get to the Frozen Four, oops!  I think that Denver has a little bit more talent and a little deeper.  That's not to say that Ferris State will not pull another upset, it's just tough to beat two NCHC powers in a row.


I finished the first round 5 of 8, all three games I missed were OT games.
When they had the chance NCHC destroyed Hockey East (North Dakota 6 - Northeastern 2 and Denver 7 Boston U 2).
Half the games in the first round went at least one OT period.

We will be bring you second round analysis very shortly, stay tuned!

Frozen Four First Round Friday

Wow, what a way to start off the Road to Tampa.  The first four games were very well played by all the teams.  We had perennial powers making opening statements and one instant classic, resulting in a double OT thriller.  Not to mention, a huge upset in the first four games.  It really had it all today!

Let's dive right into some analysis and recap of the first four games of the 2016 NCAA Division 1 Men's Hockey Championship!  Also, I have second round previews for the Midwest and Northeast regions!

Midwest Region

No. 1 North Dakota 6 - No. 4 Northeastern 2 - North Dakota did not waste any time with Northeastern today.  The Fighting Hawks of North Dakota had a great start to this game, scoring three goals in the first period.  We knew that North Dakota was comfortable playing in Cincinnati, because they had been there before. 

Nolan Stevens for Northeastern provided a little hope with his goal, 3:07 into the first period.  Stevens' goal was followed by 5 unanswered goals for the Fighting Hawks.  Simonson, Poolman and Johnson (PP) were the three goals for North Dakota in the first period.  Chyzyk and Boeser added goals in the second period for the 5-1 lead.

The bleeding was put on temporary hold for a brief moment in the third period when Matt Benning scored for Northeastern making it 5-2.  Drake Caggiula played the final trump card for North Dakota with his goal at the 12:15 mark of the third period.  A 6-2 final, and the North Dakota fans that made the 800 mile trip celebrated.

The Fighting Hawks came out and made a statement.  Yes, they did give up an early goal but the response was more than any fan of the team could have asked for.  Northeastern was one of the hottest teams coming into the tournament and North Dakota made it look like child's play.  It's a great sign if you picked North Dakota to go as far as I did, all the way!

No. 2 Michigan 3 - No. 3 Notre Dame 2 OT - The second game in Cincinnati featured two future Big Ten foes, and was much closer than the first game.  Michigan came in with a high powered offense and they were held in check for most of the game.  Credit Notre Dame's defense for coming up with a plan to stop Michigan and almost executing the plan to perfection.

Both team found the back of the net in the first period.  Justin Selman scored for Michigan just over the half way point.  He was nicely assisted by Kile and Downing. 

The answer was provided Anders Bjork, just over five minutes later.  The unassisted goal knotted the game at 1-1.  It would stay that way until just 24 seconds into the 2nd period, when Thomas DiPauli scored for the Fighting Irish to make it 2-1.  Bjork picked up the assist on the goal for his second point of the game.

Michigan struck back in the third period with a goal from Zach Werenski.  The Columbus Blue Jackets draftee scored just a little bit before the half way mark.  Thus, leaving the 2-2 and forcing the game into OT.

Tyler Motte would be the hero for Michigan today, as he scored 8:19 into the overtime period.  It was the first points of the day for Michigan's top line.  Motte, a Chicago Blackhawks draftee, benefited from a nice pass as he crashed the front of the net to put home the goal.

No. 1 North Dakota vs. No. 2 Michigan - Second Round Preview - There are going to be some offensive fireworks in this one! 

North Dakota showed us today why they have been in the top spot of the rankings for most of the season.  The ability to score many goals against a good team like Northeastern is not an easy task.  They will need a similar effort tomorrow against Michigan.  It will be a pro-Michigan crowd, so scoring an early goal or two would greatly help the cause.

Michigan has to be thinking about how to get their top line more points tomorrow against North Dakota.  Motte, Compher, and Conner are going to have to play better if Michigan wants to win.  They will also need to feed off the crowd, especially if they fall behind early.  This should be a close game but you just never know.

I picked North Dakota.  I like their talent and depth, not to say Michigan does not have either but North Dakota has more.  I feel like sometimes when the games are high scoring Michigan tends to fall asleep on defense.  If Michigan's goalie, Steve Racine is hung out to dry, this could be another blow out.  Game Time: Saturday, March 26th 6 PM - ESPN2

Northeast Region

No. 1 Providence 1 - No. 4 Minnesota Duluth 2 2 OT - I tried to tell you guys this was one of the games to watch!  Holy Cow! What a game!  It was everything we knew it was going to be low scoring, defensive, and physical.  It was the only game I missed all day, but I have to admit I was pulling for the upset.

It was a very physical game, both teams were hitting and making it difficult for the offenses to get on track.  The biggest hit of the game cost Providence, Conor MacPhee, he was given a 10 minute game misconduct and 5 minute major for a hit to the head.  It was a heavy hit, and I believe that the officials got it right.

There was not much to talk about scoring until the third period.  Tony Cameranesi scored an unassisted goal 3:18 into the period for Minnesota Duluth.  He was quickly answered, about four minutes later, by Steven McParland's goal for Providence.  The McParland goal would force overtime for the second time today.

Minnesota Duluth's overtime hero, in the 2nd OT, was Karson Kuhlman.  The goal was scored just 24 second in the period.  A huge upset win for Duluth.  The loss was Providence's second multiple OT loss in a row.  If you remember their last game was the triple OT thriller loss against the UMass Lowell Riverhawks.

No. 2 Boston College 4 - No. 3 Harvard 1 - The second game in Worchester was very similar to the first game in Cincinnati.  You have a perennial power, Boston College, playing a non perennial power, Harvard, and it was a bit one sided.

By the end of the first period, Boston College had jumped out to a 2-0 lead.  They were able to do this with goals from Alex Tuch and Austin Cangelosi.  Tuch's goal went to an official review but it was deemed a goal by replay.  It was a very close call, there was some contact by the Tuch on the Harvard goalie but not enough to overturn the call.  Good goal.

Things started to look like they were getting out of hand when Boston College scored their third goal, 1:58 into the second period.  Alex Tuch got his second goal on the night and the Eagles were soaring.

Harvard's lone strike in the game came midway through the second period, on a goal by Seb Lloyd.  Lloyd's goal made it 3-1 and gave the Crimson some hope entering the 3rd period.

Harvard's best chance for a comeback was when they went on the power play late in the third.  Ryan Fitzgerald (Boston College) took a hooking penalty at 15:42.  The Crimson emptied their net for the 6 on 4 advantage.  Things did not go as planned, Austin Cangelosi put the puck in the empty net for his second goal of the night.  Final score 4-1.

No. 2 Boston College vs. No. 4 Minnesota Duluth - Second Round Preview - This is going to look much like the preview for Minnesota Duluth's first game.  I am going to tell you again how you do not want to play Minnesota Duluth because they are a hot team right now.

Boston College needs to come out fast.  They cannot let Duluth's defense slow them down or they are playing right into their hands.  The Eagles are not as physical as Providence but they will not shy away from hitting.  They also need to get the crowd involved early.  If they do not come out fast and get the home crowd into the game, things will get tough for the Eagles.

Minnesota Duluth just needs to keep playing their game.  Be physical, get after it on defense and slow the game down.  They did a great job of this against Providence and who's to say they cannot do the same against Boston College.  If they can keep the crowd out of this game and slow the pace to a grinding halt.  An upset of the Eagles is definitely not out of the question!

I did pick Boston College in this game.  Game Time: Saturday, March 26th 9PM ESPNU


The NCHC 2-0 with wins by North Dakota and Minnesota Duluth
The Big Ten's only team Michigan advanced
The Hockey East was 1-3 on day, Boston College was the only team to advance so far. (2 losses in OT - Notre Dame and Providence)
The ECAC lone team today Harvard lost, they have Quinnipiac and Yale playing tomorrow.
The game between Providence and Minnesota Duluth was the longest in Midwest Region history.

I hope you guys are ready for a full slate of games tomorrow!  There are more first round matchups and two second round matches.  By the end of tomorrow, two teams will have punched their tickets to Tampa!  Have a great night! Please Tip Your Bartenders!