Saturday, March 26, 2016

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!

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