Sunday, April 10, 2016

Frozen Four Finale

Championship Game!
Well, it's all over and North Dakota is your champions.  They routed Quinnipiac in the final game of the NCAA Men's Hockey Tournament, 5-1. It was a dominating performance by the Fighting Hawks. I have to admit that I did not see this coming. I knew North Dakota had the ability to score but I was expecting Quinnipiac to be up to the task. The Bobcats were a little overmatched and North Dakota opened a can of whoop ass, thanks Stone Cold Steve Austin!

Well how did North Dakota get to the 5-1 victory? They opened the scoring at the 11:56 mark of the first period. The goal was from Shane Gersich, he was assisted by Gage Ausmus and Brock Boeser.  Brock Boeser got on the score sheet again, this time with a short handed goal to make it 2-0.  The goal from Boeser was unassisted. 
North Dakota's first goal!

Quinnipiac did have an answer late in the first period.  The Bobcats' power play goal at 18:53 cut the margin to 2-1. Scoring the goal was Tim Clifton, and he was assisted by Connor Clifton and Travis St. Denis.  The only problem was that it turned out to be the lone goal for the Bobcats in the game.  Though going into the first period intermission things were looking up for Quinnipiac

There was no scoring in the second period so the game remained 2-1 at the next intermission. Shots were equal in the period at nine to nine.  Finally, both teams were called for two penalties so things were definitely pretty even in the second period.
North Dakota wins!

Whatever was said in the North Dakota locker after the second intermission fired up the Fighting Hawks, specifically Drake Caggiula. Caggiula scored two goals in the first four minutes of the third period. The first at 1:21, was assisted by Nick Schmaltz and Brock Boeser. The second goal was at the 3:41 mark, was assisted by Brock Boeser and Paul Ladue. North Dakota's final goal of the game was scored at 10:41 by Austin Poganski.  On the Poganski goal, the assists went to Rhett Gardner and Gage Ausmus. Bottom line: North Dakota 5 - Quinnipiac 1.

So what went wrong for Quinnipiac? First, they had no answer for Brock Boeser. He had a short handed goal and three assists. Secondly, they were only 1 for 4 on the power play. If you have that many chances, you need to cash in more than once. Finally, they got out played in third period. I said that North Dakota had the deeper team, and this clearly showed up in the third period. The Bobcats played well for 40 minutes but in a 60 minute game, that's just not going to cut it.
The team photo after the win!

So hats off to North Dakota for winning the championship. They stayed the course and when they got their opportunities, they made the most of them. They have a lot of talent on the team, and they got great goal tending from Cam Johnson. The scary thing for the rest of college hockey is that the Fighting Hawks are a young team. Cam Johnson and Nick Schmaltz are sophomores, and Brock Boeser is a freshman. These guys are only going to get better, they will probably be back in the Frozen Four next year.
The United Center

I hope that you enjoyed my coverage of the tournament. This was the best I have ever done with my picks from beginning. I got three of the four Frozen Four teams, both teams in the title game, and the champion right. It's going to be a long off season, and I cannot wait for next season to start. The 2017 Frozen Four will be in the United Center in Chicago, Illinois; the home of the Chicago Blackhawks. You better get ready! Have a great night! 

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