Big League Clu previews the Mens Division 1 Frozen Four, which starts Thursday, April 5th.
Since we have talked about the men’s DIII frozen four and the men’s basketball final four, I figured that we might as well cap off all of the winter/spring championships with the Division I mens Ice Hockey Frozen Four! This year the Frozen Four will take place in Tampa Florida because when I think of Ice Hockey…I think Florida! Another thing to also consider is that the participants are from Michigan, Minnesota, New York or Massachusetts… so there will definitely be some frequent flyer miles used by each school to get down to Tampa (approximately 5,564 miles traveled by the four teams). We do have a couple of household names and a couple of new comers for the semi-final matchups but we will get to that later on… It’s time to get ready for some big time college hockey and the fight to win the National championship, Enjoy!
Game 1: #3 Union College Dutchmen (26-7-7) vs. Ferris State Bulldogs (25-11-5)
When: 4:30PM Thursday April 5th, Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa FL (will be shown on ESPNU)
Ferris State (out of Big Rapids, Michigan) is a mainstay in NCAA Division II athletics, but their men’s Hockey team is the new kid on the block in the DI hockey world, as they have only been a Division I program since 2003. Their lone National championship came in 1994 when they won the ACHA D-II National Championship in 1994, so this would be something for them if they are able to finish this run they’re on. They managed to pull off some big wins out of the Midwest regionals, beating Cornell University and the University of Denver on their way to Tampa. They are led by Jordie Johnston (20 goals, 16 assists) and Kyle Bonis (18 goals, 10 assists) but the key for the Bulldogs will be how well they can manage the face offs against their opponents from Union College. Ferris State has allowed their opponents to win almost 52% of faceoffs this season. They also need to figure out a way to score points off of power plays, as they scored on a mere 37 of their 193 Power plays this season.
The #3 ranked Dutchmen of Union College (NY) are returning to the frozen four for the first time since 1985 (when they were a Division III program). It is, however, their second consecutive appearance in the DI Men’s Hockey Tournament, and they look to make a name for themselves coming off of the success they had last year. They are led by Captain Nolan Julseth-White and Jeremey Welsh (27 Goals, 16 Assists), but don’t forget to throw in Kelley Zajac, who leads the team in Assists with 34. This should be a good matchup for Union, as they are a very unselfish club with five players who have over 20 assists on the year. Ferris State will have their work cut out for them.
Prediction: Union College over Ferris State
Game 2: #1 Boston College Eagles (31-10-1) vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers (28-13-1)
When: 8PM Thursday April 5th, Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa FL (will be shown on ESPN2)
As mentioned before, we have a two mainstays in this matchup. With the #1 ranked Boston College Eagles (Jobu’s Alma Mater). The Eagles are well known throughout the college hockey world, as they have numerous alumni who play in the NHL, and, of course were already mentioned earlier this year in the annual Bostonian Classic, The Beanpot tournament! They are led by Junior Goalie Parker Miner and Forward Johnny Gaudreau, both of whom earned accolades for their stellar performances in the NCAA tournament. Milner earned Hockey East Player of the Month honors, going 8-0 with a 0.88 goal against average, recorded two shutouts and allowed two goals or less in all eight games…sick! Gaudreau, a modern day Rudy who checks in at 5’8”150 pounds (5 foot nothin! a hundred and nothin!), recorded a team-high 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) through March. Overall, the Eagles are on a 17-game winning streak, which is the school’s longest in the last 18 years. They are red hot, and have the firepower to win another championship (last one was in 2010), and many more to come!
The Golden Gophers are the only thing standing in BC’s path to the finals, and they already knocked off one Boston team (Boston University) in this years tournament. Can they do it again? They’re a Power Play oriented team who are led by Eric Haula (20 goals, 28 assists). They have the offense to give the Eagles a fight, and are looking for their first National championship since 2003… but they will be going up against one of the hottest goalies in the country… Lets see what happens.
Prediction: Boston College over Minnesota
Who wins the National Championship?? B.C. or U.C.?
In the title game, we will see #1 Boston College against #3 Union College. New vs. Old. No championships vs. many, and a battle of head coaches, as we have veteran coach Jerry York (in his 18th season at BC, 444 wins) against new-comer Union head coach Rick Bennet (26-7-7 on the year). All of these factors will lead to an interesting and exciting story line, but in the end, BC will be making room for their newest national championship trophy, because they will beat Union College.
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