So for those of you unfamiliar with the college hockey playoffs… it’s sick. A 16 team tournament with 4 regions, 4 teams in each region (good math Brett). After a wild opening weekend that saw defending champs North Dakota go down along with power houses Boston University and Minnesota, we’re down to our Frozen 4: Minnesota Duluth (1) vs Harvard (1) and Denver (1) vs Notre Dame (4). We had 3 top seeds make it out of their region, and then we have Notre Dame who was a bubble team, crashing their way into the Frozen 4. Even as a 4 seed Notre Dame has a serious advantage with this year’s Frozen 4 taking place in Chicago, about 90 minutes from South Bend.
Minnesota Duluth vs Harvard: April 6th, 6 pm.
In my opinion, these are the top 2 teams in the country. Both teams lean heavily on their veteran leaders while having a few youngsters that possess serious star power. For Duluth you don’t need to look any further than freshman goalie Hunter Miska, whose 26-4 record speaks for itself. It’ll be a battle between two fantastic net minders as Harvard will feel safe with junior Merrick Madsen between the pipes. You can pretty much count on both teams’ upper classmen showing up for this one, but the keys will be which teams young bucks can handle this moment. If freshman Adam Fox and sophomore Ryan Donato can play the way they have all year, I like Harvard’s chances to move to the finals. This is going to be a back and forth game of hard dick hockey, and I’m already charged.
Denver vs Notre Dame: April 6th, 9:30 pm.
This is everyone’s chance to get another look at the American hero from the World Juniors, Troy “Big Balls” Terry. This is the kid that couldn’t miss in the shootout vs Russia, and then saved one last trick for Canada to bring home the gold. Terry is one of the many underclassmen that’s been leading the way for Denver all year, with 7 of their top 10 point scorers being freshman and sophomores. Notre Dame is another squad that leans heavily on their young guns, but they’ll be leaning on junior Anders Bjork to lead the way. In my opinion Bjork is the best player remaining in the tournament, and it’s not very close (so I’m really hoping they lose so my Bruins can sign him). Pair him with junior goalie Cal Peterson, who I believe is the best goalie left in the tourney.. and anything is possible for The Irish. With the home crowd backing them, I like Notre Dame to take advantage of a young Denver team to continue their Cinderella run into the finals.