This weekend 16 teams competed in the college men’s hockey regional tournaments and we now have a Frozen Four field set.
Wisconsin, Miami (OH), RIT and Boston College will be playing for the National Championship on April 8 and 10 at Ford Field in Detroit.
Follow the jump for more info on the teams
The Badgers and RIT will face off in one semi-final, while Boston College and Miami will be meeting for the fourth straight year in NCAA playoff play.
BC and Miami are familiar foes as BC beat Miami 4-3 in OT to advance in the NCAAs in 2009 and won the same way in 2008 to advance to the FF. Wisconsin and RIT have never faced each other.
It’s a diverse field this year, with teams from four different conferences. RIT is making their first FF appearance while Boston College is making its 22nd.
Wisconsin, Miami and BC were all No. 1 seeds. RIT was a no. 4 seed.
The weekend could possibly pit brothers Brendan (Wisconsin) and Reilly (Miami).
The RIT team has been in existence for just five years, making their Cinderella trip to the FF all the more impressive.
The RIT Tigers have allowed just 16 goals over their last 12 games. Over that time, they’ve outscored their opponents 53-16. They failed to score a power-play goal in Saturday’s regional final, snapping a 15-game streak of PP goals. They are now19-3-0 since January 8 and have lost just once since February 1. Their 12 straight wins is an NCAA record.
Boston College has reached the Frozen Four three of the past four seasons and nine of the past twelve years. If they plan on repeating as champions, however, they may need to get their defense on the right track. They gave up 14 goals over the past three games and only their prolific offense scoring 19 goals kept their run for the Frozen Four alive.
Miami won a thriller to make the Frozen Four. There was a waved off goal for Michigan in the first OT because a whistle had blown.
It was the first multiple overtime game for Miami in 23 years of hockey. It was the first for Michigan since losing 4-3 in triple overtime to Maine in the 1995 national semifinals.
Ok, enough of the non-partisan coverage. The Wisconsin Badgers are in their 11th Frozen Four appearance and are being picked to win it all!
My Badgers have two Hobey Baker top ten candidates in Blake Geoffrion and Brendan Smith. Prior to the weekend, Smith was the front runner, leading the nation in scoring for a defensemen.
However, Geoffrion (my secret hockey boyfriend) had a two goal, two assist weekend and may have helped himself to the award by being so prolific on the national stage.
Having decided playoff beards hadn’t been successful for them over the past few seasons, the Badgers went with self-described cheesy mustaches and grown out hair instead. While the look leaves them looking like misfits from the 70s, the look did catch on with some fans.
John “Goose” Mitchell and Michael Davies show off their ‘staches:
These kid’s parents are AWESOME!
The Badgers played conference foe St. Cloud State and it was the sixth time they’d played each other this season. Being so familiar with each other, the Badgers had to come up with something to keep SCSU in check.
So they took a cue from the other games this season and realized the penalty kill was the problem. The Badgers won the three games this season in which they didn’t allow SCSU to score on the power play and lost the three where they did allow a goal.
So they smothered SCSU on the boards, took away passing lanes and blocked shots, leaving SCSU’s coach to say that they couldn’t breathe on their power play, thus sending Wisconsin to the FF for the first time since they won the National Championship in 2006.
An interesting fact I couldn’t find anywhere else to fit in – Wisconsin, Vermont and Cornell were the only colleges to send teams to the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournament as well as the NCAA men’s hockey tournament.
Cornell also sent their women’s hockey team to the Frozen Four. It was the women’s team’s first ever trip to the FF and they were vying for Cornell’s first-ever National Championship in women’s sports.
Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be as they lost in OT to Minnesota-Duluth. The win was UMD’s fifth NC in the 10 years a women’s hockey championship has been contested.