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The 2017 Frozen Four Is Set And We Only Have To Wait Almost Half A Month Before Puck Drop

2017 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship - Northeast Regional

If you read the NCAA Hockey Tournament preview blog from last week, my Final Four predictions from a guy who honestly doesn’t watch much college hockey were Denver, Harvard, UMass-Lowell and Boston University. Lowell and BU were both an overtime goal away from advancing to Chicago and both Denver and Harvard took care of business in their brackets. So all in all, not too bad. Here’s what the Frozen Four will be looking like next week.

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Now first things first, let’s talk about how ridiculous this scheduling is. I get that the Frozen Four can’t go up against the Final Four. You can’t put the final weekend of college hockey up against the final weekend of college basketball. Maybe 7 or 8 people in the world would tune in to Harvard vs Minnesota-Duluth over watching South Carolina vs Gonzaga. But you’ve got these kids winning 2 games in 3 days and then make them wait 11 or 12 days before they play again with a chance to go to the National Championship on the line. Like I said, I get why the NCAA has it this way. They want to be able to stagger their championships so they don’t have them going up against each other. But maybe delay the start of the tournament a few more days or something so these teams don’t have a full week and a half to lose all the momentum they had going into the Frozen Four.

Denver was the #1 overall seed heading into this tournament. They were 14-1 in their last 15 before the NCAA tournament with their only loss in that stretch coming against North Dakota in the NCHC tournament. Yesterday they had Penn State who was coming off a huge 10-3 win in their first ever NCAA tournament appearance. After letting Penn State come back from a 2-goal hole, though, Denver decided to quit dicking around and Troy Terry decided to pop off for a 5-point game.

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Not exactly fair when you can have Henrik Borgstrom dish it off to Troy Terry like that. Just a couple of Sauce Monsters who give defensemen and goalies PTSD on the regular.

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Troy Terry is a biology major at Denver (don’t fact check me on that one). And you can tell his studies are really paying off the way he dissects the defense out there. That is a sentence that should be making me John Buccigross money but that’s besides the point. Terry and Borgstrom are so good with the puck on their stick that all you can do defensively against them is pray. Which should be good for Notre Dame since they all love Jesus and shit like that.

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Notre Dame got their ticket to Chicago after this overtime game winner from Andrew Oglevie against UMass-Lowell yesterday. They’re the only non-top seed to make it to the Frozen Four and they did it as a 4-seed. Talk about the luck of the Irish, amirite??? Clearly they got the easiest draw out of all the 4-seeds in this tournament but we knew that before it even started. You could spray Minnesota with an entire can of Axe and still smell the upset on them. Now here’s where the match up against Denver gets interesting for Notre Dame. Because it appears their key to success is scoring aggressively ugly goals.

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Just look at that. Breakaway, fans on the first shot, barely gets a stick on the rebound, and it ends up in the back of the net. That shit is deflating for the other team. You’re just stuck there on the bench thinking to yourself, “how in the fuck did that just go in?”. It’s all you can think about. When your bread and butter is scoring goals that have no business going in, then you immediately give yourself the advantage in the mental game. Denver can be playing a perfect game but Notre Dame will still find a way to accidentally smash one in the back of the net and then it’s like you did all that work for nothing. Honestly it’s a great game plan and it’s been working for the Irish so far so I hope they keep it up next Thursday.

***Conspiracy Theory Alert***

Did NHL GMs reach out to Boston University and tell them to throw their game against Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday night? Hear me out. On Friday BU took down North Dakota in double overtime. We’ll get to how lucky they got after North Dakota’s overtime goal got called back for offsides later, but what happened next is what leads me to believe we didn’t have a fair game on our hands. Anyway, North Dakota loses on Friday. Brock Boeser then immediately signs with the Vancouver Canucks and this is what happens on Saturday night.

Did the Boston Bruins pressure Charlie McAvoy into losing against Minnesota-Duluth so they wouldn’t have to wait an extra 12 days before signing him? Did the Arizona Coyotes pressure Clayton Keller into losing against Minnesota-Duluth so they wouldn’t have to wait an extra 12 days before signing him? All I’m saying is that the Coyotes play in St. Louis tonight. Clayton Keller is from St. Louis. Boeser scored in his first NHL game against his hometown team. Did Arizona see that goal and immediately make the call for Keller to go silent in OT against the Bulldogs? I don’t know. You tell me.

With all that being said, BU’s luck ran out on Friday night against North Dakota. They were up 3-1, then the Sioux came back to tie it up in the 3rd, scored 4 minutes into the 1st overtime period but the goal was called back because somebody’s skate was barely offsides like 2 full minutes before the goal was scored. So yeah, no shot in heck were they going to luck out in overtime again so credit that UMD win to the Hockey Gods above.

I won’t talk too much about Harvard making it to the Frozen Four because we’ll leave the Crimson to “Riggs”. Speaking of which, here’s the video of our boy Riggsy at the Harvard vs Providence game Thursday night in case you haven’t watched it yet. Have to love how he’s able to put his biases aside to cover the game like a true Big J Journo.  The one thing I can’t leave out of this blog, however, is this Ryan Donato goal from the Crimson’s 3-2 win against Air Force.

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Dangle Days….

So yeah. The 2017 Frozen Four is set. As far as predictions go in the first games on April 6, I like Denver and I like Harvard. Denver for all the aforementioned points above. Harvard because it’s the year of the nerds. They won the Bean Pot, they punched their ticket to the Frozen Four, they have Riggs and Francis on their side which means there’s a little Portnoy Devil Magic working in their favor. Pios vs Crimson in the final. Book it.

@BarstoolJordie