Monday, March 25, 2013

NCAA Hockey Bracketology

The NCAA Men's Division I hockey bracket is set and starts this weekend. Here is the bracket and my predictions for this years road to the Froz
en Four.

First round:

Quinnipiac vs. Canisius- Canisius won the AHA conference tournament, giving them an automatic spot NCAA tournament. However, Quinnipiac was ranked #1 for much of the year, and earned the #1 seed in this years tournament. I see Quinnipiac winning this one and moving on the the final 8.
Winner: Quinnipiac

Union vs. Boston College- Union and Boston College both made last year's Frozen Four tournament. Boston College has won the National Championship two of the last three years. While Union is a solid team, I don't think they can beat Boston College in this type of situation.
Winner: Boston College

Miami (Ohio) vs. Minnesota State- Miami hovered around the #3-#5 spot all year in the rankings, while Minnesota State went from being an 11th place team in a 12 team conference the last two years to a team that was ranked as high as #7 this season. I see Minnesota State putting up a lot better fight than they did against Wisconsin in the Final Five quarterfinals, but I think their great turnaround season comes to an end here, and Miami moves on.
Winner: Miami (Ohio)

St. Cloud State vs. Notre Dame- St. Cloud State has always been a team that was considered average, but their scrappy play could steal them a few games a year against higher ranked opponents. Notre Dame has been consistently good in recent years and has been in the top 10 all season long. I think St. Cloud State can pull this one off with their great offensive ability and gritty work ethic.
Winner: St. Cloud State

UMass-Lowell vs. Wisconsin- Who would have thought a team that started out 1-7-2 in their first 10 games would be in the NCAA tournament? Wisconsin went on a run after their first ten games and played outstanding in the WCHA playoffs. While UMass has been a team that has been in and around the top 10 for most of the season. I think with the way Wisconsin has been playing lately, and their trap style defense, that they can steal this one.
Winner: Wisconsin

Denver vs. New Hampshire- Denver has been hit or miss this season. They can play with the best of them, then lose consecutive games to an under .500 team at home (Colorado College). I think New Hampshire takes this one by a few.
Winner: New Hampshire

North Dakota vs. Niagara- Niagara has had a great season record-wise, and North Dakota as always has pieced together a good season. I think the scoring and physicality of North Dakota wears done Niagara and they come away with this one easily.
Winner: North Dakota

Minnesota vs. Yale- Minnesota has proved to be one of the best teams in the nation all season long, beating Boston College in a blowout, Notre Dame, and North Dakota, to name a few. Yale has had a decent season, but not necessarily brag worthy. Minnesota moves on.
Winner Minnesota

Second Round:

Quinnipiac vs. Boston College- Although both teams have proven themselves capable of making the Frozen Four, both teams have also showed flashes of inconsistency, and more recently that has been Quinnipiac. Boston College is used to this type of game situation.
Winner: Boston College

Miami vs. St. Cloud- This should be a great game. Miami has shown flashes of inconsistency lately, while St. Cloud for the most part has been fairly consistent all year long. I think Miami is overall a better team, and will come to play for this one.
Winner: Miami

Wisconsin vs. New Hampshire- Wisconsin's run into the NCAA ends here. UNH is a better overall team, while I think Wisconsin has more flash up front. UNH takes care of things and moves on to the Frozen Four.
Winner: New Hampshire

Minnesota vs. North Dakota- One of, if not the best rivalry in college hockey. North Dakota plays a hard-hitting physical game, while the Gophers play with patience and skill. I think if Minnesota scores first in this game, North Dakota loses their composure and gets chippy, and Gophers take this one for the second year in a row.
Winner: Minnesota

Frozen Four Semifinals

Boston College vs. Miami- I think this one could go either way, but I will take the experience of guys who returned from last years nation championship team in this one.
Winner: Boston College

Minnesota vs. New Hampshire- Minnesota wasn't able to get past BC in the National Semifinals last year, but return the core group of players from that team and have a more than capable freshman between the pipes.
Winner: Minnesota

National Championship

Minnesota vs. Boston College- In a rematch from the 8-3 drubbing the Gophers handed BC earlier this season, this game will be much closer. I expect a 1-2 goal game, with Minnesota prevailing.
Winner and Nation Champion: Minnesota wins the National Championship, ten years after they repeated.

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