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This is a great time of the year for college hockey, with conference playoffs, NCAA regionals and the men’s Frozen Four dotting the landscape.

But this coming weekend is my favorite of them all, and here’s why:

** Men’s conference tournaments and all the PairWise banter that comes with them. I’ve only ever been to the WCHA tournament, but I’m sure they all have a little of the same flavor. You can go into the weekend with one set of ideas about how things are going to shake out, but by Saturday night (or early Sunday morning, as has been the case), everything can be completely different.

** The women’s Frozen Four. The best there is. It was a great atmosphere in Duluth last year; here’s hoping Boston can crank it up a notch, even with the closest team being Mercyhurst.

** The Division III men’s and women’s championships.

** Selection Sunday. We’ll probably know who’s in the tournament by Saturday night, but you never know how the brackets will shape up until you see them on TV. But here’s my one complaint: For those of us who have to travel back home from the conference tournaments, the 10:30 a.m. Central Time show is a little on the early side. What can I say? I value sleep, even in the heart of college hockey’s best time of the year.

  • Mr Hockey

    So after Northeastern swept Notre Dame in South Bend this weekend it looks like the Gophers Holiday tournament isn’t that bad after all. Gophers should move back up now that Merrimack got a dose of reality.

    • Anonymous

      Where is Merrimack even located?

      •  North Andover, Massachusetts(25 miles N of Boston.)

      • Spidermonkey86

        It’s a suburb of Lawrence MA and kind of a dump. I go to a few games they charge 25 bucks a ticket even when they sucked. arena is like a HS or municipal skating rink.

        • Guest

          Spidermonkey first off, Merrimack is located in North Andover, home of multiple current and former Bruins not Lawrence, which is indeed a dump. Second, you must not have attended any games lately because I would hardly consider the Lawler Arena of today a dump, it still needs work and is continuing to improve but i certainly wouldnt call it a municipal rink

          • spidermonkey86

            Guest:

            First read comment I said a suburb or Lawrence which it is.

            Second I went to two games last year and one this year….Yup still a dump…half the seat don’t even face the arena

          • ABC123

            Lol sorry man I love Merrimack but Lawler sucks

        • Cariocagringo

          Well now, say what you will about the Thom Lawler Arena, but North Andover is a swanky lil community and far nicer than South Bend, Rochester, Grand Forks, Omaha, and any jerkwater located in rust belt shitehole states like Ohio and Michigan.

  • Philipvanschepen

    You’re supposed to schedule cupcakes for holiday tourney. Early speculation had Princeton as the tough opponent. Northeastern looks for real. Last year Gophers stunk up their own tournament. this year looks brighter.

  • Spanky

    Just as I predicted, whch USCHO ran those rediculus columns about how MTU is changed with thier new coach and everything….well MTU will colapse and be a bottom feeder team as usual in the WCHA. The bright side is that in 2 years, they should be able to compete in the new WCHA after all the good teams leave and the CCHA bottom feeders are brought in.

    • Superspanky

      Bottom feeders like Ferris State, Lake Superior State, and Northern Michigan?  Teams currently ranked nationally in the 9th, 15th and 22nd positions? 

  • Bulldog

    bulldogs should be number one now not the gophers. we have had a much tougher schedule than the gophers have had

    • Guest

      I’m OK with the Bulldogs #1 right now and I would normally agree with your logic, but to me the 2-0 Gopher advantage in head-to-head play should tip the scales.

      • But,but,but….the Bullpuppies outshot the Gophers,so those wins don’t count.

        • Guest

          lol you lost to vermont, wisconsin, st cloud state, and michigan state

      • Guest

        the bruins lost to the coyotes at the beginning of last season that must mean the coyotes are better!

        • Guest

          But the Coyotes don’t have more wins than the Bruins to go along with a better offense and defense…

    • Mr Hockey

      You mean it got tougher now that Huntsville beat Omaha….lol…I suppose you’re going to hang your dog leash on the fact that Providence swept Merrimack also? Gophers haven’t yet and won’t get swept all year.

      • Guest

        They won’t get swept all year? That’s kind of a big statement and totally pointless. What if they do get swept, then does that mean they aren’t any good.

        They have some difficult road games coming up right? 2 in Denver, 2 at UND (given the act that UND is now seeming to play better) and at Omaha and I fully expect UNO to play better the second half with Blais as their coach they have to get better than they were this weekend. Most teams in the WCHA are going to have an off week and Minny will not be any different. maybe they don’t get swept, maybe they do. I don’t like them but that won’t change my opinion of them as one of the better teams in the nation (unless of course it happens against a really bad team).

        Just seems like such a bad statement and one that doesn’t matter. Good luck with that. 

        • Mr Hockey

          Good teams find ways to avoid sweeps.

    • Wilma Dickfit

      The Gophers are 4-0 against Frozen 4 teams from last spring, including a 2 game SWEEP of the defending National Champions on the road. Yep, cupcake schedule alright.

    • Wilma Dickfit

      UMD fans shouldn’t even bring up the subject of schedule toughness, they have the easiest schedule in the WCHA this year. The 3 teams UMD plays twice are: Alaska Anchorage, MSU-Mankato and Michigan Tech. All 3 of which will be in the bottom 4 teams at the end of the year. Minnesota meanwhile has to play North Dakota, Wisconsin and St. Cloud twice. It’s pretty clear who has the easier schedule – UMD by far.

  • The Wooger

    UMD can think they’re #1 for now, that’s fine. We all know they’ll be peeing their pants when they have to face the Gophers again.