Three days worth of some great games has yielded a very familiar Frozen Four of Boston College, Maine, North Dakota and Michigan State. The Spartans, who upset Notre Dame in Saturday’s Midwest Regional final, are the only newcomers from last year’s field (Michigan State, of course, takes the place of defending champion Wisconsin).
I guess when I look at the four teams, Michigan State is the only surprise in my eyes. I firmly believed that BC would get back to the Frozen Four given the way they’ve been playing for the last month and a half. I knew that if Bishop was healthy and the Black Bears could get past a struggling St. Cloud team that Maine would get there. And whether Minnesota or North Dakota came out of the West Region, there would be no shock in my eyes.
So Michigan State getting past Notre Dame was the only surprise and I must admit, I didn’t think Notre Dame advancing was a slam dunk in any way. The Irish, though having played well all season, still were not an experienced NCAA team. Michigan State had been to the brink of the Frozen Four last year before falling to Maine, so the Spartans certainly were a playoff-tested club.
So I pose the question to you: What surprised you this weekend? I will say that in the opening round, I was somewhat shocked to see Miami get past UNH, but I also mentioned last week that you have to remember that at one point in the season, Miami was the #3 team in the country. They certainly played like it this weekend in Manchester.
The Frozen Four will certainly force some interesting rematches. Like I mentioned, Maine ended Michigan State’s season last year. Boston College did the same for North Dakota, though the Eagles and the Sioux have a much more storied NCAA tournament history.
St. Louis will be a great time for college hockey fans with four championship-caliber teams and an organizing committee that is very excited to welcome the college hockey community. We have a little more than 10 days until the games get under way – just enough time for some healthy debate among you fans!