Okay, so after carefully considering the field of the NIT, here are those teams that are moving on….
#1 Wisconsin, on a roll heading into the NIT, had no trouble dismantling the inferior Cornell. A Jake Dowell hat trick andÃ‚Â a 23-save performance by Brian Elliott in net propels the Badgers to the final four.
Things weren’t a swimmingly for the #2 ranked Denver Pioneers. Unable to ever get things going, the Pioneers fell behind, 3-0, early and watched a late-game rally fall short as #7 Quinnipiac advanced, 5-3. An early power play goal by Reid Cashman and a 30-save effort from Bud Fisher led the Bobcats.
In the game of the night, #6 Vermont and #3 Michigan Tech needed overtime, and plenty of it, to decide their quarterfinal game. At 7:23 of the third overtime, Michigan Tech’s Jimmy Kerr poked home the rebound of a Lars Helminem blast to send the sellout crowd at MacInnes Arena into hysterics. One of the longest games in history ends with the two goalies combining for 118 saves.
Providing a perfect balance between East and West, #5 Dartmouth continued its strong play down the stretch, knocking off a struggling Colorado College team, 4-2. Hobey Baker finalist David Jones scored two goals, including an empty-netter to seal the victory for the Big Green.
So, folks, that sets up a pair of WCHA-ECACHL semifinal games. In game one, Wisconsin will face Dartmouth while Quinnipiac plays Michigan Tech in the nightcap (no, we don’t reseed in the NIT)
Who do you think will come out on top? Leave a message and please, feel free to flame away about the four finalists! :)
A little note about the Hobey
I’m really glad to see Air Force’s Eric Ehn get recognized as one of the top three vote-getters for the Hobey Baker. Though Ehn plays in Atlantic Hockey (something that, despite the league’s accomplishments, still carries a stigma with it), he also attends a military academy which, it alone, develops the character that is so important to the Hobey Baker Award. His on the ice performance, as well, certainly merits extremely strong consideration.