Think of this as an ongoing continuation of last week’s “I love the playoffs” blog post. I’ll update this at various times throughout the weekend, “time-stamping” each one. So check back and read my thoughts! I’ll put those as well as fun quotes from the press conferences that didn’t make it into the recaps/features.

Thursday, Mar. 17; 8:17 p.m.: 0-1 right now on my picks; looking to be 0-2 if this game continues on the way it is. I’ll tell you right now, predictions are the main thing I won’t miss next year when I’m “retired.”

I’ve worked with AFA’s Frank Serratore for a couple years now and he’s typically a great quote. I’m learning that his brother, BSU’s Tom, is the same way. Here’s two from the press conference:

“I think it’s the best tournament in the country and the reason I say that is because the energy in the building, there’s fans rooting for somebody. The difference between this and probably a Frozen Four is that the Frozen Four, everybody’s going because of the event but I don’t know if they’re really passionate about a particular team like here, and that’s what’s so exciting.” – Serratore on why he thinks the Final Five is the best college hockey tournament.

“Absolutely; the green are going to stick with green, mostly on St. Patrick’s Day, Jess. Hey, take a look here! [points to green jacket]” – Serratore, when asked by Inside College Hockey’s Jess Myers if Serratore thought his team was the fan favorite, with Sioux fans on their side.

Thursday, Mar. 17; 9:15 p.m. – Ugh. Unless the Seawolves pull out a miracle, I’m going 0-for-2.

Thursday, Mar. 17; 9:29 p.m. – I forgot to mention – I’m hanging out on the Final Five liveblog this weekend! Come hang out. Good times, I promise.

And 0-for-2. I’m keeping my winners though.

Friday, Mar. 18; 2:02 p.m. – About to get underway for day two and game three! Again, hang out with me on the liveblog! (link right above)

Friday, Mar. 18; 5:26 p.m. – Technically 1 for 3 now. Working on the game story, but I’ve got a few good quotes from the postgame interviews. Will be back with those soon.

Friday, Mar. 18; 5:38 p.m. – Quote time!

“We want RIT.” – George Gwozdecky, quipping who he’d rather see when the Denver Post’s Mike Chambers asked the players about tomorrow’s game between either CC or UND, both rivals.

“If you talk about the Shore brothers, Drew is the intense one; Nick is very laid back. It drives Drew crazy that Nick isn’t intense enough in warm-up. And Nick says ‘Drew, take a chill pill; it’s warm-up.’ Same thing with Kyle and Shawn [Ostrow].” – Gwozdecky answering a question about having two sets of brothers on the team.

Food time for me. Best time ever.

Friday, March 18; 7:28 p.m. – I have to say, the Sioux fans taking over the building for their team’s semifinal game against CC makes it much more pleasant to work. There’s a palpable sense of energy in the building and having the crowd into a game makes it so much better.

(and I’m already sick of Dance Mania and “I Like to Move It”. just so you know.)

Friday, Mar. 18; 10:47 p.m. – Well, I’m essentially 2-for-4 now, as my final game match-up is the same as I predicted Thursday, so woo for that!

Tonight’s CC/UND game was definitely the best game of the tournament so far – hands down. CC played amazingly and so did the Sioux. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s game against the top two teams in the league – this result is only fitting.

For now, quotes!

“After fans having to sit through three poor games – everybody told me as I walked in the building – I’m glad we were able to put some entertainment back into the building tonight, in terms of an up and down, exciting game. We knew they’d come out, they’re anxious to play somebody different than Michigan Tech I’m sure, and to have a chance to play in the title game. It would have been very disappointing if they had to turn around and bus back home with all their fan base and we wanted to make it as miserable as we could for them.” – CC’s Scott Owens’ opening statement, showing a bit of his snarky, sarcastic side.

“It was a great Final Five atmosphere to play in. It was unbelievable. The North Dakota fan base should be complimented  for traveling, the energy, the spirit and it made this an unbelievable experience for our guys; we haven’t been here in three years. It was an unbelievable experience; never mind the quality of the game.” – Owens on the atmosphere.

“I find it, actually, difficult to follow those two guys after their question and answers.” – UND’s Dave Hakstol about Chay Genoway and Matt Frattin.

“If I expect anything, I expect it to be a great hockey game. I found myself, with a couple minutes to go in this one tonight, with a little smile on my face just because it was a heck of a game. It was fun to be part of.” – Hakstol, on his thoughts on tomorrow’s game against Denver.

Saturday, March 19; 6:15 p.m. –  Just got to the X for the third time in three days for the five of this year’s Final Five. Quiet so far in the building, but thanks to Jayson Moy’s bracketology blog, I figured I’d update.

Basically, we’ve got five teams going to the NCAAs. From the results of the earlier games, it looks like we’ve got UND, DU, UMD, UNO and CC in the tourney. UNO left its fate in the hands of destiny and was smiled on. As for the Tigers, I’m glad they’re in because they certainly played like it yesterday.

Back later with more thoughts!

Saturday, March 19; 8:04 p.m. – Surprisingly enough, neither team is looking that great. That being said, DU looks marginally better than UND.

Saturday, March 19, 9:50 p.m. – Overtime. Dangit.

Also! Rare face-masking call called on DU’s John Lee in the third. The former ref in me loves the odd penalties.

Saturday, March 19; 11:53 p.m. – Matt Frattin won the game for UND in double-overtime. Only fitting, I suppose, between the league’s top two seeds. More about that in the gamer.

Now, quotes!

“As I told Dave [Hakstol], I’m glad the game ended when it did because I didn’t want either team to get too tired for the darn regionals. It seemed at times the game could have gone on a lot longer than it did.” – DU’s George Gwozdecky

“Sam is gaining in experience and this is the first time he’s sat in an actual press conference and he was kind of like, ‘wow’.”– Gwozdecky on goaltender Sam Brittain.

“Little energizer bunny; he finds energy; I don’t know where he finds it.” – UND’s Matt Frattin on Evan Trupp (and particularly Trupp’s energy on the winning goal).

“Well, I guess that’s going to be up to him and his six classmates. They’ll probably work that out and have a plan if he is fortunate enough to be in that situation.” – UND coach Dave Hakstol, answering a question on if Matt Frattin will touch the Hobey Baker award if he wins it (the UND players have not touched either the MacNaughton Cup or the Broadmoor Trophy this season, wanting a higher prize).

“We’ve got a rule on our team: if you enter the offensive zone and Frattin’s on the ice, you have to give it to him.” – Hakstol with a rare quip.

“It was awesome. That’s all I can say. It continuously surprises me, even though it shouldn’t, the passion that our fans have.” – Hakstol on the atmosphere.

All-tournament team:
F Jaden Schwartz, CC
F Anthony Maiani, DU
F Matt Frattin, UND
D Chay Genoway, UND
D Matt Donovan, DU
G Sam Brittain, DU
MVP Matt Frattin, UND

That’s all from me; you might see a few more blogs between now and the Frozen Four, but you might not, too. Good night, all.