The pucks drops in less than an hour to open the first Frozen Four semifinal in Chicago. As usual, I organized a pool to allow great college hockey minds to predict the results of the NCAA tourney. And this year I’m in good shape heading into the last three games of the season.
I missed two games in the regionals and both involved the Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish. I thought the Gophers would defeat the Irish before losing to U Mass Lowell in the regional final. For thirty-some minutes my pick looked golden as the Gophers controlled the play and held a 2-0 advantage. Then two quick Irish tallies evened the contest which Notre Dame won in the third on a power play goal. Overall, I thought the Gopher performance was lackluster which was all too similar to how they looked in the Big 10 tourney semifinal against Penn State. The Gophers are bringing back a lot of talent and will get an added infusion with next year’s freshman class so their future looks bright. Still a disappointing way to end the campaign.
I was not the only one surprised that Notre Dame reached the Frozen Four. In fact, the only one in our group who picked them to do that was the Nihilist in Golf Pants, a noted Golden Domer. In addition to the Irish, he also correctly tabbed Denver and UMD as Frozen Four finalists. But the brilliance of his Notre Dame pick was tarnished by the fact the he neglected to pick in winner in today’s first semi-final contest. So even if his eventual winner Denver does come through it won’t be enough to secure bragging rights. Shame that.
While missing on Notre Dame, I did correctly predict that Denver, Harvard, and UMD would reach Chicago. And if Denver and UMD win their semis and the Bulldogs take the national championship, I will emerge as the group winner. Well, technically I would be tied with King Banaian who somehow ended up with the exact same bracket as me (I suspect Armenian hackers). Then it will come down to total goals to determine the champion (thanks to Penn State for netting ten against Union).
The other contestant currently tied with King Banaian and I at the top of the standings is my eight-year-old son William. He has a Denver-Harvard final with the Pioneers as national champs. If that does come to pass he will be the winner of the group and lay claim to a lot of college hockey cred for a youngster.
Even if I didn’t have a stake in UMD winning a championship I would be rooting for them. And if not them, then Denver a former WCHA team with a great hockey history. Then, Notre Dame I guess. I don’t really have strong feelings on the Irish one way or another. But the team that must lose is Harvard. Not because they’re Ivy League blue bloods cheered on by precious coastal elites. No, because Harvard’s only NCAA hockey championship came in 1989. In St. Paul. In overtime. Against the Gophers. Go Bulldogs.