One of my favorite times of year is coming up. This weekend begins the March Madness NCAA Hockey Tournament. Like previous years we have some surprises (American International, Bowling Green, Arizona State, Massachusetts), the recent repeats (Denver, St. Cloud St, Ohio St), and the repeats from last year’s finals (Notre Dame and Minnesota-Duluth). First round begins March 29thand 30th, the second round will be on the 31st. This means after March 31st our Frozen Four will be set! The semi-finals will two weeks later be on April 11th with the finals occurring on April 13th .
Regional Semi-finals (March 29th-31st)
West (Fargo, ND)
St. Cloud State (1) vs. American International
Ohio State vs. Denver
Winner: St. Cloud State.
St. Cloud State is the clear favorite here but it wasn’t too far back that they were #2 overall (#1 in their division) and lost to Ferris State 5-4 in the first round. With that said they are a fast and they have one of the best offenses in NCAA (4.08 Goals per game – 2nd in the league). American International might be caught in the cross-hairs of the toughest division. Ohio State vs. Denver should prove to be the best first round matchup. Tanner Laczynski leads a powerful Ohio State offense and power play while Denver’s Devin Cooley is one of the best goalies in NCAA this year.
Some thing to know about the upcoming NCAA Hockey Tournament: Both @SunDevilHockey and @AIC_Hockey will play in their first ever tournament. AIC plays St. Cloud St. on Fri. while ASU plays Quinnipiac on Sat. (Both 7:30 PM ET on ESPN3) pic.twitter.com/a5igXLtH3G— Jenna Ortiz (@jennarortiz) March 25, 2019
Northeast (Manchester, NH)
Massachusetts (4th best 1 seed) vs. Harvard
Notre Dame vs. Clarkson
Massachusetts has stepped into the forefront as T.H.E. Massachusetts team to be feared after years of taking a backseat to UMass-Amherst. Cale Makar has been eager to make a name for himself as he is endearing himself in showcase to Colorado Avalanche fans for what’s to come. They lead with speed and offense pressuring opposing teams aggressively. Adam Fox (8th most points in NCAA) and the #1 power play team in the league Harvard are hoping to showcase this #1 Power Play vs. #2 Power Play matchup. Clarkson’s Nico Sturm (8thmost points in NCAA) battles a Notre Dame team who lost much of it’s talent from the finals game it played in last year. Jake Kielly’s abilities in net for Clarkson (1.89GA 8th best in NCAA, made 15thmost saves in the league) will prove to be the x-factor in this division as Clarkson advances.
Cale Makar is the best player on a UMass team that’s been the talk of college hockey this season and is a finalist for the Hobey Baker. But on Wednesday mornings, he’s a sophomore psychology student with a standing meeting.— Meredith Perri (@MeredithPerri) March 27, 2019
Read more via @MattVautour424 https://t.co/AaU4QrN6El
East (Providence, RI)
Minnesota State (3rd best 1 seed) vs. Providence
Cornell vs. Northeastern
Winner: Minnesota State.
Minnesota State has a STAUNCH defense allowing just 1.71 goals against per game. They might be the most well rounded team with a formidable offense (5th most goals per game) legit power play (9th best PP%) and the 5th best PK unit. Providence should make a strong push as a good mix of veterans on the defense side and lethal scorers on the offense side. I think Minnesota State advances if they get past providence in the first round. Northeastern have quite a bit of NHL potential on their team but during power plays and at key moments they seem to come up short. Cornell never stops hustling but the longevity of a season at that pace takes it’s toll on a team.
Congratulations to Coach Mike Hastings for being named WCHA COY! https://t.co/Ec6PRGqhkw— Matt Margenthaler (@mthaler) March 19, 2019
Midwest (Allentown, PA)
Minnesota Duluth (2nd best 1 seed) vs. Bowling Green
Arizona State vs. Quinnipiac
Don’t sleep on Bowling Green, they are allowing the 2nd fewest goals per game in the league (1.82). Ironically, Quinnipiac is allowing the third fewest and Minnesota Duluth the 6th fewest so we shall dub this the all defense division. Arizona State is lethal on their power play (Johnny Walker has 9 goals, 8th most in NCAA) with the team boasting the 14th most power play goals this year converting at an lackluster 15.22% but getting a lot of opportunities as they continue to move their legs through plays. On the flip side Quinnpiac has just 15 power play goals against, best in the league (with a PK of 87.5%) needless to say it should be an interesting round 1 matchup between those two. Minnesota Duluth is the favorite here but I think the Bobcats are going to pull an upset in this division especially with Andrew Shortridge’s 1.51 GAA (best in NCAA) at it’s core.
Hobey Baker Finalists in NCAA Tournament:— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) March 28, 2019
Patrick Newell and Jimmy Schuldt, St. Cloud State.
Mason Jobst, Ohio State
Cale Makar, Massachusetts
Adam Fox, Harvard
Nico Sturm, Clarkson
Chase Priskie, Quinnipiac pic.twitter.com/ldDel7DZB4
2019 NCAA Winner:
Minnesota- State is so strong on both ends.
Is the winner either Minnesota St or St Cloud St?
This poll is closed
Yes one of those two wins it all.
No give me the field