March NCAA Report: The Road To The Frozen Four

Josh Tessler

2020-03-11

https://www.buffalonews.com

 

On April 9th, the 2020 NCAA Frozen Four will kick off at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The semi-finals will be held on the 9th at 5:00 pm EST and 8:30 pm EST. The winners of the semi-final matchups will battle for the championship on the 11th at 8:00 pm EST. The semi-finals and championship rounds will be televised on the ESPN Networks in the United States and on TSN in Canada. 

 

Prior to the Frozen Four kicking off in Detroit, there will be four regional competitions. Each regional competition will host four collegiate squads. The four regional competitions will be held at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts (March 27-28), the Times Union Center in Albany, New York (March 28-29), the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania (March 28-29) and the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado (March 27-28). 

 

Once each conference championship takes place, the NCAA will hold the selection show. There will sixteen teams that will be participating in the 2020 Division I Men’s Hockey Championship. The six conference winners will play in the tournament and the other ten teams will be chosen by a committee. 

 

While we are still waiting a couple of weeks before the tournament kicks off, there is plenty of thrilling college hockey on the docket. Each college hockey conference playoff is taking place.

 

Big Ten

 

In the Big Ten, the semi-finals take place on Saturday. The University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Ohio State University and Pennsylvania State University remain in the hunt. In round one, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers defeated the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2-1. 

 

The University of Michigan Wolverines beat down their in-state rivals, the Michigan State University Spartans 2-0. On Saturday night, Boston Bruins prospect John Beecher had a beautiful goal to help secure the win over the Spartans. In the clip below, you can watch Beecher go zone-to-zone with the puck, evade traffic and fire a wrist shot for a goal. 

 

 

In the last Big Ten round one matchup, the Ohio State University Buckeyes took down the University of Wisconsin Badgers 2-0. It has been a rough year for the Wisconsin Badgers. They had done an impeccable job recruiting and bringing assets such as Dylan Holloway (2020 NHL Draft Eligible Prospect), Cole Caufield (Montreal Canadiens prospect) and Alex Turcotte (Los Angeles Kings prospect) to Madison, Wisconsin, but the team failed to generate a buzz in the Big Ten. If you look at the combined score of the two playoff games, you will see the Ohio State dismantled Wisconsin 11-2. For Ohio State, Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Carson Meyer lit up the lamp over and over again. In the embedded tweet below, you can check Meyer’s five-point night in game one of the series.

 

 

 

ECAC 

 

In the ECAC, round one was completed on Sunday. Colgate University defeated Brown University 2-0, Harvard University creamed St. Lawrence University 2-0, Princeton University upset Dartmouth College 2-0 and Yale University finished off Union College in a thrilling double-overtime showdown in game three. 

 

In round one, New Jersey Devils defensive prospect Reilly Walsh stood out. In game two against St. Lawrence, the right-handed defenseman tallied two goals on the power play. The night before, Walsh had mustered up two assists. It is fair to say that Walsh stole the show from Harvard and helped propel them to round two. In the below tweet, you can check out Walsh’s first powerplay goal of the night. Walsh shoots on the blocker side and shows off his robust wrist shot.

 

 

 

The ECAC Hockey Tournament continues on Friday as Cornell University will take on Princeton University. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute matches up against Harvard University, Quinnipiac University battles their neighbor Yale University and Clarkson University will face Colgate University.

 

WCHA & AHA

 

The WCHA and the AHA playoffs kicked off last weekend. In the WCHA Tournament, Bemidji State University, Bowling Green State University, Michigan Technological University, and Minnesota State University remain in contention. Minnesota State University will be the team to beat. Their leading scorer, German national Marc Michaelis has been on fire this season. In 31 games played, he has tallied 20 goals and 24 assists. His fellow German, Parker Tuomie has been a solid offensive producer as well. Tuomie has tallied 14 goals and 23 assists in 37 games played.

 

In the AHA Tournament, Air Force Academy, American International College, Army West Point, Bentley University, Niagara University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Robert Morris University and Sacred Heart University are still alive and kicking. Round two will kick off on Friday and all eyes will be on American International College (#1 seed) and Sacred Heart University (#2 seed). 

 

Hockey East & NCHC

 

The Hockey East and NCHC playoffs will kick off on Friday. In the Hockey East playoffs, the Boston College Eagles will garner quite a bit of attention, since they had an incredible season. Even though the Eagles failed to make it to the Beanpot Championship last month, there still is a lot of talent on the squad and they are capable of making quite a lengthy run. With Florida Panthers goaltender prospect Spencer Knight manning the pipes for the Eagles, Boston College is in the driver’s seat to the NCAA Tournament. But, they will still face tough competition in the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Boston University, University of Connecticut, University of Maine, Northeastern University and Providence College.

 

In the NCHC playoffs, every team will be looking to slow down the University of Minnesota-Duluth, who won the NCAA Tournament back-to-back in 2018 and 2019. The University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs are led by St. Louis Blues prospect, left-handed defenseman Scott Perunovich, who could be on his way to the NHL once the Bulldogs’ run ends. While there is a good chance that the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs will be back in the NCAA Tournament, it will be a challenge to secure an NCHC Championship. The University of North Dakota, University of Denver, Western Michigan University, St. Cloud State University, University of Nebraska-Omaha, Miami University at Ohio and Colorado College are nothing to sneeze at. Stay tuned for round one of the NCHC playoffs as they kick off on Friday.

 

Frozen Four

 

We are still a few weeks away from the Frozen Four and there is still quite a bit of hockey left. It will be interesting to see how everything unfolds. Will Jordan Kawaguchi (No NHL Rights) and the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks take down their rivals, the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs? Could Zac Jones (New York Rangers prospect) and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Minutemen take down the number one seed Boston College Eagles? Anything is possible. Let’s buckle up and see where the road takes us.

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