For the first time since 2005, not a single New England team made the Frozen Four. While that reduces my interest, at least the final will probably be more entertaining than the basketball final. I wouldn't be shocked if teams shot for higher percentages than Butler did.
Before reading further, bear in mind that I was wrong on all four of my Frozen Four picks.
The semifinals will be broadcast on ESPN2 this evening starting at 5, with the Championship game on ESPN Saturday night.
NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH vs. MINNESOTA-DULUTH BULLDOGS
Playing in St. Paul gives UMD the home ice edge. The Bulldogs also have a pretty good defense and penalty kill. Notre Dame only has a few big scoring threats, and the Bulldogs should be able to shut those down. I also like UMD goalie Kenny Reiter, who acquitted himself well against Union and Yale. I'm picking the Bulldogs to win 3-2.
MICHIGAN WOLVERINES vs. NORTH DAKOTA FIGHTING SIOUX
The Sioux are certainly the most talented team left. St. Paul is home away from home for North Dakota, as they won the WCHA tournament there a few weeks back. They haven't lost since January, and they have arguably the best player in college hockey: Matt Frattin (36 goals, 24 assists in 43 games). Michigan will struggle to keep up with the scoring, and their goaltending isn't a big strength. North Dakota triumphs 5-2.
North Dakota is also my pick to win it all.