Monday, March 26, 2012

BC, Minnesota, Union, and Ferris State Advance to Frozen Four

One of the reasons I love college hockey is the diversity of the successful teams. In this year's Frozen Four you have two state schools, two private schools. Two northeastern schools, two from the midwest. Two powerhouses in BC and Minnesota (9 titles between them, and over 50 Frozen Four appearances) and two underdogs in Union and Ferris State (first Frozen Four appearance for both programs).

Boston College advanced to the Frozen Four after back-to-back shutouts of Air Force and Minnesota-Duluth. The Eagles have won 17 straight. They've only allowed 1 goal in 3 games, 7 goals in their last 10 games, and only 16 goals in their last 16 games. Parker Milner has turned into a wall of a goaltender. BC has made the Frozen Four 15 of the last 17 years. This is just another great year for a great program under a great coach, Jerry York. They'll face Minnesota in the semifinals.

Minnesota got to the Frozen Four with convincing wins over BU and North Dakota. The Golden Gophers won the WCHA regular season title, and have strikingly similar numbers as BC. Both teams score about 3.5 goals per game, and allow under 2.3 goals per game.

Minnesota/BC is a meeting of Goliaths. Ferris State and Union is a meeting of Davids. Ferris State (which is in Grand Rapids, Michigan, by the way) won a pair of tight 2-1 games to earn their spot in the Frozen Four. They beat Denver, then outlasted Cornell, who had upset Michigan in the 1st round.

Union (located in Schenectady, NY, just outside of Albany) won the ECAC. The ECAC wasn't rated too highly, but here's Union in the Frozen Four, and fellow ECAC member Cornell knocked Michigan out. Union's strength is their goaltending in defense.

With the Frozen Four in Tampa, all of these teams will have to face the same travel strains. All four teams are from different conferences and no matter who wins the semifinals the Championship game will be between an historic powerhouse and a first time finalist.

The Frozen Four will start a week from Thursday. The Championship will be on Saturday April 7th.

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