Well it’s that time of year again for the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Regional Finals; the path to a spot in the Frozen Four.
The Frozen Four will take place in St. Paul, Minnesota this year at the Xcel Energy Center.
Sixteen teams will begin their fight for a Regional Championship, earning a spot in the Frozen Four, and in the end a National Championship.
The seedings for the Regionals this weekend are as follows:
East: Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, CT
1. Notre Dame (25-9-2)
2. Providence (23-11-4)
3. Clarkson (23-10-6)
4. Michigan Tech (22-16-5)
Northeast: DCU Center, Worcester, MA
1. Cornell (25-5-2)
2. Michigan (20-14-3)
3. Northeastern (23-9-5)
4. Boston University (21-13-4)
Midwest: PPL Center, Allentown, PA
1. Ohio State (24-9-5)
2. Denver (22-9-8)
3. Penn State (18-14-5)
4. Princeton (19-12-4)
West: Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls, SD
1. St. Cloud State (25-8-6)
2. Minnesota State (29-9-1)
3. Minnesota Duluth (21-16-3)
4. Air Force (22-14-5)
First round games for the Northeast and West regions will be played Friday, and first round games for the Midwest and East regions will be played on Saturday.
The games for first round are as follows:
1. St. Cloud State v.s. 4. Air Force Friday, March 23 4:00 PM ET
2. Minnesota State v.s. 3. Minnesota Duluth Friday, March 23 7:30 PM ET
1. Notre Dame v.s. 4. Michigan Tech Friday, March 23 3:00 PM ET
2. Providence v.s. 3. Clarkson Friday, March 23 6:30 PM ET
1. Ohio State v.s. 4. Princeton Saturday, March 24 3:30 PM ET
2. Denver v.s. 3. Penn State Saturday, March 24 7:00 PM ET
1. Cornell v.s. 4. Boston University Saturday, March 24 1:00 PM ET
2. Michigan v.s. 3. Northeastern Saturday, March 24 4:30 PM ET
In the West, I see St. Cloud State moving on over Air Force rather easily, and then I have to take Minnesota-Duluth over Minnesota State as Duluth has had a tougher schedule and are more experienced in these types of games than Minnesota State.
In the East, I expect to see Notre Dame handle Michigan Tech with a solid performance, and then Providence should be able to get past Clarkson to get revenge for a 4-0 loss that took place in the beginning of the season.
The Northeast presents a couple games that will be very tightly contested.
Hockey East champs Boston University will take on Cornell who is the number one seed in the region, with the stretch that Boston University has hit late in the season, I feel they will be able to move past Cornell as Boston University’s strength of schedule is harder than Cornell’s who plays in the ECAC.
Next in this region is Michigan vs. Northeastern, both teams have been having strong seasons compared to recent history and are looking for a spot in the Frozen Four; however I feel Northeastern will be able to push through Michigan in a close game.
In the Midwest, I expect to see Ohio State move past the ECAC champs Princeton as they are currently having one of the best seasons in school history.
Denver vs. Penn State is going to be rather interesting; Denver is the defending National Champions, however Penn State has had an impressive season thus far and will have the fans in their pocket as the Midwest Regionals will take place at the PPL Center in Allentown, PA.
To top it off, Penn State will be looking to seek revenge for the 6-3 loss they took from Denver last year in the Regional Championship.
However I feel unless Penn State plays the best game of their season, Denver will be able to get the win.
The winners of these games will advance to their respective Regional Championship game; Saturday, March 24 for East and West, Sunday, March 25 for Midwest and Northeast.
BU and Cornell: www.cornellsun.com
Ohio State: www.newscycle.dispatch.com
Penn State and Denver: www.collegian.psu.edu
Notre Dame: www.USCHO.com
Air Force: www.pinterest.co.uk
St. Cloud State: www.universitychron.com
Minnesota State: www.collegehockeynews.com
Michigan Tech: www.techhockeyguide.com