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my new love for college hockey and what it means for you

29 Mar

im about to admit that i never really had a liking for the sport of hockey. but before you go all crazy on me, im about to tell you that i have changed. my friends kept telling me that if i just watched 1 game, i’d be hooked. well, they were right. this past weekend i sat down with a few of my friends and watched the second round of the college hockey championship. it featured the minnesota golden gophers and the north dakota fighting sioux. both teams were trying to punch their ticket to the “frozen four” in tampa.

where im from in new jersey, college hockey isn’t really that big. people don’t follow it like they follow baseball, football and basketball. even though i didn’t know that much about the game, i was able to get into it very quickly. every time there was a penalty and one team was down a player, i was nervous and every time north dakota got close to minnesota’s goal, i was nervous (yes, i was rooting for minnesota).

now that im rooting minnesota and they’re in the frozen four, i figured i would need to give my self a crash course in division-1 hockey. i sat down and did some research on the four teams vying for the division-1 college hockey championship.

since i now have this new love for college hockey, this means you will now get to know all about the sport too. and because you were wondering, here’s some need to know info:

the 4 teams that have made it to the 2012 frozen four are union college of new york, ferris state, minnesota, and boston college. each team has their own interesting story.

ferris state and union college play each other in the first game of the championship (April 5th). union beat out michigan state and mass-lowell in the first two rounds to get to the frozen four. union was the #1 seed in the east region but had to beat out mass-lowell in overtime to get here. this is also the first time since 2003 that a team from the ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference) has made it to the semi-finals.

ferris state is a pretty cool story. the #1 seed in their region was michigan but they didn’t even have to play them because cornell did that. they did in fact have to beat cornell 2-1 to get to their first ever frozen four.

both ferris state and union college are making their first ever trip to the frozen four. this is new for both teams. ferris state’s stars are senior jordie johnston and goalie taylor nelson. they’ve had some pretty tough losses this season but also some pretty big wins. union college depends on sophomore goalie troy grosenick who had 19 saves in their game vs. mass-lowell. they also have kelly zajac, younger brother of devils center, travis zajac. to say there is not history on both of these teams would be lying. they come from programs that have worked their way up the ranks and continue time and time again to prove themselves. the winner of this game would show just how far they have come.

so the 1st game is unique because both teams are newcomers but the 2nd game features two storied powerhouses. #1 overall seed boston college and the #2 seed from the west, minnesota. boston college last won the championship in 2010 and minnesota in 2003. neither team is a stranger to the other as they have played  27 times.

to get to this game, boston college had to beat defending champion minnesota-duluth and minnesota had to beat the #1 seed in their region, north dakota. both teams have too many stars to name and feature plenty of talented guys who will soon be in the National Hockey League. obviously, each have tons to gain from a win here. minnesota would prove that they are back at the top and boston college will avenge their loss last year in the regionals. minnesota is the highest scoring team of the ncaa tournament while boston college has not surrendered a goal in the tournament yet. which team’s tempo will win out? either way, this could be the best game of the tournament.

if minnesota plays like they did against north dakota, i think they can win this game but like many hockey games, it could get ugly. two storied teams that both want the victory.

i wouldn’t call myself qualified enough yet to predict who will win the tournament but i do know it would be pretty cool to see the underdogs win. however,¬† i think the winner of the boston college/minnesota game will win the championship. there is too much experience on either of those teams and i think both have been battle-tested enough to pull out a championship victory.

im already counting down till the 2012-2013 season of college hockey starts…