Frozen Four Storylines
As the Frozen Four rapidly approaches I ask this question. Have you checked out the ice at Ford Field? (photo courtesy of the NCAA) http://www.ncaa.com/sports/m-hockey/champpage/m-hockey-div1-index.html. The teams involved are underdog RIT, perennial powerhouse Wisconsin, #1 ranked Miami (Ohio) University, and the hockey Mecca Boston College.
RIT is the Cinderella story. Nobody expected them to beat Denver but they beat the Pioneers and New Hampshire. Well that got their ticket punched into the FF and their head coach, Wayne Wilson, was a part of a national champion when he captained Bowling Green to a title back in 1984 and BC’s Jerry York was the head coach at the time!
“I always prefer to be on the left side of the ledger,” Wilson stated. “Having beat Denver and New Hampshire is all you have to say.”
Enter Wisconsin the team with two Hobey Baker finalists, Blake Geoffrion (Boom Boom’s grandson, Nashville draft pick) and Brendan Smith (Detroit draft pick). The team has a killer power play and the goaltending behind Scott Gudmandson (undrafted).
“It’s still about us doing what we do best and playing to our strengths,” said Badgers head coach, Mike Eaves. “The ability to play hard, win battles, have a net presence, make sure our specialty teams are ready to go and take care of the puck.”
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York, who has won the Frozen Four three times, his last victory, came in 2008. His teams always have plenty of stars and a deep roster but they are playing the #1 seeded Miami and they won’t take them lightly.
“They are the #1 seed and they’ve had an incredible year,” York said, buttering up the Miami program. “We can use this time to recuperate and get ready to Miami.”
“It’s really exciting for these young players to be a part of this, said Ben Smith (Blackhawks sixth round pick in 2008), who was on the 2008 team that won it all for BC. “It’s a hard thing to get to the Frozen Four.”
Every team has had the chance to get healthy with the time off before the games start tomorrow.
Miami’s coach, Enrico Blasi, has the cool factor down and his teams always play hard and always compete to the bitter end. He is a lifer at Miami and he literally bleeds “Miami Red”. He played for them from 1990-94. Earlier this year, Brendan Burke, son of Leafs GM Brian Burke, passed away, and he was a member of the staff at Miami and the team will never forget him.
“We are a family. We stayed together. We did the stuff on the ice and focused on that. There’s no easy way. There’s no manual. What happened to Brendan is real life,” Blasi said in a sympathetic tone.
“We lost to BC in my first year,” said Miami’s captain, Tommy Wingels (Sharks 6th round pick in 2008). “I think it will be an exciting game on Thursday!”
Here is the schedule:
April 8 - National Semifinals – Wisconsin RIT 5PM
5 & 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2 - Miami-BC 8:30PM
April 10 - National Championship -
7 p.m. ET on ESPN
Check out all the coverage here:
NOTES - - Dan Craig the NHL “ice man” is making sure the ice is in perfect shape. The NCAA has never played in an indoor football arena so players will need extra hydration because it will likely be warmer than usual. The band will be amplified playing to a much larger crowd.
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