March 19, 2007

2007 NCAA Hockey Tournament: The brackets have been selected, with the #1 seeds going to Minnesota, Notre Dame, Clarkson, and UNH. Notre Dame has been ranked #1 for most of the season, riding a hot goaltender. They have won five straight and only given up 3 goals total in those games. Minnesota beat North Dakota (the hotest team in the nation) in a thrilling OT game for the WCHA conference championship, after an amazing goal by Blake Wheeler (YouTube). First round of the playoffs start this weekend, with the Frozen Four in St. Louis in two weeks.

posted by emoeby to hockey at 01:57 PM - 25 comments

It's a shame that Minnesota and North Dakota got placed in the same region. Not saying that I don't understand why or anything, but switching Michigan and BU instead of switching Michigan State and North Dakota to avoid the Michigan-Michigan State matchup would have kept the potential Minnesota-North Dakota rematch for a bigger stage. That being said, here are my predicitons: -- Frozen Four will be Minnesota, Notre Dame, Clarkson and BC, though I will not be at all shocked if North Dakota defeats Minnesota. Clarkson is a weak #1 seed that could even lose to UMass, but their bracket is weak. -- St. Cloud State will continue its 0-for-the-NCAA record by losing to Maine in the first round. They look awful right now. Taking a dump at the Final Five (going 0-2) is a bad omen...the only team I can recall that got to the Frozen Four after doing so was Minnesota in 2005, and that's only because the regional was at Mariucci. The only saving grace for St. Cloud is that Maine is stinking just about as badly lately. -- Billy Sauer of Michigan will allow at least 2 or 3 soft goals against North Dakota in the 1st round. He's awful. If Michigan somehow escapes North Dakota, Minnesota will beat them down. -- Anyone who chants "Holy Cross" at the Gophers after they defeat Air Force will officially be a loser. Not that they aren't already, but that joke is on its deathbed. ;-) -- Like in 2006, Wisconsin will play the entire tournament at home. But this time they'll do it by themselves. -- For the first time in 6 years, a non-WCHA team will win it...I'm picking BC over Notre Dame in the final. We'll see if I'm right about any of this or not, but that's my call.

posted by TheQatarian at 02:22 PM on March 19, 2007

I picked the same final. This might just be BC's year, though I hope either the Gophers or Sioux win it to keep it in the WCHA. I love this time of the year.

posted by emoeby at 02:26 PM on March 19, 2007

Wooo, go Eagles! I'm predicting a Beanpot final ;-)

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:12 PM on March 19, 2007

Nice goal but that goalie - why was he going down? Wheeler was making a desperation swipe at the puck from a bad angle. He wasn't picking a spot. I guess it is just instinct to drop into the butterfly when the puck is headed netward.

posted by gspm at 04:23 PM on March 19, 2007

As always, Go Blue!( But I could live with a Beanpot finale,lil).

posted by sickleguy at 05:37 PM on March 19, 2007

Heh, I don't think there's any way it's really gonna happen, sickleguy -- but it would be cool.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:43 PM on March 19, 2007

"Some 59 schools field Division I teams (up from 40 in 1990), and nearly 25 percent of the current 900-plus NHL players came out of college hockey programs," St Louis Post-Dispatch Article ... I've been to several CCHA Games this year and saw the Irish Squad 1st Hand. I'm pulling for a CCHA School to win the National Championship. (Hopefully a certain Michigan Squad based in Ann Arbor) but any CCHA Squad will due. By the way there's a lot more to the Fighting Irish then the Hot Goalie. 4 CCHA Squads have qualified for the NCAA Tournament. Mason Cup Champion, Notre Dame, Miami (Ohio), Michigan State and Go Blue Michigan. Thanks for the Great Thread emoeby

posted by skydivedad at 06:53 PM on March 19, 2007

What heh? lil? M has won several NCAA hockey championships!

posted by sickleguy at 07:26 PM on March 19, 2007

Hockey East looks strong this year, with 5 teams in the tournament. It's also nice to see 'Bama-Huntsville in there. I spend a lot of time in Huntsville on business, although I've not been able to get to one of their games. I like the way the program has built up slowly but steadily over the years. Even though they've been inconsistent, I look for the UNH Wildcats to make it past BC into the Frozen 4. Perhaps not a Beanpot final, but a Hockey East final looks highly possible. Alas, the Northeastern Huskies once again look on longingly.

posted by Howard_T at 08:20 PM on March 19, 2007

What heh? lil? BU-BC final. Not likely. Agreed with Howard_T re: the strength of Hockey East, but then, I'm a ECAC/Hockey East homer :-)

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:24 PM on March 19, 2007

Alabama Huntsville? I hadn't realized what a hockey powerhouse that they were. Anyway, as always I have to pull for UNH as its the closest we ever get to a national championship (pro or college) in any sport in New Hampshire.

posted by kyrilmitch_76 at 05:17 AM on March 20, 2007

I've not seen many of these other teams, but have a lot of firsthand experience with the Gophers, and let me tell you, over recent weeks, they have not played terribly great (save for good efforts in the past two games, both at home). Against Alaska-Anchorage, the team largely looked lethargic and really eeked out a first-round WCHA tournament victory in game 3. Until Wheeler played Superhero this past weekend, he was even being heckled off the ice with his play that seemed to lack any bit of heart (he couldn't control a puck to save his life). If the Gophers can hold up to this weekend's efforts, then they might make it to the Frozen Four, but they'll definitely need a little more effort to push them over the hump and earn the championship. But I'll still argue that their #1 seed this year is largely a product of their name and not their late-season play and really hope they'll prove me wrong.

posted by PublicUrinal at 08:59 AM on March 20, 2007

PU: The Gophers' #1 seed is a product of mathematics...or are you not familiar with the PairWise rankings? They did win both the regular season and playoff championship in the WCHA...hard to argue they aren't a #1 seed. Otherwise, I agree with you, but they do have some momentum and confidence going into the tournament. I think the game they lost to Anchorage was their wake-up call.

posted by TheQatarian at 09:10 AM on March 20, 2007

I've only looked at the West Regional in Denver, but there is some sick talent between Minnesota, Michigan, and North Dakota. And there a bunch of high draft picks out east as well. This should be a great tournament. Minnesota Name DraftYear DraftPick (Hockeysfuture team prospect rank) Erik Johnson 2006 #1 (#1 Blues Prospect) Blake Wheeler 2004 #5 (#7 Coyotes Prospect) Kyle Okposo 2006 #7 (#1 Islanders Prospect) David Fischer 2006 #20 (#5 Canadiens Prospect) Ryan Stoa 2005 #34 (#1 Avs Prospect) Jeff Frazee 2005 #38 (#6 Devils Prospect) Michigan Jack Johnson 2005 #3 (#1 Kings Prospect) Andrew Cogliano 2005 #25 (#2 Oilers Prospect) North Dakota Jonathon Toews 2006 #3 (#2 Blackhawks Prospect) Brian Lee 2005 #9 (#2 Senators Prospect) TJ Oshie 2005 #24 (#3 Blues Prospect) Joe Finley 2005 #27 (#8 Capitols Prospect) Taylor Chorney 2005 #36 (#8 Oilers Prospect) Thanks for the comments, I'm glad to see that college hockey does have fans on SportsFilter!

posted by emoeby at 09:17 AM on March 20, 2007

An NCAA Hockey Tournament without Colgate is like an NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament without Duke. If Duke was a dinky school that never won a tournament and often disappeared in the first round when they made it at all. Or, let's say, an NCAA Hockey Tournament without Colgate is like running out of beer after 8pm in Connecticut. It's unfortunate, but there's nothing you can really do about it, except maybe run to the state line and try to find an open liquor store in New York or Mass, and even then they probably only have cheap domestic beers and not the beers you would really like to have, and now look, we're not going to get back home until eleven at the earliest and I don't even want beer anymore, I gotta get up early, plus $12.99 for Coors, that's ridiculous, I'm not paying that, well, what were you expecting and maybe you could have mentioned you had to get up early before you suggested we drive all the way out here after 8pm. Jerk. I think my simile class is really helping. Anyway, I haven't seen a lick of college hockey this season for the first time in a long time, so I'm just going to blindly predict Clarkson out of sheer ECAC loyalty. I dislike rooting for Clarkson for anything, but it's better than Cornell or Harvard. Much, much better. Go Clarkson.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 10:03 AM on March 20, 2007

I think my simile class is really helping. In a big way. Keep up the good work, it's hilarious! btw anyone want to have a SpoFi campfire for some of these?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:22 AM on March 20, 2007

Only if someone brings s'mores.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 10:43 AM on March 20, 2007

Campfire and a confidence pool. Anyone seen DrJE? Dearest DrJE can we get a confidence pool for this please?

posted by skydivemom at 12:01 PM on March 20, 2007

Dearest DrJE can we get a confidence pool for this please? you don't need drj to set one up.

posted by goddam at 12:51 PM on March 20, 2007

you don't need drj to set one up. Oooh. You do it, skydivemom!

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:49 PM on March 20, 2007

TheQatarian: Certainly was not familiar with the selection process, so thank you for the enlightenment. Regarding the loss, they were not much better the following night, and while solid against Wisconsin, not impressive; but certainly a huge improvement before their effort against North Dakota. Hopefully they're turning the corner that will allow Minneapolis to set cars on fire and break into liquor stores again.

posted by PublicUrinal at 03:30 PM on March 20, 2007

I think my simile class is really helping. Dang...I misread that as "smilie class," and I was just so pleased that you were smiling. Oh well. In all seriousness, I've had a chance to watch ND play four or five times this season, and they've looked good. Plus, hard to argue with a coach with a record like Jeff Jackson's.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:45 PM on March 20, 2007

I am really not up to setting it up and doing the commish duties so PLEASE someone else do it! I don't understand the tournament enough. Do they even play more than one game if they lose? Is it a best of tourney or are you knocked out after a loss. You really can't play a confidence point to well if you are knocked out with a loss. It would be more like the bracket thing with basketball. Someone please enlighten me!

posted by skydivemom at 10:24 PM on March 20, 2007

For skydivemom, here are the basics on the NCAA hockey tournament: It's a single elimination tournament, just like basketball. Sixteen teams participate in four regionals, then the winners go to the Frozen Four. The sixteen teams are chosen as follows: the winners of the six hockey conference tournaments (WCHA, CCHA, Hockey East, ECACHL, Atlantic Hockey, and CHA) automatically make it. This year, those teams were Minnesota, Notre Dame, Boston College, Clarkson, Air Force and Alabama-Huntsville. The other 10 teams are chosen using the "PairWise Rankings", which can be found (along with lots of other useful information about how the tournament is put together) on There's practically no subjectivity to the process, unlike basketball. Hope that helps.

posted by TheQatarian at 09:16 AM on March 21, 2007

OK Gang, Being that I'm making a small amends to my lovely bride and this is cheaper than a dozen roses, I've created a SportsFilter 2007 Road to The Frozen Four confidence pool. I'm attending the Midwest Regionals here in Grand Rapids that kicks off this Friday with Notre Dame vs. Alabama-Huntsville and Boston U vs. Michigan State. Details in the Locker Room

posted by skydivedad at 12:59 PM on March 21, 2007

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