NCAA Hockey Tournament Sees Bemidji State Make History
After the first day of NCAA tournament action, half of the field's No. 1 seeds were upset by their respective four seeds.
First, No. 13. Miami (Ohio) Redhawks doubled up No. 4 Denver 4-2 in the semifinal of the West Regional.
Then, No. 3 Michigan Wolverines was blanked by No. 18 Air Force Falcons 2-0 in what I thought was going to end up being the upset of the tournament in the East Regional.
The upsets didn't stop there. In fact, the entire first round was filled with them. The tournament started out 3-0 in favor of the lower seeds with No. 11 Vermont Catamounts taking down No. 5 Yale Bulldogs 4-1.
The only higher seed to win on Friday was No. 8 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs barely getting by No. 10 Princeton Tigers with a 5-4 overtime win. The game only got to overtime after UMD scored two goals in the last 30 some odd seconds of play.
On Saturday, the upsets continued. Most notably, I changed my mind on the upset of the tournament as unranked Bemidji State Beavers trounced No. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 5-1.
The only one seed to advance out of the first round was No. 2 Boston University Terriers. They beat up on No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes 8-3.
No. 12 New Hampshire Wildcats added another upset to the list beating No. 7 North Dakota Fighting Souix 6-5 in overtime.
No. 6 Northeastern Huskies took a 2-0 lead into the second period against No. 9 Cornell Big Red only to squander the lead, then the game giving up three goals in the final frame, with the game tying goal and the winner coming in the final two minutes of play.
The Regional Championships on Saturday saw UVM go to overtime with Air Force before claiming a 3-2 double OT victory securing the first spot in the Frozen Four.
Miami punched their ticket with a 2-1 victory over Minnesota-Duluth.
Sunday saw the last two regional finals between BU and UNH and Bemidji and Cornell.
The first, BU vs UNH saw yet another late goal scored as BU won 2-1 scoring with just 15 seconds left to win and get back to the Frozen Four for the first time in 12 years.
Bemidji State beat Cornell 4-1 to send themselves to the Frozen Four. Their appearance in two weeks will be the first time ever that a team outside of the CCHA, WCHA, ECAC or Hockey East have made it to the Frozen Four.
Granted that leaves the CHA and Atlantic Hockey Conference, it still means a lot considering the CHA is being disbanded after this season.
Bemidji State is the team that qualified by winning their conference tournament as they stood no chance of qualifying any other way.
The Frozen Four
The four remaining teams will now get a weekend off to prepare for their trip to the nations capital.
With Boston University playing Vermont, this year will mark the fourth consecutive final in which a Hockey East School will have a chance at the National Championship, and the 12th time in the last 13 years.
BU is the only team of these four that has played in a National Championship game, the last time being 12 years ago, the last time they made the Frozen Four. They lost that game, but 14 years ago, they won it all.
Looking at the way the teams have played all season, it certainly seems that Hockey East will win it's second consecutive National Title, but, as both Bemidji and Miami have shown this postseason, anything is possible.
Looking at the first matchup, Miami and Bemidji State have not met this year and this will probably be an interesting match-up, as both schools were four seeds.
The difference is the Beavers are playing better, they have given up only two goals while scoring nine and if they can light up Notre Dame and Cornell, I don't see Miami slowing them down.
I am not saying this game will end in a blowout, but I think Bemidji is on a hot streak right now that no one can really rival. Bemidji State 3-2
The Second Semifinal features Boston University against the Vermont Catamounts. The Catamounts were the only school in the nation to win the head-to-head battle against the Terriers going 2-1.
This is the last team I bet BU wanted to play at all the rest of the way. Vermont features the type of team that is more than capable of beating BU. Fast forwards, a strong goaltender and smart defensemen.
I might also add that both starting goalies in this game will be freshman Rob Madore of UVM and Kieran Millan of BU.
Also, like last years championship team, the Boston College Eagles, BU has won this years Beanpot Tournament and the Hockey East Tournament. Not to mention John Muse was a freshman goalie last year for the Eagles when they won it all.
Still how much I think BU is not going to lose anymore, I thought that going into the Hockey East Tournament and they got beat by Maine. Vermont 4-3
In the Championship Game, I do not know what to expect, my unbiased opinion wants to root for the underdog, the unranked Beavers. But the Hockey East fan in me wants to see the HEA take home two straight titles.
So, I'm going to predict two scores, if Bemidji wins, it will be a lot of scoring, because I don't think they have what it takes to slow down Vermont. Bemidji 5-4
If Vermont wins, they will probably still score a lot, but they will also keep the Beavers from scoring. Vermont 4-2
Boston University 3-1 Bemidji
Boston University 4-1 Miami
Vermont 3-1 Miami
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