The stage is set in Philadelphia. The 2014 NCAA men's ice hockey tournament's four surviving teams will face off on Thursday to earn a berth in the national championship.
As Minnesota, North Dakota, Boston College and Union prepare for their upcoming contests, some last-minute speculation is in order.
Oddsmakers have already been hard at work laying down the latest lines for each of these games. It's up to us to determine the probability of each team advancing to the next round and if they will do it in a decisive manner.
Let's take a look at the latest odds for the Frozen Four and predict which teams will advance to the finals.
Frozen Four Odds
|Team||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Boston College vs. Union|
|Boston College||-1.5||-150||Over 5.5|
|Minnesota vs. North Dakota|
|North Dakota||+1.5||+170||Under 5.5|
The complete tournament bracket can be found at NCAA.com.
|Team 1||Team 2||Pick|
|Boston College||Union||Boston College|
Sean O'Donnell's Predictions
Boston College is on a tremendous run. 2014 marks the 11th time in that last 14 years that the team has reached the Frozen Four. The way they are playing right now, this shouldn't be the end of their road.
Today's Herald column: Boston College hockey coach Jerry York talks about living in the "precious present." http://t.co/ULlLN3MFV0— Steve Buckley (@BuckinBoston) April 9, 2014
Johnny Gaudreau has been stellar this season. He's the nation's leading scorer and has continued this trend throughout the NCAA tournament. He scored twice in the team's 4-3 victory against Massachusetts-Lowell in their previous matchup.
Despite giving up five goals in its last two games, Boston College's offense has been far too much to handle for opposing teams.
Union has been playing some great hockey of late as well.
Led by some stout goaltending and the surging Max Novak, Union has won by a combined five goals over its last two games.
Expect this to be an offensive battle that could come down to which team has the puck last. If that's the case, the smart money will be on Gaudreau and Co.
Speaking of offense, Minnesota has been on a tear.
Justin Kloos and Co. have recorded an impressive 11 goals over their last two games, while goalie Adam Wilcox remains stout in the net. Wilcox shut out St. Cloud State, making 24 saves to lead his team to the Frozen Four.
This team is firing on all cylinders and will be tough to beat.
MEN'S HOCKEY: UND, Minnesota will renew rivalry in the City of Brotherly Love http://t.co/7LP6XiCK9O— Grand Forks Herald (@gfherald) March 31, 2014
If anyone has a shot, however, it's North Dakota.
Riding some stellar goaltending from sophomore Zane Gothbert—who recorded a career-high 44 saves against Ferris State—the team has only allowed three goals in its past two games.
North Dakota will have to muster some additional offense if it is to keep up with high-octane Minnesota.
Both teams are solid on the defensive end, and this one should come down to which team can come away with more quality shots on goal. In this case, that will be Minnesota.