Friday, 23 March 2012

Frozen Four Updates

I had been waiting to see what the University of North Dakota men's hockey team would wear for their game against Western Michigan tomorrow, and we have that answer. The image above, taken by Bruce Brothers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, shows Danny Kristo in the chosen design that the UND Fighting Sioux will wear for the NCAA Men's Hockey Tournament. Because UND is the fourth-seed in the tournament, they do get to be the home team in St. Paul this weekend.

The jersey certainly has an old-time feel to it, but they are anything but old. Reebok, in fact, actually had these jerseys available for UND at the start of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five, but UND waited to unveil them in case they didn't qualify for the NCAA tournament. UND has three uniforms made in this style - white, green, and black - but they are only wearing the white uniforms this weekend because of their seeding. If they do qualify for the Frozen Four in Tampa Bay this year, expect to see the other two jerseys flying to TeeBay.

Oh, and the cost for UND to participate in the tournament in these new uniforms? $21,000 according to Patrick Swanson, the team's director of operations. If they win, it will certainly be worth the money.

As for games tonight, the thirteenth-seeded University of Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks appeared to have everything under control against the seventh-seeded University of Miami (Ohio) Red Hawks, but the third period proved that the RedHawks were anything but pushovers. Down 3-0 to open the period, the RedHawks threw everything they had at UMass-Lowell, including two goals in 14 seconds, and suddenly the game was tied 3-3. UMass-Lowell defenceman Jake Suter, son of former NHLer Gary Suter, took a five-minute major for checking from behind with 3:35 remaining in the third period, and the once-confident River Hawks were in tough against the Miami Red Hawks. Thanks to goaltending heroics of Doug Carr, though, the game advanced to the overtime period. And just 2:13 into overtime, UMass-Lowell captain Riley Wetmore scored his second of the night to end the dramatic game and give the tournament its first upset!

In other scores, the third-ranked Union Dutchmen played a style that Jacques Lemaire would have been proud of in stifling the fifteenth-ranked Michigan State Spartans. While EPSN anchor John Buccigross' son plays for the Dutchmen, the real story was Jeremy Welsh as he had a goal - his 26th of the season - and an assist to lead the way for the Dutchmen in a 3-1 victory. The Spartans only managed 21 shots, and never had more than eight in a period as the Dutchmen showed a commitment to the defensive game unlike most other teams in this tournament.

The ninth-ranked Ferris State Bulldogs of the CCHA struggled to get past the tenth-ranked, and injury-riddled, Denver Pioneers on Friday. Goaltender Sam Brittain of the Pioneers was excellent, but the injuries certainly took their toll on the offence. The Bulldogs managed a 2-1 win over Denver, including defenceman Simon Denis' first NCAA goal, to send the Pioneers back to Colorado empty-handed. Ferris State got goals from Jordie Johnston and Denis while Denver's Drew Shore had the lone goal for the Pioneers.

The final game on Friday featured the second-ranked Michigan Wolverines playing against the fourteenth-ranked Cornell Big Red. Michigan may have underestimated the Big Red as the Wolverines found themselves down 2-1 after 40 minutes of play in this game. Big Red did a good job in clogging up scoring lanes and not letting the Wolverines skate as freely as they could, but the game itself was more of a yawner because of this style of play. Kevin Lynch, however, evened the score with 4:01 to play in the game, and it was almost certain that we'd be seeing more overtime. The Big Red got a big goal from Rodger Craig, who had played in only 15 games this season, when he knocked a rebound past Shawn Hunwick to give Cornell the 3-2 victory, and the second upset in the tournament.

There are six games on Saturday, including one that feature the new-look University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux:

  • #4 UND Fighting Sioux play #12 Western Michigan Broncos at 1:30 ET.
  • #1 Boston College Eagles play #16 Air Force Falcons at 4:00 ET.
  • #6 Minnesota Golden Gophers play #8 Boston University Terriers at 5:00 ET.
  • #3 Union Dutchmen play #13 UMass-Lowell River Hawks at 6:30 ET.
  • #5 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs play #11 Maine Black Bears at 7:30 ET.
  • #9 Ferris State Bulldogs play #14 Cornell Big Red at 9:00 ET.
HBIC will update the NCAA Frozen Four tournament this week, so stay tuned for all your NCAA stories as we follow the best collegiate hockey on the planet.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

No comments: