Monday, 19 March 2007

Frozen Four Time, Baby!

The NCAA's version of the playoffs starts on March 23rd. The Frozen Four features the top sixteen Division-One NCAA hockey teams vying for college hockey supremacy. The top four seeds in this year's tournament are: (1) the Minnesota Golden Gophers (30-9-3); (2) the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (31-6-3); (3) the Clarkson Golden Knights (25-8-5); and (4) the New Hampshire Wildcats (26-10-2). As much as I like the competition of the Frozen Four, I am a huge fan of the Frozen Four Skills Competition that runs during the Division-One Men's Championship. It is a showcase of the top talent at the collegiate level, and features the next wave of potential NHL talent.

The Skills Competition will take place on April 6th at the Scottrade Centre in St. Louis. The competition will be conducted in an East versus West format with each team having six male position players, six female position players, two male goaltenders and two female goaltenders. An alternate list has been established in the event that players have to withdraw from the competition due to other commitments, such as their team's participation in the men's Frozen Four.

To be eligible, all players must have exhausted their collegiate eligibility and be nominated by their head coach. Players were selected by representatives from the American Hockey Coaches Association, the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Committee and the National Youth Sports Corporation.

The competitions will include puck control relay, fastest skater, hardest shot, rapid-fire shooting, accuracy shooting and penalty shot. Each competitor will receive a complete set of equipment and a full uniform from Nike Bauer Hockey.

This is a little different from the pro leagues because the NHL Skills Competition in that the NHL players wear their team's jersey. The AHL is the same. However, the NCAA's competitors will be wearing these jerseys in this year's competition.

The men's portion of the East squad is highlighted by the one of the nation's current leading goaltenders, John Curry of Boston University. The other goaltender is Jason Smith from Sacred Heart. The six male skaters on the East squad include Kyle Bozoian, Fredonia State; Reid Cashman, Quinnipiac; Kirk MacDonald, Rensselaer; Jacob Micflikier, New Hampshire; Mike Morris, Northeastern; and Andrew Ramsey, Air Force.

The women on the East squad include Crystal Connors, St. Lawrence; Kristin Gigliotti, Providence; Cara Hendry, Boston U.; Natalie Vibert, Connecticut; Lindsay Williams, Clarkson; and Sheila Zingler, Yale. The goalies will be Melissa Bourdon, New Hampshire, and Jana Bugden, Providence.

The West team is loaded with three of the nation's top 10 scorers: Michigan 's T.J. Hensick, Nebraska-Omaha's Scott Parse and Niagara's Sean Bentivoglio. Also on the West squad will be Lars Helminen, Michigan Tech; Aaron Johnson, Augsburg; and Andrew Joudrey, Wisconsin. The West goaltenders will be Notre Dame's David Brown, who is currently leading the nation in goals against average, and Lake Superior State's Jeff Jakaitis.

The women's portion of the West roster includes Wisconsin's Sara Bauer, who is one of the nation's top five scorers. Also on the team are Julia Colizza, Mercyhurst; Kelly Hart, Bemidji State; Noemie Marin, Minnesota-Duluth; Sammy Miller, Minnesota State; and Maggie Souba, Minnesota. The two female goaltenders will be Riitta Schaublin, Minnesota-Duluth, and Erika Vanderveer, Ohio State.

The full Division-One men's bracket is available here. I'm going to try and catch as much of the Frozen Four as possible as there is always drama in a win-or-go-home tournament. Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I am following the U of W Badgers, does anyone know how I can get this weekends games on tv?