Monday, April 10, 2006

Final Frozen Four Thoughts

We've come to the end of another successful Frozen Four and another great season of college hockey. This was Western College Hockey's first season covering college hockey and I think it went very well. I'll consider this the last regular season post and then we'll move onto offseason stuff.

The theme of the final game to me was that of Wisconsin taking advantage of their opportunities, while BC did not. There were some complaints abotu Wisconsin's Jack Skille taking a dive to draw a penalty that led to Tom Gilbert's game-winning powerplay goal. But if you check back on the live blog, just a few minutes prior to Skille drawing that penalty, a BC did a similiar thing to draw a penalty. Of the two, I thought the BC player's dive was more embellished. Wisconsin took advantage of their powerplay. BC did not.

It may not have been fair that BC had to play essentially a road game at the Bradley Center. Then again, when I traveled to Boston for the 2004 Frozen Four, you would have never guessed BC was the home team just by looking at the crowd. Wisconsin took advantage of their proximity to the Frozen Four. BC did not.

BC deserves a lot of credit for making it as far as they did. They're a testament to how far opportunism and great goaltending can get you. If it weren't for an amazing effort by a great Wisconsin team, they may have even walked out of their with a national title.

The most amazing stat of the game to me was Boston College only managing 5 shots in the third period. Wisconsin scored the go-ahead goal with about half the period left to play. You would have expected BC to come back with a flurry of shots as they desperately tried to tie it up, but Wisconsin's defense was so good that they didn't let anything get through to Brian Elliott. That was one of the more impressive defensive performances that you're going to see.

Other people had some thoughts on the championship game as well.

We'll start with the victors. Wisconsin Hockey Blog

was rightfully elated.

Colorado College Hockey did an excellent job covering the Frozen Four. Here was their take on the final game.

Fledgling Mav Hockey Nation also gave credit to the Badgers.

Goon's World had mixed emotions about Wisconsin winning.

And finally, to transition us into the offseason, UAA Hockey Fan Blog has a poignant piece on the wait until next season.


Bruce Ciskie said...


I'm glad you picked up on the SOG issue. I've seen that a few times this season, and it always impresses me to see a team playing from ahead put the clamp on another team to the point where they can't get any shots on goal.

Very impressive work by Bucky.

Chris said...

Thanks Bruce.

In my mind, that was the biggest reason for Wisconsin's success this season. When I saw them play in November against Michigan, Michigan could not get the puck through to the net at all. Everything was blocked by the defenseman. When they played at Mankato, they weren't blocking those shots. It seemed like everything was getting through to the goalie, and I think we all know how that series turned out.

They really got back to playing that tough defensive style after that weekend though, and when they played that way, nobody was going to beat them. It's probably a testament to them being an experience veteran team that they could lose it like that, but still be able to regroup and pull things together at the end.

Goon said...

Sad the Sioux lost, happy that a WCHA team won the NCAA title. Wisconsin was due, good for them. I hope we can have a another good season of hockey like this last season.

Badger Backer said...

vThanks for the nice words. To be honest I was pretty surprised with the turnaround from the Mankato series. I wrote a "meltdown" piece just after that about how the season was going in the tank.

The team must have read it, been energized, and turned things around.

So there you have it.

Wisconsin Hockey Blog: Key to the National Championship

Goon said...

The Key to a national title is Defense and Goaltending, the Badgers had both add timely goals and its a perscription for success.

David said...

I have to disagree on the diving issue. I attended teh Frozen Four and have watched the Badgers play on several occassions this year. The 2 aspects of their play that have stood out are how well they play in front of their own net and their 4-6 dives per game. On the Skille penalty, eh actually jumped forward as he grabbed the defenseman's stick. Then 2 BC players get hauled down in front of the Badger net and no call. One of the worst officiated college hockey games I have watched in a while. Very disappointing. I will say that BC could have been given 20 PPs and not scored as bad as their PP was. Let's not raise the Badgers too high on the mantle. They were given home ice for the whole NCAAs and they took advantage of it. Good for them. Luck for them as well as i doubt they would have won it at a neutral site.

Anonymous said...

goon, Elliott wasn't challenged the WHOLE game. I don't know how you could say Elliott was the sole reason why they won, maybe because because Parise played so horribly so that was the difference from the semifinal?