Saturday, March 29, 2008

Day 1 of the Tournament

Clarkson 2 St. Cloud 1
St. Cloud's great powerplay went 0-6, and the Huskies didn't have enough firepower to get things done at even strength. One defensive breakdown in the third period led to a Clarkson goal, and that was all she wrote for the Huskies.

Notre Dame 7 New Hampshire 3
I wasn't expecting 4 goals all game, let alone four in the first 20 minutes of play. The Irish finally got their marquee win, and were able to tack on a pair of empty-netters to make it look like a blowout.

Michigan 5 Niagara 1
After a slow first period, Michigan took control of the game in the second period, and Kevin Porter took control of the Hobey race with four goals on the night. Playing in Porter's shadow, non-Hobey finalist Chad Kolarik had four assists to move into 4th place in the national scoring race.

Michigan State 3 Colorado College 1
Jeff Lerg was the hero for the Spartans, making 41 saves. The Spartans were outshot 12-2 in the first period, but came out of the period tied at zero. MSU took the lead midway through the second, and put the dagger in the Tigers with two goals late in the second period.


Will St. Cloud ever win an NCAA tournament game?
No. This was probably as sweet a chance as they're going to get and as Husky radio announcer Don Lyons pointed out about 50 times during the third period of the game, the Huskies played much poorer in the tournament than they had all year. With the NCAA banning terrible sub-.500 teams like Wisconsin from the tournament starting next year, it's just hard to imagine who they would beat.

And if the knife wasn't in deep enough for Husky fans, I will point out that Mark Hartigan said he hoped Michigan would lose 8-0 in the tournament, and instead, it was his alma mater that went to 0-8 in the tournament.

OMG CCHA!!!!!!!
The CCHA is 3-0 after the first day of the tournament, and is now guaranteed at least a .500 record in the tournament, and at least one team in the Frozen Four coming out of the West regional. Does this mean the CCHA is officially "back" as a major player? Eh. I think it means their top four teams are all pretty good, which I think we already knew.

Again I say eh. The WCHA went 0-2 on the first day of the tournament, and a lot of people are going to use that to draw pretty sweeping conclusions about the quality of the conference. The fact is, I think the NCAA tournament isn't a very good format to show how strong the league is. Just about every conference can come up with a couple top-notch teams. The strength of the WCHA is in how excellent some of the lower teams in the conference were. If there was one thing the WCHA was lacking this year, it was top end talent. Colorado College won the WCHA regular season title, but still was only a two-seed.

Can Sparty do it again?
The people that read my previews can probably guess I wasn't surprised MSU won tonight against Colorado College. I think those that weren't familiar with MSU before tonight got a good chance to see why Michigan fans really, really didn't want MSU in their regional. If Jeff Lerg makes 40 saves a night, MSU could beat anybody.


Anonymous said...

Damn NCAA committee screwed the CCHA by putting two of their teams in the same region! If only they hadn't stacked the midwest with all WCHA teams to protect that league, we might have an all-CCHA frozen four!


Anonymous said...

Bachman picked a bad time for a slump. Three goals on twenty-three shots. Ouch!

Anonymous said...

I am all WCHA, but you have to admit, we SUCKED yesterday! We need to look in the mirror and right this ship. Go ND, DU, WI, MN!!!! One of you needs to get this done.

Pass the Puck said...

I agree, they should of tried to pread out conf. teams to get away from conf teams meeting to early. This was done to eliminate a repeat of the 2005 all WCHA Frozen 4

North Dakota will stop the CCHA anyway

Anonymous said...

Actually I think the sweetest chance SCSU could get to win an NCAA game is to put it on an olympic sheet of ice. It was painfully obvious between the F5 play-in game and yesterday that they just can't execute on the smaller rink, especially on the power play. Throw in an opponent that plays even a little bit physical and you have a recipe for disaster.

Jeff said...

Correction - Non-Hobey finalist Chad Kolarik had FIVE assists on the night.

Anonymous said...

Protecting the WCHA by putting 3 teams in region??? You're kind of missing the point here....If you go back to the year the WCHA had 4 teams at the Frozen four, since then they stack WCHA teams in the same region to prevent them from doing it again. Obviously this year, it wasn't going to matter anyways.....

Anonymous said...

What happened on Day Two. We are all anxiously awaiting your recap.

Anonymous said...

mankato would have done some damage if put up against any ccha teams. they were one of the wcha's best skating teams and the only reason minnesota beat them to make the final five was the fact that minnesota could hang on them the whole way down the ice then hit them from behind and take the puck while the guys femur is sticking out of his skin. wcha refs let a lot more go than east coast refs, not saying its a bad thing, but its a good reason why wcha teams having trouble staying out of the sin bin in the tourney.