— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) April 12, 2019
The National Championship is set and what a Frozen Four we have had the pleasure to watch up in Buffalo. The First game that took place last night was a matchup between the UMD Bulldogs and Providence Friars. The Bulldogs got the best of the Friars, scoring the game-winning goal halfway through the final period, to then win 4-1 with two empty netters to seal it. UMASS got here by beating a Denver team in a game that looked like someone was going to be in the box all game. In one of the more absurd games of hockey I’ve seen, especially taking in the fact it was a semifinals game, I always like when the refs don’t call anything crazy like that especially when they miss the most obvious one at the most crucial time. You just hate to have the refs play a big part in a big game.
Moving on from last nights games, if you are a fan of two teams committing to defense and doing anything to keep the puck out then this is the game for you. Both of these teams are in the top 5 for goals against average in the country, both being under 2 a game. Not only that, the Bulldogs are the grittiest team in college hockey, they have been in 14 straight one goal games not including empty nets and they have won the last 11 one game games they have played in. For a National Championship game where sticks may be gripped a little tight, Duluth is more than comfortable playing in tight games. What I like about UMASS in this tilt is that not only are they top 5 in goals against, but they’re also 3rd in the country in goals a game. The Minutemen play a very balanced game and they are just a team that looks like they have it all and that is why I see them winning this one. When I say they have it all I’m referring to UMASS also having the best powerplay in the country, which is really the reason they won the game last night converting 3 powerplay goals. Oh, their penalty kill is also top 5 in the nation and they will have the probable Hobey Baker winner, Cale Maker flying around making a difference.
It is going to be a true defensive battle tomorrow night in Buffalo, but there can only be one winner. Will the Minutemen of Massachusetts bring home their first Championship or will the Bulldogs out of Duluth pull off the repeat?