Talk About March Sadness…
So your basketball bracket looks like a Christmas tree with all the red and green now doesn’t it? No need to worry, redeem yourself like I do every year trying to predict the Frozen Four. Yep, usually around this time I’ve given up on my basketball bracket and start anew with hockey. Does it ever work? Not really, but that still doesn’t stop me!
16 teams got the nod to play in this year’s national tournament including three teams from Hockey East. The 2018 Beanpot Champs Northeastern, 2018 Hockey East tournament champs BU, and Providence. The 2018 Hockey East regular season champs, BC, did not get in and going oh fer in non-conference play tends to do that.
The Overrated Team
Ok, how is Penn St. in this thing again? They finished 9-10-5 in the Big 10. That is god awful. They lost in the Big 10 semi-finals to the eventual champion Notre Dame and somehow still ended up 11th in the pairwise with an overall record of 18-14-5. The three teams tied at 16 (BC, Bowling Green, and Princeton) all had better records. Ultimately Princeton got the nod to get in out of those 3 but I’m still baffled as to how Penn St. is in. I’ll give you that Penn St. had some big wins over elite opponents, but they also lost to some questionable teams. They also played in arguably the toughest conference in the Big 10. Michigan, Notre Dame, and Ohio St. also got in and two of those teams are one seeds, while the other (Michigan) is a two seed. However; I don’t expect the Nittany Lions to even remotely sniff the Frozen Four this year.
The Underrated Team
Northeastern. Yep, the Huskies are the team to watch in this year’s tourney. I think they have a strong chance at getting to the Frozen Four if they stay hot. Adam Gaudette is an absolute stud and wouldn’t surprise me if he won the Hobey Baker award. Northeastern was ousted by Providence in the Hockey East semi-finals 3-2. The loss placed them 8th in the pairwise and got them a 3 seed in the Northeast bracket and a first round match up with Michigan. Do not be surprised if Northeastern handles a tough Michigan team and gets the W. If Cayden Primeau plays in net like he has all year, I think Northeastern will make a run.
The Frozen Four and Champion
My Frozen four are Notre Dame, Ohio St., Northeastern, and St. Cloud St. As for the Champion, even though I like this Northeastern team I still think they’re too young and they’d have to get past a tough Notre Dame team. I want to go with St. Cloud St. but I just don’t think they have the fire power to keep up with Ohio St. I have Ohio St. vs. Notre Dame in the title game and my inner BC fan in me wants to go with Ohio St. but I think Notre Dame is going to pull it out this year. They have maybe the best goalie in college hockey in Cale Morris and they’re looking for revenge from last year after reaching the Frozen Four and getting destroyed by eventual national champion Denver in the semi-final 6-1. This just might finally be the year for the Irish.
–Brian Berard (@RockyBerard)