Saturday, March 28, 2009

Holy Buckets

I can say with absolute certainty that this is the most unbelievable hockey tournament I've ever seen and it's only the second day. To recap thusfar:

-3 #1 seeds are out.
-3 #2 seeds are out.
-The only remaining #2 was down 4-2 with 40 seconds left in regulation. They scored with .8 seconds left to send the game into overtime.
-That wasn't even the latest a goal was scored to send a game to OT as UNH popped one in against North Dakota with .1 second left and won in OT.
-Cornell scored with 18 seconds left in regulation to beat Northeastern.
-A game was won in double OT on a shot that went through the net.
-The Frozen Four will definitely contain Vermont, will very possibly contain Miami, and either Bemidji State or Cornell will be there. I'd say BU must be laughing their butts off, but Vermont beat them 2 out of 3 this year if I'm not mistaken.

At least it wasn't just us. Hard to believe that three of the hottest teams in the nation, conference tournaments aside (Michigan, Notre Dame, and North Dakota) are out in the first round.

Aside from my pick of Miami over Denver, I can't think of one thing that I actually got right about all this. I didn't like any upsets. I really thought it was going to be four 1 vs. 2 games (though I was shaky on Denver and picked Miami to be different) and that there was a very real chance that we could see four #1 seeds in the Frozen Four. I thought Jordan Pearce should win the Hobey (which would be out the window after today's performance, rest of the season not withstanding). Shows what I know...

I'm absolutely shocked that Notre Dame not only lost, but got flat out dominated by the Beavers. That was just a flat out beatdown. Pearce gave up some awful, awful goals. Where the hell was that last week?

It might be frustrating if you're the team getting upset, but how can you not love the one-and-done format after the weekend of hockey that we've seen thusfar?

One last thought: I'm pretty impressed with the attendance in Bridgeport tonight. I honestly thought there would be 8 people there with Yale and Michigan out.

And as much as I make fun of Miami, as much as I like to poke fun about the dynasty column, and as much as I wanted to laugh in Rico's face if they missed the tourney, I'd be pretty happy to see them off to the Frozen Four. They're 9 minutes away right now. They'd be more likeable if Ryan Jones was still there (really, really nice kid...met him in Denver last year), but it's still nice to see one CCHA team carrying the banner since Michigan and Notre Dame puked all over their skates and OSU might as well have just bent over and grabbed their ankles from the get-go. Just don't win the thing. I still want to be able to crack on the whole dynasty deal. There really could be a national semifinal between Miami and Bemidji State. WTF?

13 comments:

Becky said...

I was surprised by how delighted I was to see Miami win! Shocked, of course, especially as they couldn't even make it to the Joe, but good for them on their first Frozen Four appearance!

(Seriously, last week if you had said that Miami would make the Frozen Four, and Michigan and ND wouldn't, I would have laughed my ass off at you.)

And that VT-AF game was pretty cool, too, although I was kind of rooting for Air Force.

Craziest tournament ever. Wow. It's actually kind of cool to see that the level of play has gone up, and the Atlantic and CHA auto-bids aren't pushovers.

(On an attendance note, I can't imagine many people showing up in Grand Rapids tomorrow for Bemidji St.-Cornell.)

bluetell said...

my roommate and i have been following the tourney as much as possible without espnu and as insane as yesterdays and this afternoons games were, the bemidji game and the vermont goal have just blow my mind. i cannot believe either of those things happened. much less that they both happened on top of the insane amount of upsets.

so let me try to get this straight. BEMIDJI STATE...BLEW OUT NOTRE DAME. WHAT! and vermont beat air force in a 2OT game on a goal that went THROUGH THE NET. WHAT!!!

think about this for a second: the most normal, sane game of the tournament was an 8-3 game that featured 2 empty net goals

i cant take it

MGoBlue93 said...

Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with getting "dominated by beavers"

Anonymous said...

Tim,

Is Bemidji State's upset of Notre Dame the greatest upset in NCAA hockey tournament history?

If not, what is?

Anton Straub said...

I think "one and done" in NCAA hockey is stupid. Unlike basketball, which assures that each team will score at least 25 "goals", hockey has very few scores. It results in more fluke wins. A two of three series would minimize--but not eliminate flukes. Is the frozen Four really better by not having Michigan,Notre Dame, and Denver? It is a joke. One and done does not measure who is the better team.

Brad said...

Anton,

If you can't appreciate the craziness of this year you must be no fun at parties. Yes, the best team is often not the champion, but there's nothing more edge-of-the-seat than the NCAA hockey tourney.

Anon,

IMO, I still think Holy Cross over Minnesota in 2006 is bigger. It's close, but Bemidji proved themselves again today. They outplayed Cornell and are not a fluke. HC was a solid team but was soundly beaten by North Dakota in the second round in '06. And that Minnesota team was loaded with 1st round NHL draft picks.

We were literally 1 goal from Bemidji and Air Force in the Frozen Four. Crazy!!

Becky said...

Also, I think Holy Cross over Minnesota was a bigger upset, because it was the first big upset like that in the tournament. Every year, the #4 seeds in the tournament have been getting better and better, which is good for college hockey.

Question for all of you, though: In the VT-AF game, they didn't review Lawson's shot until a break in play, about two minutes after the shot. What would they have done if Air Force had score in the interim?

And having watched several tournament games, I'd swear that the CCHA refs are overall worse than the refs from other conferences. Anyone else get that sense? Or am I just unbiased when watching a non-Michigan game?

Packer487 said...

@Anon:
That's a really good question. I've only followed college hockey as closely as I do since I first set foot in Yost for the 00-01 season. I still think Holy Cross over Minnesota would be #1 (at least in the last decade...I don't know if there were any great ones in the past) but you could definitely make a case for BSU here.

I think the Holy Cross one might have been more shocking because it was the first time we had really seen something like that happen. BSU was on the heels of a crazy first day in the tournament. Michigan loses to Air Force, a team scores twice in the last 40 seconds of regulation, Yale goes down, another #1 seed goes down...why not have the Beavers take out Notre Dame.

But surely BSU making the Frozen Four is one of the great stories in the history of college hockey.

@Anton:
As it is, in the Frozen Four you've got the best team in the nation (BU) and maybe the best story in all the sports world at the moment (Bemidji State). Honestly, I think having Bemidji in the FF is better for the sport than having Notre Dame there. Would it help to have Michigan there instead of Vermont? Probably. But I don't think there's anything wrong with big name teams getting upset.

Does it make March Madness stupid when Louisville, Duke and some of the other big boys get knocked out? I don't think so. And I don't think it hurt when George Mason made it a few years back. Honestly, these upsets revitalized my interest in the tournament once Michigan got knocked out. It's been phenomenal.

Think about this:
"Muckalt shot...Morrison SCORES!!!!!! The Wolverines have taken a one game to none lead over Colorado College in the best of three series!"

Doesn't have the same ring to it.

UNH scores with a tenth of a second left in regulation. Is it better if that saves their season or simply gives them a chance to win game one?

To me, the NCAA hockey tournament is the most exciting thing in sports. And I think right now we're seeing arguably the greatest tournament ever. This year has had EVERYTHING.

Packer487 said...

@Becky:

Had Air Force scored, we would've seen the absolute definition of "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat".

It would've probably been one of the biggest emotional swings we have ever seen in sports. One team goes and piles on their goalie thinking they're bound for the Frozen Four. Then they look at the replay. The team that thought they were done extends their season and the team that though they had pulled it off is done.

Then you've got the fans in the crowd. Maybe everyone assumes they're looking at the Air Force goal. The ref points to center ice. Everyone celebrates...but wait...he's pointing for VERMONT?!

As thrilling as that would have been, I'm not sure I'd wish that on any team or their fans. Except maybe Minnesota. Then I'd make sure it ended up on YouTube :)

MGoBlue93 said...

Becky... that has actually happened in the NHL before; not in overtime though.

I don't know the college rule but in the NHL, after the first stoppage in play, even if that stoppage is the "second" goal, if the refs decide the "first" goal was indeed a goal, then there is a face off at center ice and the clock is reset to the time of the first goal. Anything after that time never happened.

I've actually seen a powerplay taken away that way. One team scored but play doesn't stop. They take a penalty and as the other team gets ready to go on the powerplay, the refs review & rule a goal. Since the penalty happened after the score but before the first whistle, the penalty never happened.

Brad said...

Tim,

I've been following the NCAA hockey tourney closely since I was a sophomore in 1992. Until now, I think the craziest tournament was 1998, interestingly enough.

That was when the tournament was still 12 teams, but the 2 top seeds in the east and west were eliminated in their first games. #1 overall MSU was eliminated by the #4 seed Ohio State in a memorable OT game at Yost. OSU made their first and only Frozen Four appearance. Meanwhile, East #1 BU lead by Hobey winner Chris Drury was eliminated in OT by #5 seed New Hampshire.

Defending national champ North Dakota, a favorite to repeat as NCAA champs, was of course eliminated by heavy underdog Michigan in the most incredible game I've ever seen at Yost. This was a day after UM needed a fluke Mark Kosick goal to defeat #6 seed Princeton.

So 2 young teams in BC and Michigan ended up meeting for the title, and we all know what happened there. Until now, that was the wildest tournament I can recall, but this one has blown it away.

Becky said...

Thanks for the explanation, guys!

Cheap Florida Panthers Tickets said...

I watched several tournament games, I'd swear that the CCHA refs are overall worse than the refs from other conferences