2012 Frozen Four - Semifinal Results - Thursday, April 5.
Semifinal #1 - Ferris State 3 Union 1.
Semifinal #2 - Boston College 6 Minnesota 1.
(Guess Vanek and/or Leopold are buying Gerbe "dinner".)
Championship - Saturday, April 7.
Ferris State vs Boston College.
7:00 pm ET - LIVE - ESPN2 - ESPN3.com/WatchESPN.com
Announcers - Gary Thorne, Clay Matvick and Barry Melrose.
LaxSabres Pick: Boston College - 4-2.
Only conflict with the game is if you plan on watching the Rangers-Capitals on
NBCSN/Canes-Panthers on ??? - to see who gets the top spot in the Southeast
Division - or just so you can scream at the Caps or Panthers or both teams
knowing that one of those two teams shouldn't be in and the Sabres should!
My conflict will be attending the Bandits game - (heck, theres another Buffalo sports
team who could miss the playoffs and even worse - only one team doesn't make it!)
so I'll be recording the college game to watch when I get home - Go Boston College!
Jack Connolly didn’t spend much time this season thinking about winning the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s most outstanding player.
He was more focused on helping Minnesota-Duluth get back to the Frozen Four and winning a second consecutive NCAA championship than impressing voters on the Hobey Baker committee.
Connolly’s quest to lead his hometown Bulldogs to another title fell short, but his outstanding senior season did not go unnoticed.
Connolly, a 5-foot-8, 160-pound center, was selected as the 2012 Hobey Baker Award winner on Friday during ceremonies at MacDill Air Force base. He beat nine other nominees, including two other finalists — forward Austin Smith of Colgate and forward Spencer Abbott of Maine.
“It’s pretty incredible. I would have liked to have been down here with my teammates and still playing,’’ Connolly said. “To win this, it’s just as much my teammates’ as it is mine. There were a huge part of this.
“My heart was racing. It was pretty much pounding out of my chest and when I heard my name, I kind of settled down but then became a little emotional,’’ he said of the countdown to announcing the winner. “Just to hear my name, it’s a feeling that’s pretty much unexplainable.’’
Connolly was a top 10 Hobey Baker finalist last season, when the Bulldogs won their first NCAA title with a dramatic 3-2 overtime victory against Michigan.
This year, Connolly was the second-leading scorer in the nation with 20 goals and 41 assists for 61 points and was selected as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s Player of the Year and to the NCAA All-America First Team.
Of the schools in contention, it is Holy Cross’ ability to excel in diverse facets that make it a prime candidate over other possible suitors. Holy Cross’ geographical location, access to big-time facilities and its academic reputation provide what Hockey East is searching for in an expansion program.
Geographically, Holy Cross is in the perfect location. Outside of Maine, Vermont and (soon) Notre Dame, which are lengthy trips for every Hockey East team, Holy Cross is within 50 miles of seven of the other eight current league members. The same can’t be said for other contenders, including the University of Connecticut, which has been rumored to be the top choice for a 12th school.
UConn’s next closest game after Providence College (just more than 50 miles) would be Boston College (just less than 80 miles). Although this may seem insignificant, Holy Cross’ proximity allows its students and fans to travel to away games with ease. Graduates of Holy Cross are prominent in the city of Boston and eager to support the Crusaders at Boston-area Hockey East schools. With these regional ties, Holy Cross likely will draw a crowd and boost ticket sales.
On a competitive level, Holy Cross took down the formerly No. 1 team in the nation, BU, by a score of 5-4, and the Crusaders are 2-1 against Hockey East teams in the past two season. Hockey fans are still talking about the Crusaders’ upset of No. 1 Minnesota in the 2006 NCAA West Regional.
The city of Worcester, Mass., supports the idea of Holy Cross playing its Hockey East games at the DCU Center, which is located only two miles from the campus. However, Hockey East would like to see UConn play its games at the Hartford XL Center, which is more than 25 miles from the Storrs, Conn., campus. The students will not show. The students don’t attend games now at the relatively new (built 1998) Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum on their own campus.
College Hockey News reports that Holy Cross has an average 77.8 percent capacity in its rink, compared with UConn’s insubstantial 37.5 percent.
Holy Cross is a sure thing. Reaching beyond Holy Cross to add UConn as its 12th team in the league is a gamble for Hockey East. UConn fans love their basketball. When Jim Calhoun’s or Geno Auriemma’s teams take the basketball floor for a game on the same night as a UConn hockey game, where do you think the fans will go?
Simply put, Massachusetts is a hockey mad state, and Worcester is a big part of that. Youth hockey players and, more importantly to this topic, youth fans of the game are strongly concentrated in the Worcester area. The six-rink mega-complex in the neighboring town of Marlboro is a mecca of youth hockey in New England.
Finally, the addition of Holy Cross would renew its history rivalry with its Jesuit counterpart, Boston College. However, the intriguing league matchups do not end there. New Catholic-school rivalries with Providence, Merrimack, and new member Notre Dame could be staple games. The possibility of a Beanpot-like tournament among the Catholic schools in the conference could be a highly successful Hockey East event. A four-team tournament with a five-team rotation. The consolation game now takes on a whole new meaning. Winner stays, loser of the consolation game has to sit out a year. Ticket and merchandise sales would be huge in the event-driven city of Boston. The most lasting rivalries are with the teams that are the most similar and in the closest proximity; the brotherly rivalry.
It’s advantages like that that fill seats and make Holy Cross a natural for Hockey East.