2017 Frozen Four: Rocky Mountain High?
College basketball crowned its champion, and now, Division I college hockey will do the same in the 2017 Frozen Four.
Denver, Harvard, Minnesota-Duluth, and Notre Dame are the last teams standing this season. One will take home a trophy as the new national champion.
There is no easy path to a title. Winning two games sounds so easy on paper (or on an LCD monitor). While the first, second, and third-ranked teams are all in Chicago for the Frozen Four, the consensus is that the Denver Pioneers are the slight favorites. Will the NCHC get another team in the winner’s circle?
2017 Frozen Four: 1 Denver vs. Notre Dame
The Pioneers are scoring 3.40 goals per game, but it’s their goaltending and defense that make the difference. Denver and their goalie, Tanner Jaillet, are one of only two teams allowing under two goals per game. Scoring goals on this team is not going to be easy, even for Notre Dame, putting up a respectable 3.26 goals per game. Defense wins championships, or so they say.
When it comes to the Irish, they also have respectable goaltending behind Cal Petersen. As the numbers go, while Notre Dame is good, Denver is better. There’s also a sense that they, extremely consistent as they are, may be this year’s “team of destiny.” The problem for Denver is that statistics don’t determine victories.
- Denver: seeking 8th national championship all-time
- Denver: 16th Frozen Four appearance
- Notre Dame: seeking first national championship in program history
- Notre Dame: final weekend in Hockey East Association
2017 Frozen Four: 2 Minnesota-Duluth vs. 3 Harvard
This is going to be a hell of a hockey game. Both Duluth and Harvard have been consistent all season long, and in the case of the Crimson, they have a very powerful offense that will keep the Bulldogs on their toes. As a matter of fact, Harvard’s 2.00 goal per game differential is the best in Division I.
Minnesota-Duluth are the champions of the NCHC, if not the best conference in college hockey, then in the top two. They fought their way through a brutal league, and that has to count for something. They’ve been about as good as Denver all year, and the two could meet for the whole bag of marbles.
As for Harvard, they will be a tough out. The Crimson have only lost five games this season, and none since January. In fact, Harvard is on a 16-game win streak. Can’t get much hotter than the Crimson are now.
- UMD: Seeking second national championship (first in 2011)
- UMD: Fifth Frozen Four appearance
- Harvard: Seeking second national championship (first in 1989)
- Harvard: First Frozen Four appearance since 1994 (13th overall)