Saturday, March 25, 2006

David Slays Goliath

Holy Cross pulled off probably the biggest upset in tournament history last night, downing the overall No. 2 seed Minnesota 4-3 in overtime. Tyler MacGregor scored only 53 seconds into overtime for the Crusaders, who also received stellar play in goal from Tony Quesada. Some Gopher players looked as though they may have been out at Blarney's before the game, including goalie Kellen Briggs, who allowed one of his four goals against after giving up on the play thinking it had been blown dead. Holy Cross will now have a shot at North Dakota, who downed Michigan 5-1 last night, with a trip to the Frozen Four on the line.

In other games, Boston College surprised many with a 5-0 win over Miami. Enrico Blasi also surprised many in this game by pulling his goalie with almost half a period left to play. The Eagles added two empty net goals. Boston College will move on to play Boston University, who crushed Nebraska-Omaha 9-2. It was not a good night for the CCHA, who's three teams (Michigan, Miami, UNO) went 0-3 against teams from the WCHA and Hockey East. The last surviving team, Michigan State, will play New Hampshire tonight in Albany.

The Tigers make their tournament debut tonight against Cornell of the ECAC. This game should be similar to the games that Colorado College played against St. Cloud State in the WCHA playoffs - Cornell's offense is somewhat lacking, but the defense has kept them in games this year. In net for the Big Red will be David McKee, who had a stellar season last year, but has seemingly fallen off a cliff this year in terms of stats. While his .904 save percentage and 2.16 GAA are not bad numbers, they aren't close to his numbers of last season: a .947 save percentage and 1.24 GAA. CC has yet to play a game since their 3-1 loss to St. Cloud State in the playoffs and few know what to expect from the Tigers. The dynamic duo of Marty Sertich and Brett Sterling, along with the rest of a very strong senior class have their last chance to bring a national championship back to Colorado Springs. The game being in Green Bay will undoubtedly help CC, who should receive support from the hometown Badger fans against Cornell. I'd love to do more analysis of this matchup, but if I've learned anything from watching college hockey, it's that statistics and percentages are all thrown out the window come game time - the game is played on the ice, not on computers. So this game, which should be close, will probably just come down to which team is hot and which team is not. Let's hope the Tigers are hot coming off their two week break.

There are some other notable games worth watching tonight as well. First, the rematch between Maine and Harvard. Maine spoiled Harvard's tournament chances two years ago with a 5-4 comeback win over the Crimson, who had been up 4-1 in the third period. Another interesting game will be between familiar foes Boston University and Boston College (in Worcester). The Terriers look unstoppable after their 9-2 drubbing of Nebraska-Omaha last night, but the Eagles silenced many doubters with their 5-0 win over a very highly ranked Miami team. I think it will also be very interesting to see what Holy Cross can do against a Fighting Sioux team that has the entire arena behind them. Could get ugly. Hopefully Holy Cross can keep the game close and maybe even steal one (don't hold your breath) - everyone would love to see an AHA team in the Frozen Four.


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