College Hockey Slap Schotts: My picks for future Frozen Four sites
Last week, the NCAA announced the 10 cities who are finalists to host the NCAA tournament Frozen four from 2015 to 2018. Four of the cities will be fortunate enough to host the best four teams in college hockey.
Who do I like to get the Frozen Fours, and who has no chance at all? Here is my breakdown and predictions.
Two cities from my home state of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, made the cut. However, as much I want to support my home state, and my home town of Philadelphia in particular, I don’t believe they will make the cut.
The reason they won’t make it is because it’s way too soon for them to get another chance to host. Pittsburgh hosted its first Frozen Four last year. Philadelphia will host its first Frozen Four in April. You need a few years to step back and see how well those cities did. When the next round of bidding takes place for 2019 and beyond, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh should be in the mix again.
Not terribly excited
I have never been to Columbus, Ohio, so I will try my best not to knock the town, especially since two of my former colleagues at the York Daily Record, Rusty Miller and Bill Rabinowitz, work and live there.
To me, Columbus lives and breathes Ohio State football. Yes, the city does have an NHL team with the Blue Jackets, but it’s Buckeyes football that rules the culture there.
Columbus has hosted a Frozen Four before, in 2005. But that was on the Ohio State campus. This time, it will be at Nationwide Arena, home of the Blue Jackets. Will it make a difference? Probably not.
Brooklyn, for the first time, and Washington, for the second time, are in the mix.
Washington’s Verizon Center hosted the memorable 2009 Frozen Four, with Boston University rallied to win the championship over Miami (Ohio) with two late third-period goals to tie it and scoring in overtime to win it. There is plenty to do in town, and it is a hockey hotbed thanks to the Capitals.
The Barclay Center in Brooklyn put in the bid to bring the Frozen Four to the New York City area. The arena is home to the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and, in two years, will be home to the NHL’s New York Islanders.
Bringing the Frozen Four to New York would definitely give college hockey plenty of exposure. The one drawback to having a Frozen Four at the Barclay Center is that it is inexperienced with hosting hockey games. And the building’s capacity for hockey may be a bit small for the NCAA. When the Islanders hosted the New Jersey Devils in a preseason game in September, the official seating capacity will be 15,813.
If you want an arena that has experience in hosting hockey events, Madison Square Garden should have but the bid in. MSG plays host the Boston University-Cornell matchups, and will host a game between Harvard and Yale this season. And with the recent refurbishing, there are plenty of seats to be sold.
Boston (TD Garden), Buffalo (First Niagara Center), St. Paul, Minn. (Xcel Energy Center) and Tampa (Tampa Bay Times Forum) have hosted Frozen Fours. Chicago’s United Center has not.
From experience, I enjoyed my time in Tampa in 2012. The arena was right across the street from the hotel. There is plenty to do around the arena. And the weather was very, very, very nice.
For fans in the Capital Region, they can drive to Boston and Buffalo. Obviously, St. Paul and the Minnesota fan base will make going to the Xcel Energy Center fun. And while Chicago hasn’t hosted a Frozen Four, hockey has never been hotter in the Second City than it is now, thanks to the Blackhawks winning Stanley Cups in 2010 and this past season.
So, what cities are my picks to host Frozen Fours from 2015 to 2018?
2015 — Boston. The city hasn’t hosted a Frozen Four since 2004. It’s their turn. And, even though it is on short notice, the organizers won’t have a hard time getting things prepared.
2016 — Chicago. The hockey fans will embrace it. One thing should be mandatory: Jim Cornelison must sing the National Anthem before each game.
2017 — St. Paul. Even though it means coming back to the Midwest for a second straight year, no one will mind it because it’s a hockey-mad area. Heck, the Frozen Four is in Pennsylvania for two straight years. St. Paul last hosted the Frozen Four in 2011.
2018 — Tampa Bay. I thought everyone did a great job in hosting it in 2012. They deserve another one.
When you’re coaching, you’re are either watching what is happening on the ice or talking to your players.
But there is a hazard to the job. St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel learned that Saturday night when his Saints face Brown at Meehan Auditorium. Carvel was hit in the left eye by a puck during the first period. He did return to the game.
Monday, Carvel tweeted a picture of what he looks like. I must warn you, it’s not pretty. If you want to look at it, click here
Nice win, but...
The Union women’s hockey team ended its 30-game ECAC Hockey winless skid Friday with a 3-0 win over Dartmouth. The Dutchwomen went 0-26-4 since their last league win, a 2-1 triumph over Yale on Jan. 21, 2012.
The Dutchwomen have yet to make their playoffs in their first 10 years of existence. Can they finally do it this year? They can, but they must beat the teams that they are on par with. That hasn’t happened in past seasons. They never seem to have enough offense to get the job done. Even in the win over Dartmouth, the Dutchwomen didn’t have a shot on goal in the third period. That just can’t happen.
If the Dutchwomen can’t beat those teams that are on their level, then it will be another playoff-less year for them.
RPI steady in one poll, down in another
RPI remains 10th in the USCHO.com/NCAA hockey poll on Monday, but dropped from 10th to 13th in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.
The Engineers (1-1-1 ECAC Hockey, 5-2-1 overall) went 1-1-1 in three games last week. They tied Harvard, 3-3, Tuesday at Houston Field House, lost to the Crimson, 2-0, in Friday’s rematch at Bright Hockey Center and beat Dartmouth, 7-1, Saturday at Thompson Arena.
Union (2-0 ECACH, 3-2-2 overall) earned 30 points in the USCHO poll, third most among other teams receiving votes. It also got eight points in the USA Today poll. The Dutchmen opened ECACH play by beating Dartmouth, 7-2, Friday, and downing Harvard, 4-2, Saturday.
Team (First Place Votes) Record Points Last Poll
1 Minnesota (50) 5- 0-1 1000 1
2 Michigan 6- 1-1 900 4
3 St. Cloud State 5- 0-1 824 9
4 Notre Dame 6- 2-0 804 2
5 Quinnipiac 8- 1-0 791 7
6 Providence 5- 1-1 784 3
7 Miami 5- 2-1 777 6
8 Boston College 4- 2-1 695 8
9 Yale 2- 1-1 513 11
10 RPI 5- 2-1 486 10
11 North Dakota 2- 3-1 478 5
12 Massachusetts-Lowell 5- 3-0 452 15
13 Wisconsin 3- 2-1 434 13
14 Lake Superior 4- 1-1 329 12
15 Cornell 3- 1-0 292 14
16 Clarkson 7- 2-1 252 17
17 Boston University 4- 4-0 156 18
18 Minnesota State 3- 3-0 144 16
19 Ferris State 5- 2-0 107 NR
20 Minnesota-Duluth 4- 3-1 79 20
Others receiving votes: Northeastern 54, St. Lawrence 34, Union 30, Harvard 22, New Hampshire 13, Bowling Green 11, Air Force 10, Alaska 10, Brown 8, Western Michigan 7, Nebraska-Omaha 4.
USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)
Rank School Last Week’s Ranking
1. Minnesota, 510 (34) 1
2. Michigan, 447 4
3. Notre Dame, 380 2
4. St. Cloud State, 379 8
5. Providence, 370 3
6. Quinnipiac, 364 9
7. Miami, 356 5
8. Boston College, 315 7
9. Yale, 193 11
10. North Dakota, 154 6
11. UMass-Lowell, 153 14
12. Wisconsin, 137 12
13. RPI, 128 10
14. Cornell, 56 15
15. Clarkson, 40 RV
Others receiving votes: Lake Superior State University, 39; Boston University, 22; Ferris State University, 11; University of Minnesota Duluth, 9; Union, 8; Minnesota State University, 6; St. Lawrence University, 2; University of New Hampshire, 1.
I have a vote in the USCHO.com poll. Here is how I voted.
3) Notre Dame
7) Boston College
8) North Dakota
9) St. Cloud State
15) St. Cloud State
16) Lake Superior
18) Minn. State
19) Ferris State
Daily Gazette/ECACH Four Stars
Time for my four stars of the week.
Player/Rookie of the Week — Sam Anas, Quinnipiac
Last week’s Daily Gazette and ECACH rookie of the week not only repeats this week, but adds player of the week this time. The freshman forward had a goal and three assists in Friday’s 7-2 win over Colgate. He had an assist in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Cornell.
Goalie of the Week — Michael Garteig, Quinnipiac
The sophomore netminder stopped all 23 shots he faced in the Bobcats’ win at Cornell on Saturday. The night before, he had 10 saves against Colgate.
Teams of the Week — Quinnipiac and Union
Both teams open the ECACH season with two wins on the road.
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Good Monday! Good Hockey!
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