Yesterday opened NCAA play in Erie, PA. Today brings the remaining teams into the fold. We will open with Providence and then close out the Elite 8 with Boston College
#2 Wisconsin Badgers v #7 Providence College Friars - 2 PM
How they got here
Wisconsin won the WCHA regular season and tournament titles. The Badgers were a top team all season and were safely a tournament team regardless of their performance in the WCHA tournament.
Providence on the other hand was a big surprise as a member of this tournament field. This is evidenced by the fact that the team was not watching the selection show together and the coach has been quoted as saying they had to hastily organize a zoom with the players. The surprise might have to do with the fact that the Friars were blown out in their four games against the top seeded Huskies and had three one goal games against the 6th seeded Boston College Eagles. Most experts included the Friars in their discussion of bubble teams but most had them as either the next team out or the third team out.
The Badgers should be a heavy favorite in this matchup due to the sheer level of talent on their roster. Patty Kaz Finalist Darryl Watts has had a tremendous season and the rest of the Badgers have racked up impressive stats.
Providence has been a very good team all year, consistently in the top-10 of most polls. They have a top goalie in Sandra Abstrieter and huge scoring threat in Sara Hjalmarsson. The issue is they have been so short benched for weeks that they have been running out of gas late in games. In the Hockey East Championship the Friars clearly didn’t have anything left late in the game against a Northeastern team that is on par with Wisconsin.
The Friars are very capable of putting up a fight and making Badger fans squirm. The issue is can PC put together 60 minutes of gameplay all while holding off Wisconsin. This doesn’t seem to be likely.
Wisconsin 3 - Providence 1
#3 Ohio State Buckeyes v #6 Boston College Eagles - 7 PM
How they got here
This is the only matchup of two at-large teams. Ohio State was a consensus safe pick while the Eagles entered the night sweating a bit more, but most experts had them in at this seed.
OSU finished third in the regular season, due to the outrageously unbalanced WCHA schedule but took Wisconsin to OT in the tournament championship game. Boston College was the second place team in Hockey East but had a tough game against Connecticut in a loss in the Quarterfinals.
This is a trendy upset pick and there is good reason for the confidence. BC has the hot goalie with a solid team that was the Buckeye’s upset recipe a few years back in Chestnut Hill. This year OSU is a very good team that sometimes struggles to score. The Eagles have the talent but not the consistency, they are prone to a bad third period on occasion.
This really should be a fun game to watch. Again it’s going to come down to which version of these teams shows up. If Abigail Levy plays well and BC gets a good bounce they could definitely take this game. If the same OSU team that clogged up Wisconsin comes to play BC will have fits.
Ohio State 1 - Boston College 0
Day 1 Recap
Northeastern 5 - Robert Morris 1
This game was no where near as bad as this scoreline implies. The Colonials stuck around until the waning seconds of the second period. It was at that point the Huskies got a back breaking goal and Robert Morris seemed to run out of gas. The third period was all Northeastern as their depth rolled them into their first ever Frozen Four appearance, to take on the winner of the second game.
Minnesota Duluth 1 - Colgate 0 OT
There is disagreement about whether this was a good game or not, but what can be agreed on is that both teams had their chances to win this. Neither team really wowed but Duluth played well enough to take the OT winner. Colgate seemed to run out of gas come the overtime as they strayed from their typical depth style of play.