Did you know that there is another March Madness, and it has nothing to do with college basketball?
Well there is and it’s the NCAA’s ice hockey Frozen Four tournament. Northwestern Mutual has even introduced a bracket competition for the first time.
I’m losing and it’s all Yale and their awesome player Jesse Root‘s fault. And because I pretty much just picked my teams blindly.
Friday kicked off the competition in the West. Minnesota (23-9-5) were rocked by Yale (18-12-3) on Friday in a 3-2 overtime decision. Yale knocked down the No. 1 Seed in the West thanks to a OT goal by Root, who was key to this game and is definitely a player to start watching out for.
On Friday North Dakota advanced over Niagara (23-9-5) in a close 2-1 game. World Junior Championship fans will recognize a key play maker for North Dakota. USA gold medal winner Rocco Grimaldi was eager on shots and even assisted teammate Danny Kristo in the second goal to win the game.
New Hampshire (19-11-17) and Denver (20-13-5) faced off, which saw UNH advancing after a 5-2 rout.
I should have really picked UNH for two reasons. One, Eric Knodel is a local kid having grown up in West Chester, Pa, where my Alma Mater is located. The other reason is because there is a player with a familar last name to Flyers fans on UNH’s team.
Who is that? Oh yeah, Trevor Van Riemsdyk, you know, James Van Riemsdyk’s younger brother.
TVR got a goal and an assist in this game, and having a famous last name he is definitely going to be making his way up into the league. I also saw some good things from his teammate Casey Thrush, and solid goaltending in Casey DeSmith.
However, Denver does have Nolan Zajac, who although he didn’t do much in the game, he has hockey in his blood. His brother Travis Zajac plays for the New Jersey Devils and his two other brothers Darcy and Kelly are with the organizations AHL affiliate in Albany. If he’s destined to be a Devil, I’m destined to dislike him.
There was one more game played in the West and I clearly a picked the right team this time. Massachusetts-Lowell (26-10-2) dominated Wisconsin (22-12-7) 6-1 on Friday night.
Mass. Lowell was just all around better having balanced scoring with six even strength goals all by different players. They also had solid goaltending from Connor Hellebuyck who made 31 saves on 32 shots. Not too bad for a collegiate hockey netminder.
Stayed tuned for my Frozen Four hockey coverage from Broad Street Buzz.
Deanna Vasso is a staff writer for Broad Street Buzz, you can follow her on Twitter @Dmvasso.