The road to Chicago continues along for the last 16 teams remaining. They’ve all traveled different paths to get this far, but only 4 roads lead to the Windy City. The selection committee has spoken and the field is set.
Midwest Regional The road from Cincinnati has the top seed Denver Pioneers taking on 16 seed Michigan Tech Huskies. The other match-up in that regional is Big 10 tournament champ Penn St. vs Union College. On paper this looks like a cakewalk for Denver but if/when they get past Michigan Tech who’s ever left standing from PSU or Union won’t be a pushover. Both are capable of matching Denver’s firepower. And both have goalies that can steal a game.
West Regional The path with the hardest road to hoe has to be the one from Fargo, ND. Seed overall seed Minnesota-Duluth is a behemoth of a squad. They take on an offensively explosive Ohio State Buckeyes. Both teams aren’t afraid to throw their weight around. The opening game in that Regional is liable to blow the arena open, North Dakota in a home game will take on a gifted Boston University Terriers team. Both teams have had bumpy roads this year but if they both bring their “A Games” look out!
East Regional At the head of the class of this one sits the 3rd ranked Harvard Crimson, they have reeled off 15 straight wins to get to this point and are stacked on offensive. They will be playing an away game in Providence vs Providence College. The Friars have had a season of ups & downs, they got hot at the end & received another gift from the NCAA this year. The second match-up in this bracket is Atlantic Hockey tourney champ Air Force taking on Western Michigan. The Broncos are a little beat up but still have a talented squad that AFA should be weary of.
Northeast Regional This bracket is no cake walk just because the top seed is the 4 seed overall. The Minnesota Golden Gophers are loaded as usual, just lost a double OT semifinal in the Big 10 tournament & will take on a talented Notre Dame Fighting Irish team also coming off a brutal loss in Hockey East semifinal play. The 2nd game has the UMass-Lowell River Hawks, playing like beasts, battling a steady, quietly talented, Cornell Big Red.
All four brackets will be fun to watch. I plan on being in Providence on Friday. Hopefully catch some early play in Manchester on Saturday & race back to Providence for the Regional Final. Sunday may or may not see me in Manchester again. Set the DVR either way…