Yesterday, we concluded our look at the regional previews on Inside Hockey. Now that we have all four teams, it’s time to simulate what the Frozen Four would look like come April 10th and 12th. First let’s review each regional champion.
The Wolverines got in with victories over Niagara in the first round and Clarkson in the regional final. The Niagara game was closer than expected, but Kevin Porter and the Wolverines pulled away in the regional final. Head coach Red Berenson and the Wolverines will be looking for a record tenth National Championship in Denver.
Northeast: Boston College
This will be Jerry York’s eighth Frozen Four appearance in 11 years. Nathan Gerbe provides great ability to put the puck in the net and so does Ben Smith. The Eagles advanced with a 4-2 win over Minnesota and a 3-2 regional final win over Miami.
Midwest: North Dakota
Dave Hakstol has made it to three Frozen Fours in his first three seasons. If all goes as expected, it will be his fourth appearance in four years. J.P. Lamoureux’s stifling play in net was the difference in the Midwest regional as he let up three goals in two games.
West: Colorado College
The host team of the West regional, Colorado College, had the toughest road to the Frozen Four. Head coach Scott Owens and his club got by the defending National Champion Michigan State Spartans and the number one seed in the regional, the New Hampshire Wildcats, each by the slimmest of margins, one goal.
Here is what the Frozen Four match-ups will look like:
East vs. West
Northeast vs. Midwest
So now that we have the pairings set, let’s simulate the games.
Michigan vs. Colorado College
First Period: This is a period where teams test each other. Michigan comes out right off the bat with a 1-0 lead with a goal by Chad Kolarik. Colorado College goaltender Richard Bachman gets tested early, but he helps keep the Tigers in the game at that moment with 13 first period saves. Billy Sauer on the other side makes six saves and the Wolverines enter the intermission with a 1-0 lead.
Second Period: Michigan comes out with two goals in ten minutes. Kevin Porter proves to be the leading Hobey candidate with a goal and an assist while freshman Max Pacioretty netted the other goal for the Wolverines. Colorado College comes back however with one of their own before the intermission and stays alive with a goal from Bill Sweatt. Bachman makes ten saves in the period while Sauer makes eight. The score is 3-1 after two.
Third Period: Michigan pulls away with a goal from Travis Turnbull. That is the only goal scored in the period. Billy Sauer stops all ten shots finishing with 24 saves, while Richard Bachman sees eight shots, finishing with 31 stops.
Final Score: Michigan 4 – Colorado College 1
North Dakota vs. Boston College
First Period: Dan Bertram kicks things off for the Eagles with a goal 4:56 into the first. Chris VandeVelde however gets one back 52 seconds later to tie the score at one. An unlikely scorer, Robbie Bina gives North Dakota the 2-1 lead near the end of the period. John Muse stops 12 shots while J.P. Lamoureux makes ten saves. First intermission, North Dakota 2-1.
Second Period: Andrew Kozek gets North Dakota started 2:24 into the second period. However, BC is able to tie the score at 3-3 in the second with two goals from Ben Smith. Muse makes eight saves while his counterpart, Lamoureux is tested stopping 12 shots. Score tied at 3-3 after two.
Third Period: The battle tested teams begin the period with BC going up 4-3 on a goal from Pat Gannon. However, the Eagles give up two midway through the third. Ryan Duncan ties the game at 4-4 with 12:17 left. Three minutes later, Rylan Kaip becomes the hero by netting the winning goal. J.P. Lamoureux ended the night with 35 saves on 39 shots while Muse makes 10 saves giving him 30 for the night.
Final Score: North Dakota 5 – Boston College 4
National Championship: Michigan vs. North Dakota
First Period: North Dakota forward T.J. Oshie kicks things off in the scoring department 6:37 into the first. Michigan defenseman Mark Mitera makes it 1-1 midway through the first and that’s how the first period ends. Michigan goalie Billy Sauer makes eight saves while on the other side, J.P. Lamoureux makes six in a defensive first. Score tied at 1-1 after one.
Second Period: Hobey Baker award winner Kevin Porter (well not yet, but assume he is awarded that April 11th) gets Michigan going with another goal in the tournament making it 2-1 Wolverines. That is all the scoring in the second and again it is a defensive struggle. Lamoureux makes seven saves while Sauer makes eight. Michigan 2-1 second intermission.
Third Period: The Sioux struggle to get shots going in through the first 7:00 of the third. However, in the last 13 minutes, the Sioux finally come to life. Ryan Duncan ties the game at 2-2 late in the third period after 12 shots on goal in the last 13:00. Sauer is tested, but plays well enough to keep the team alive. With desperation on the Sioux side, the defense starts to pinch and it works. Lamoureux’s work is moderate in the third. We are heading to overtime with the score tied at three.
Overtime: Not a whole lot going on in the first five minutes of overtime. However, the game ends in the next five minutes. Defenseman Chay Genoway wrists a shot past Sauer and the Fighting Sioux go on to win their eighth National Title.
Final Score: North Dakota 3 – Michigan 2 (OT)
That’s how I see things. Whether they go according to plan, no one knows, but hey, it’s only a simulation.