Yale won its first national title Saturday night, defeating Quinnipiac 4-0 in the championship.
The Bulldogs had the ingredients needed to win it all — they had a good team, they played their best in the NCAAs and they caught a lot of breaks along the way.
Yale wouldn’t have even been in the tournament had Boston University beat UMass-Lowell in the Hockey East finals or had Michigan beat Notre Dame in the CCHA finals.
Once in the tournament, the Bulldogs were close to being knocked out in each of their first three games. Against Minnesota, Nick Bjugstad had a Grade A chance with about 10 seconds to go, but fired wide. Against UND, it was the three pipes and disallowed goal. And against Lowell, the River Hawks had a 2-on-1 in overtime but couldn’t convert.
With the great depth in the sport these days and the closeness of games in the NCAAs, I’m not sure anything can be classified as a big upset anymore. This year, the No. 15 overall seed won it all. Two No. 4 seeds reached the Frozen Four.
Watching the way Yale played in the tournament, it’s very hard to figure out how this team got shutout twice by the combined score of 8-0 the week before the NCAAs, because they definitely looked the part of a title team in the NCAAs, beating the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 overall seeds en route to the trophy.
Dubuque Fighting Saints coach Jim Montgomery will be introduced as the new head coach of the University of Denver at noon today in a presser.
Montgomery made an interesting decision to go to Denver, being he’s a Maine alum and was reportedly their top choice.
Nonetheless, there will be a press conference this afternoon and it will be interesting if the media will finally be able to ask questions to athletic director Peg Bradley-Doppes about the firing of George Gwozdecky. Bradley-Doppes has not yet done a single interview on the firing or given an explanation.
UND’s Carter Rowney and Derek Forbort both scored their first professional goals over the weekend.
Forbort scored on a point shot for the Manchester Monarchs in the AHL. Rowney converted a two-on-one for the Abbotsford Heat in the AHL.
Who would have predicted that both Rowney and Forbort would have AHL goals before Danny Kristo (he has three assists)?
Jonathan Toews is the first former Sioux player to punch a ticket to the NHL playoffs. Toews and the Blackhawks will be chasing their second Cup in four years.
I attended the Fargo-Sioux City game Saturday night. A few observations:
Defenseman Charlie Pelnik was a scratch, so I didn’t see him play. Pelnik has been hurt most of this season.
Forward Trevor Olson, who committed this week, was pretty good. He created some offense and made a huge, clean hit. Fans who went to Friday’s game probably got to see more of an offensive show from Olson. He had four points that night. Olson got a fighting major (wasn’t much of a fight), so that kept him off the ice for over 10 minutes. I noticed he didn’t kill penalties, probably something he will do next season for Sioux City.
Defenseman Ryan Mantha has an NHL body. He’s huge and has an advantage with his long reach. He has work to do on his skating, but that’s probably to be expected for such a young player in the league. One USHL coach told me that Mantha could be first-round material in the 2014 NHL Draft. I randomly ended up sitting next to his parents, who were wearing Fighting Sioux gear.
Uncommitted forward Avery Peterson of Grand Rapids was very good. Whoever gets him is getting a very nice offensive player.
Lastly, the folks who work in the front office for the Force are doing something right, as attendance is still fantastic in Season No. 5.
We got general admission tickets and figured we would be able to go find a random empty seat and sit there, but we were unable to because it was so full.
Fargo had its best season attendance ever, drawing an average of 3,902 per game.
People don’t sell Fargo as a hockey town, but this is the fourth consecutive season that the Force have outdrawn the Bison men’s basketball team in average attendance. In fact, this year, the Force’s average attendance was more than that of the Bison men’s and women’s basketball programs combined.