PHILADELPHIA — I just took a taxi cab back to the hotel, rode the elevator up to my room and plopped down in my chair with a cheese steak from Geno’s.
Well, what’s left of it, anyway.
It was quite a busy first day at the Frozen Four in Philadelphia. Every other Frozen Four that I’ve covered, we traveled on Tuesday. This time, we didn’t go until Wednesday, because we had the Forum’s plane.
We got in just in time for UND’s practice, which was rather routine. This seemed like the same, loose group that went to Minneapolis three weeks ago and Cincinnati two weeks ago.
Who knows what the end result will be, but this is clearly a team that is not up tight.
The most entertaining part of practice is always the shootout and there was some buzz when Michael Parks went three-for-three to win it, including a top-shelf backhand. Brad Berry also created a buzz by scoring on his first two attempts.
If you want to read a lot of content, we have two eight-page sections inserted into today’s Herald. I’m told that the stories are not going to be available on the web, so go pick up a Herald if you want a lot to read.
There are also a couple of stories that are on the Herald’s site, including a quick scene-setting piece on practice and a notebook, which tells you why The Voice, Tim Hennessy missed UND’s last Frozen Four.
There is a ton of good content all over the place (the media room was rather crowded today). Check the regulars, USCHO.com and collegehockeynews.com for some more features.
I did want to mention one CHN piece about UND’s team meeting that helped right the ship. There were some interesting quotes from Rocco Grimaldi in this one. Grimaldi said things got heated and personal in the meeting.
Now for my picks.
I will start by saying that it won’t surprise me in the least if any of the four teams win the national championship this weekend. That’s the way college hockey is these days.
UND vs. Minnesota
The Gophers are the more skilled team. They will try to play an up-and-down game and use their outstanding skating ability to beat UND. I’m guessing UND would like to play it a bit more close to the vest and rely on its strong D-corps and goaltending to knock off the Gophers.
In the end, I think Minnesota is the more complete team here. The Gophers are statistically better than UND in nearly every category. The big difference between this Gopher squad and past ones is that they defend much better. Ultimately, I think UND’s run ends in the semifinals.
Minnesota 4, UND 1
Union vs. Boston College
The Eagles will get all the hype. And why not? They have won four national titles since 2001.
But Union is the quiet monster of the group. The Dutchmen haven’t lost a game since January. Nobody has even been within a goal of them in about two months now. That’s incredible. Union’s worst loss this year? It was a one-goal game (excluding ENGs).
I think Union plays a tight defensive game, it slows down Boston College enough and the Dutchmen reach the title game.
Union 3, Boston College 2, OT
Union keeps up its dominant play and becomes the third team in four years to win its first national title.
Union 3, Minnesota 2
And here are two photos from Philly. The first is the Forum Communications team heading to Philadelphia on the Forum’s plane. It features members from the Herald, the Forum and WDAZ TV. From left to right: Myself, Tom Miller, Michael Yoshida, Dan Corey, Lori Weber Menke. David Samson, our photog of course, is taking the photo.
And, the second, is myself, Matt Schill and Andy Parr making a trip to Geno’s and Pat’s. I tried Geno’s. Schill and Parr tried Pat’s. We hope to be back again tonight.
Check back through the day for any updates, a video blog and, as always, the live chat. For me, this 23 hour, 30 minute day is over. See ya.