Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

We're less than 14 hours away from the final revelation of the bracket for the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship, with the Atlantic Hockey, CCHA, ECAC, Hockey East and WCHA title contests all being contested as I type this. Some berths have already been locked up via the Pairwise Rankings, while a few are still up for grabs.

I'm not going to pretend I know all the ins and outs of the Pairwise system, but right now it looks like Yale, North Dakota, Boston College, Miami, Merrimack, Denver, Michigan, Union, Minnesota-Duluth, Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Nebraska-Omaha, UNH and Colorado College are all in, along with either RIT or Air Force. Rensselaer may still be alive as well for one of those coveted final slots. All will be finally unveiled on Sunday morning on the NCAA Selection Show at 11:30 a.m. EDT on ESPN2.

The NCAA Women's Division I Championship will be contested Sunday afternoon when Boston University meets Wisconsin, which barely got by Boston College yesterday. Kudos to the alma mater (BC) for coming close in its second-ever trip to the Frozen Four, I'm only sorry I didn't get to see it on TV. It sounded like it was a great game, and hats off to BC senior goaltender Molly Schaus for standing on her head to keep her team in it until the final minute of play. Her successor has some big skates to fill next fall.

Of course, "silly season" has already begun in the men's ranks. Alaska Fairbanks defenseman Joe Sova today gave up his final year of eligibility to sign with the NHL's New Jersey Devils; and even though he isn't the first college player to turn pro early this year, he certainly won't be the last, either.

Can't wait for the Regionals to start on Friday - I'll be watching from home this year, but I also get to watch more than one game at once this weekend. Drop the puck!

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