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Back to Class: Frozen Four field is set with two newcomers and two old standards

Mar 26, 2012, 8:56 AM EDT

2012 Frozen Four Tampa

The NCAA tournament weekend is a frenetic one when it comes to college hockey. With just 16 teams in the field, things get whittled down quickly and after just a few days of games, here we are down to four teams setting up for a Frozen Four weekend in Tampa, Florida that’s teeming over with story lines.

In one semifinal you’ve got a pair of legendary hockey schools. Top seeded Boston College will square off against the University of Minnesota after each team took down game opponents last night. BC gets there by knocking off the defending champs from Minnesota Duluth while the Gophers earned their spot avenging their loss in the WCHA semifinals to North Dakota by taking out the Fighting Sioux handily.

Between the two sides, there’s a ton of future NHL talent. Boston College comes in with nine pro prospects while Minnesota has a whopping 18 NHL draftees on their roster. Chief among them for BC is Rangers prospect Chris Kreider but it’s been Calgary prospect Johnny Gaudreau that’s made a name of himself of late in both the Hockey East tournament and in the NCAAs. For Minnesota, their top three scorers are destined for the NHL with Wild prospect Erik Haula and Panthers studs Kyle Rau and Nick Bjugstad.

source: APMeanwhile, the other semifinal features two schools that have never been in the Frozen Four. Union College and Ferris State come in with similar looks to their roster in that neither team has any NHL draftees; a stark contrast from what we’ll see in the other game. That doesn’t mean they’re lacking in stars of their own.

Union goalie and Hobey Baker Award finalist Troy Grosenick (pictured) and forward Jeremy Welsh have earned plenty of attention thanks to their big play this weekend and Ferris forward Jordie Johnston along with goalie Taylor Nelson have been standouts for the Bulldogs. The teams play similar brands of hockey in that you can’t give them power plays and if you get behind you’ll have a hell of a time coming back.

With the way the Frozen Four is set up, it’s the first time since 2003 that a representative from each major conference (Hockey East, CCHA, ECAC, and WCHA) was represented. This Frozen Four also features four teams that were the regular season champions of their conference as well as two schools that doubled up and won the conference tournament as well (Union and BC).

  1. sknut - Mar 26, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Should be an interesting Frozen Four, its nice to have the Golden Gophers back there and with how they can score in bunches it should make for a great game with BC. Go Gophers!

  2. garryfish - Mar 26, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    I am from Schenectady NY and proud of Union College!!

  3. fishtales10 - Mar 26, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    Gophers all the way easily.

  4. yotesfan3 - Mar 26, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    Go dawgs go!!

  5. fastwillie39 - Mar 26, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Union graduate here, go Dutchmen, this is bigger than Butler going to final four in hoops!

  6. gbiscottagecheesefatties - Mar 26, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    Minnesota, Minnesota!
    Yay, Gophers!

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Mar 26, 2012 at 1:12 PM

      BC and the Goofs are in it??? Ugh, I’ll take Ferris State…I guess.

  7. terriers4 - Mar 26, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    I’m actually from Boston but with my terriers out first round I’ll be cheering on union. Going for the underdogs all the way

  8. JB (the original) - Mar 26, 2012 at 2:54 PM


  9. dumptrucked - Mar 26, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    The championship is Thursday Night between Minnesota and Boston.  I know, I know… All you out there pulling for the little guys are screaming but BC and MN are just flat out the best teams.  BC is on a crazy hot roll and MN won the regular season in what is by miles the most difficult/competitive conference in hockey (pro or amateur), and both teams have extreme talent.  They should just exclude other teams and hand the trophy to the winner of this game

    • terriers4 - Mar 26, 2012 at 9:24 PM

      and why would they do that? do underdogs never win? im not saying union or Ferris st are going to win, but there is this thing called an upset. how many people saw Michigan losing first round to Cornell? i had Michigan going to the finals. Or in the NHL how many people saw Boston beating Vancouver? All im saying is in playoff hockey anything can happen

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