The Michigan Wolverines will not be bringing their pack of wild fans to Detroit’s Ford Field this year for the Frozen Four.As a Wolverine fan, I’m bummed.Last year, the Michigan State Spartans graced the Final Four in Detroit creating a bond between Spartan and Wolverine basketball fans.No such luck with the hockey.
Michigan faced Miami in the semi-final last Sunday. At the end of a 2-2 tie, overtime ensued. Michigan took control in overtime out shooting the RedHawks of Miami,with three close calls on net.Much talk about Michigan outplaying Miami can be directed to a controversial call involving a play by the Wolverines where the puck crossed the line, but seemingly after the whistle.It was a clear goal, but deemed invalid.I can only imagine the conversations in Ann Arbor right now.
In 2008, Michigan made it to the Frozen Four in Denver, but lost to Notre Dame.Hanging out with Michigan hockey fans brought me back to the excitement of Yost Ice Arena. Michigan’s captain, Kevin Porter, was the Hobey Baker winner that year. Porter was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes, but had minimal play and sent to the minors. He was sent to the Colorado Avalanche in a trade this year that sent Wojtek Wolski to the Yotes in exchange for Porter and Peter Mueller.
The Hobey Baker Award is given annually to the top American college hockey player. Hobey Baker was captain of both the Princeton hockey and football teams, and his college classmate, F. Scott Fitzgerald based a character off of Baker in his novel, This Side of Paradise.This year, Detroit Red Wings prospect and Maine sophomore forward Gustav Nyquist is one of the three finalists for this year’s award.New Hampshire’s Bobby Butler and Wisconsin’s Blake Geoffrion were also announced as Hobey finalists.Buter has signed a free-agent contract with the Ottawa Senators, and Geeffrion was drafted by the Nashville Predators.The award will be presented on April 9 at Detroit’s Ford Field.
But despite the lack of top teams such as Denver and the defending champs, Boston University, the Frozen Four boasts some top dogs and underdogs.The Boston College Eagles and the Miami-Ohio RedHawks have fought for the title in the past few years.This should be a great game as both teams know each other’s style of play.Miami comes into the competition ranked No. 1 in the nation, while Boston College ranked No.3.
The Wisconsin Badgers are synonymous with hockey and have won six national titles.And they also have senior tri-captain,Geffrion, who leads the Badgers with 27 goals.Can’t say the Badgers won’t bring it, because they will and will make it difficult for their opponent, RIT.
As with an unexpected bounce off the boards or a wide slapshot, no one could accurately hit the target of RIT.The Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers came from the bottom of the standings to take a spot in the Frozen Four.Only in their fifth season as a Div. I team, this was just their third eligible postseason bid for the tournament.The Tigers have claimed a Division II national title in 1983 and a Division III championship in 1985.RIT’s leading scorer and a Detroit native Cameron Burt must be thrilled to play with such a home crowd at such an amazing time for his team.
While the Michigan Wolverines prepare for another season, we can celebrate a few ties to my hockey home state of Michigan.My call is that Miami will take a home-field advantage, being only fours hours from Detroit, and will fight to the bone to beat Boston College.It’s the RedHawks’ time to win the match-up.Wisconsin will be tough, yet many will be cheering on the RIT Tigers, the underdog in the year of the Tiger.