PITTSBURGH — St. Cloud State defenseman Nick Jensen and coach Bob Motzko talk after the Huskies’ 4-1 loss to Quinnipiac on Thursday in the Frozen Four semifinals.
PITTSBURGH — Yale’s Mitch Witek and Antoine Laganiere talk after their 3-2 overtime victory over Massachusetts-Lowell in the Frozen Four semifinals:
PITTSBURGH — Massachusetts-Lowell defenseman Greg Amlong talks about denying a good scoring chance in overtime and allowing the overtime goal after the River Hawks’ 3-2 loss to Yale in the Frozen Four semifinals.
PITTSBURGH — Here are the lines for Thursday’s second semifinal game of the 2013 Frozen Four between Quinnipiac and St. Cloud State, as listed on the line charts:
20 Matthew Peca-10 Connor Jones-15 Kellen Jones
39 Clay Harvey-17 Jeremy Langlois-24 Travis St. Denis
12 Bryce Van Brabant-7 Ben Arnt-19 Jordan Samuels-Thomas
9 Kevin Bui-6 Cory Hibbeler-11 Russell Goodman
3 Zach Davies-27 Zach Tolkinen
22 Dan Federico-2 Mike Dalhuisen
4 Loren Barron-23 Zack Currie
33 Eric Hartzell
34 Michael Garteig
35 Jacob Meyers
ST. CLOUD STATE (25-15-1)
11 Kalle Kossila-19 Drew LeBlanc-22 Jonny Brodzinski
10 Ben Hanowski-6 Nic Dowd-16 Jimmy Murray
9 Joey Benik-8 Cory Thorson-21 Brooks Bertsch
27 Nick Oliver-13 David Morley-37 Joe Rehkamp
28 Andrew Prochno-14 Nick Jensen
7 Kevin Gravel-40 Tim Daly
2 Jarrod Rabey-12 Ethan Prow
29 Ryan Faragher
35 Rasmus Reijola
33 Joseph Phillippi
Well, Neil Ravin and I have finally made it. The hardest part of the whole seven-hour trip was convincing our friend in New Jersey that we wanted bacon on our breakfast sandwich instead of “Taylor ham.” The sandwich courtesy of Augie in Sparta, N.J., was delicious.
Over the next couple of days we will do our best to highlight the great establishments along our journey. As we continued our journey last night through New Jersey, there is no doubt that Sneaky Pete’s Pub and Grille is among America’s finest eateries. We didn’t eat there, but based on the name, how could you go wrong?
As we were driving through the Pennsylvania rolling hills, we were talking about why we made this trip. In today’s world of rising gas prices and continued pressure to always be on your phone or computer, there is little chance to get out and see the country. What the Frozen Four does is allow fans to get in the car, see eight hours of road and then three games worth of hockey at some of its highest levels.
While the National Hockey League is great, the Stanley Cup Playoffs lack a chance for any fan to see the trophy raised. In two days we’ll be able to see a team realize a dream that has taken more than six months to accomplish.
After a clean shower, we feel just as good as either team raising a national championship trophy.
Next stop: Consol Energy Center.
PITTSBURGH — Here are the lines for Thursday’s first semifinal game between Massachusetts-Lowell and Yale, in the order listed on the line charts:
10 Ryan McGrath-16 Riley Wetmore-29 Derek Arnold
23 Scott Wilson-20 Michael Fallon-9 Terrence Wallin
7 Shayne Thompson-8 Colin Wright-13 Adam Chapie
18 A.J. White-14 Joseph Pendenza-12 Josh Holmstrom
22 Greg Amlong-3 Chad Ruhwedel
4 Joe Houk-26 Christian Folin
27 Zack Kamrass-28 Jake Suter
31 Doug Carr
37 Connor Hellebuyck
30 Brian Robbins
27 Charles Orzetti-15 Clinton Bourbonais-28 Antoine Laganiere
18 Kenny Agostino-20 Jesse Root-17 Andrew Miller
8 Josh Balch-6 Stu Wilson-19 Anthony Day
11 Trent Ruffalo-9 Carson Cooper-7 Matt Killian
2 Gus Young-4 Rob O’Gara
22 Tommy Fallen-14 Ryan Obuchowski
21 Colin Dueck-10 Mitch Witek
31 Nick Maricic
33 Jeff Malcolm
29 Connor Wilson
Hello, college hockey world and welcome to the 2013 Frozen Four. We all know how incredible this tournament is just in terms of on-ice play. What can sometimes be forgotten to the folks that don’t make the pilgrimage every year is how great of an event this is. So Neil Ravin and I are here to take you through our experience as a pair of college students in their senior year taking the road trip to the Frozen Four.
The folks at USCHO.com have graciously agreed to let us show you the other side of the Frozen Four and this has been something in the works since midseason. Neil and I are Quinnipiac students and when this idea came about there was little thought that the Bobcats would be in the national semifinals. We promise to keep Quinnipiac talk to an absolute minimum.
Tonight we are driving two hours from Connecticut to New Jersey and will finish the final five hours Thursday morning. One of the great things about an event like this is the travel; I suppose it helps that we are so young. There is that feeling of completion when you finally drive into town and see the arena, see the teams’ logos on the windows outside and see the hoards of college hockey fans with jerseys from teams that aren’t Yale, Massachusetts-Lowell, Quinnipiac or St. Cloud State.
The Final Four is over. The Frozen Four is here. Pittsburgh, here we come!
PITTSBURGH — Quinnipiac was the last of the four teams to practice Wednesday. Here’s a look at what the Bobcats had to say once they got off the ice.
“I’d like to congratulate the other teams for getting here. I know all of our team is excited to be here.” — Senior forward Jeremy Langlois
“As one of my goals, I felt that was something I wanted to achieve at some point. But going back 15, 16, 17 years ago, we’re a Division III program and then transitioning into D-I. Everybody forgets this, but our first year in Division I, when we were in the MAAC, we did not play one game against the outside four conferences. Nobody would play us. It was unbelievable.” — Coach Rand Pecknold on whether he imagined the Bobcats in the Frozen Four 15 years ago
“It’s hard for teams that take it easy in practice and flip the switch on Friday night. It’s hard to do that. And that’s one thing we focused on this year is having good practice habits.” — Pecknold
“It’s great to have a goalie of Eric’s capabilities. But I think a lot of it comes down to we don’t want to rely on him, and it allows the rest of the team to play confident, play calm. … It allows everybody to play their own game.” — Senior captain and defenseman Zack Currie
“Right. We have four Zacks.” — Pecknold on the fact that he can’t yell out “Hey Zack” during a team meeting. (Although technically, the Bobcats have three Zachs, and one Zack).
St. Cloud State’s Ben Hanowski has been a subject of plenty of attention because of one line in the transactions on March 28:
CALGARY FLAMES — Traded F Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh for the rights to LW Kenneth Agostino, F Ben Hanowski and a 2013 first-round draft pick.
The Huskies forward found out his rights, originally acquired by Pittsburgh in the third round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, had been traded the day the team was traveling to the Midwest Regional.
“I don’t know how to describe it, being part of a trade with a future Hall of Famer,” Hanowski said.
Teammate Drew LeBlanc knew how to describe it.
“I’m jealous,” he said. “I kind of want to be traded for a Hall of Famer.”
That change in potential future direction for the Huskies senior could have been a distraction at a critical time of the year, but coach Bob Motzko said Hanowski didn’t let it get in his way.
Motzko opened practice the next day with a one-liner: “Anybody else get traded overnight?”
“And the first guy laughing was Ben, and he took it in great stride,” Motzko said.
Hanowski’s importance to the Huskies isn’t hard to define. Since the start of February, in games where he has been even or plus in plus-minus, St. Cloud State has won. When he’s been a minus, the Huskies have lost.
As for being part of the big deal, it’s not a big deal.
“I’m just trying to focus on being a Husky and trying to contribute to this team as many ways as I can right now,” Hanowski said. “So maybe after the Frozen Four is over, I’ll be able to give you something better. But I haven’t been able to think about it too much.”
PITTSBURGH — A high-class facility and the all amenities that come with it certainly can play a part in a team’s success.
But you need good players to accompany the shiny off-the-field extras. Just ask the Miami Marlins.
So, while Quinnipiac’s move from a town skating rink to the brand new TD Bank Sports Center in 2007 helped raised the profile of the program, their players have gotten them to Pittsburgh.
More than that, Quinnipiac has a number of players who have improved significantly from last season to now. And that’s why the Bobcats are where they are.
“[It was] kind of a perfect storm that happened this year for us,” coach Rand Pecknold said. “Certainly, we have 11 seniors, which is great. [Goalie Eric] Hartzell was good his sophomore and junior year, and now he’s one of the best goalies in the country, or maybe the best.”
While Hartzell is the one who stands out as making the biggest leap this season, there are several other names that might escape the notice of the average fan.
Seniors Ben Arnt, Russell Goodman and Kevin Bui have all made contributions, while sophomore defenseman Danny Federico and forward Bryce Van Brabant have both been essential for Quinnipiac after not playing much during their freshman season.
“Bryce is huge for us right now,” Pecknold said. “He’s physical. He wins battles. He sets the tone for us. Danny was probably our [seventh defenseman] last year and he’s probably our No. 2 right now.”