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D-III Frozen Four picks: March 15 (Tim Costello)

Friday, March 15

Norwich vs. Oswego
This one should be one for the ages, with two teams that have been here four straight times. Expect an overtime thriller that goes to the Cadets based on balance and an incredible senior class that has been there before. Norwich 3-2 (OT )

Wisconsin-Eau Claire vs. Utica
It’s a battle between two of the nation’s best goaltenders and likely All-Americans; Stephenson and co. just a bit better to make it to the final. Wis.-Eau Claire 4-3

Saturday, March 16

Norwich vs. Wis.-Eau Claire
Believe in the “been there before” theory, and the history favors the Cadets, who find their seniors bookending their career with a second national,championship. Norwich 3-1

D-III Frozen Four picks: March 15 (Kevin Damask)

Friday, March 15

Oswego vs. Norwich
The puck drops on the NCAA D-III Frozen Four with two traditionally strong programs that are no stranger to the spotlight. The Lakers fell to St. Norbert in last year’s national championship game and have been on a mission to return to the final all season. A late goal sends them back to the title game. Oswego 4-3

Wisconsin-Eau Claire vs. Utica
These two unfamiliar foes clash in Friday night’s nightcap. The key battle will between the pipes, as the Blugolds’ Brandon Stephenson faces the Pioneers’ Nick Therrien. The Blugolds, coming from the tough NCHA, will lean on Stephenson to get the job done and advance to the title game. Wis.-Eau Claire 3-1

Saturday, March 16

Wisconsin-Eau Claire vs. Oswego
The Blugolds could cap off their dream season with their first NCAA D-III title, while the Lakers will be hoping to avenge last season’s loss. Wis.-Eau Claire, armed, by Stephenson and a cast of opportunistic forwards, will push Oswego to the limit. However, the Lakers, leaning on big-game experience will survive to claim the championship. Oswego 3-2 (OT)

Men’s D-III wrap: March 11

The first rounds of the NCAA tournament have come and gone. Norwich, Oswego, Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and Utica are the four teams that remain and will be fighting for a national championship this weekend.

Oswego was runner-up in the tournament last year, with a 4-1 loss to St. Norbert. Norwich also made the Frozen Four, losing to St. Norbert in the semifinal round. The Lakers and Cadets will face off in the 4 p.m. game on Friday.

On the other side of the bracket are two “rookie” teams in Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Utica. Neither team has made an appearance in the Frozen Four. They will compete in the 7:30 p.m. contest at the Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, New York.

Now let’s take a look at the journey in the first rounds of the tournament that earned these teams a spot in the Frozen Four.

Norwich
Norwich was the first team to punch its ticket to the Frozen Four with a 4-0 shutout over Babson. The Cadets bypassed the first round and hosted Babson in the quarterfinals. Junior forward Chris Duszynski assisted on two goals en route to the win. Junior Chris Czarnota earned his third shutout of the season, as he turned away 14 Babson shots on net. Norwich will enter the weekend with a 24-3-1 overall record. This is the fourth consecutive Frozen Four appearance for the Cadets.

Oswego State
The Lakers have also made four consecutive appearances in the Frozen Four. They were the runner-up in the championship game last season in a 4-1 loss to St. Norbert. Oswego earned a bye through the first round and traveled to Adrian in the quarterfinal round.  The Lakers got on the scoreboard first with a power-play goal for Chris Muise. Adrian scored two early goals in the second period, with Jon Whitelaw scoring the game-tying goal for Oswego with just 1:10 left of the second period. Sixty minutes wasn’t enough for these teams to get a winner. Paul Rodrigues scored the game-winning goal 13:32 into overtime, sending the Lakers to the Frozen Four.

Wisconsin-Eau Claire
In the opening round of the NCAA tournament the Blugolds, hosted St. John’s and earned a 4-2 win. Wisconsin-Eau Claire then traveled to St. Norbert to take on the reigning national champions. The Blugolds scored early in the first period. St. Norbert answered back midway through the first. Chris Heineman scored the game-winning power-play goal with 56 seconds left in the first. Kurt Weston added the empty-net goal, securing the Frozen Four appearance. This will be the first time the Blugolds have made it this far in the tournament, and its the second NCAA tournament appearance for the program.

Utica
Utica downed Bowdoin in a 4-2 victory in the semifinals to earn its first ever spot in the Frozen Four. After being down 2-0 in the first period the Pioneers, slowly but surely chipped away at Bowdoin for the win. Senior forward Evan Chlanda earned assists on three of the Pioneers goals, including the game-winning goal at the 15:36 mark of the third period. Although they were outshot 29-25, Utica’s goalie Nick Therrien turned away 27 goals, backstopping his team’s ticket to Lake Placid.

D-III picks: March 6 (Dan Hickling)

First Round – Wednesday, March 6 (Campus sites)

Wentworth at Babson
Babson pulled off a stunner by upending top-ranked Norwich in the ECAC East title game. The Beavers’ postseason run will continue, for one more game, anyway. Babson 5-3

Massachusetts-Dartmouth at Bowdoin
Bowdoin is a serious national title contender, and although the Corsairs barreled down the home stretch with a full head of steam, the Polar Bears are simply too strong. Bowdoin 4-2

St. John’s at Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Wis.-Eau Claire stumbled against St. Norbert in last week’s NHCA title game, and will likely not fall prey to an ambush by the Johnnies, who are making their first NCAA appearance in eight seasons. Wis.-Eau Claire 3-0

Quarterfinal Round – Saturday, March 9 (Campus sites)

Oswego at Adrian
This could be a shootout considering that the teams were 1-2 in the Nation in scoring (Adrian 5.00 gpg, Oswego 4.93). The Bulldogs possess the country’s top power play (32 percent), but Oswego gives up just over three power plays per game. This one will likely come down to special teams. Oswego 5-4

Babson at Norwich
The Cadets would love nothing better than to get another crack at Babson, although this time Norwich will have bigger fish to fry. Norwich 5-2

Wis.-Eau Claire at St. Norbert
Another intraconference brawl spilling into the NCAAs. There are no secrets left between the two, who would be meeting for the fifth time this year (Eau Claire leads 2-1-0). This time, Blugolds goalie Brandon Stephenson will flash the form that earned him NHCA Player of the Year honors. Wis.-Eau Claire 2-0

Bowdoin at Utica
Utica, the D-III attendance leader at over 3,000 per game, will have strong crowd support for its first-ever NCAA appearance, but that alone won’t get it done against the Polar Bears. Bowdoin 3-2

D-III picks: March 6 (Katie Carito)

First Round – Wednesday, March 6 (Campus sites)

Wentworth at Babson
Wentworth is 7-2-1 in the last 10 games, including the ECAC Northeast Championship. Babson took the ECAC East Championship against Norwich by a score of 2-1. Babson 3-2

St. John’s at Wisconsin-Eau Claire
St. John’s is on a six-game win streak. Wisconsin-Eau Claire has outscored its opponents 108-61. Wis.-Eau Claire did suffer a loss in the conference championship to St. Norbert. Wisconsin-Eau Claire 4-1

Massachusetts-Dartmouth at Bowdoin
Mass.-Dartmouth won the MASCAC Championship, 2-1, over Plymouth State. The Polar Bears have only lost three games this season. Bowdoin 5-2

Quarterfinal Round – Saturday, March 9 (Campus sites)

Oswego at Adrian
Oswego is 23-4-0 this season. Adrian boasts a 23-1-3 overall record heading into the game this Saturday, including a six-game winning streak in which they have outscored their opponents 31-10. Both teams have over 130 goals this season, with 133 and 135 respectively. Adrian 4-3

Babson at Norwich
Babson took the ECAC Championship from Norwich, and is 1-0-1 with the Cadets this season. I’m not sure they’ll be able to do it another time. Norwich 3-2

Wisconsin-Eau Claire at St. Norbert
The defending national champion Green Knights are on a seven-game win streak, while keeping opponents to 48 goals all season. St. Norbert 3-1

Bowdoin at Utica
Utica had a less-than-stellar end of the season with a 2-1 loss to Manhattanville in the ECAC West semifinal, and will have more than two weeks off without a game going into the tournament. We’ll see if the rest did them any good. Utica 2-1

D-III picks: March 6 (Roman Uschak)

First Round – Wednesday, March 6 (Campus sites)

Wentworth at Babson
The host Beavers went 6-0-1 in their last seven games, including a victory over Norwich in the ECAC East title game. The visiting Leopards were 6-0-2 and topped Salve Regina for the ECAC Northeast championship. Home ice might be the difference in this one. Babson 3-2

St. John’s (Minn.) at Wisconsin-Eau Claire
The Johnnies won their last six games and earned their first MIAC crown since 2005. They also lost to the Blugolds, 5-1, on Jan. 4 in Eau Claire after falling behind by three goals, and will be back in Wisconsin on Wednesday. Wisconsin-Eau Claire 4-2

Mass-Dartmouth at Bowdoin
The visiting Corsairs are on an eight-game unbeaten tear, including the MASCAC title, but also played to seven ties this season. The host Polar Bears were 12-2-1 at home this year and won the NESCAC, and also led their conference with 76 total goals. Bowdoin 4-3

Quarterfinal Round – Saturday, March 9 (Campus sites)

Babson at Norwich
The Cadets will be looking to upend the visiting Beavers after suffering two losses to Babson already this season, including the ECAC East championship. Averaging just over four goals per game should help Norwich avoid a third strike this season to the same opponent. Norwich 4-3

Oswego State at Adrian
Both teams are coming off conference championships. The host Bulldogs went 14-1-1 at home this year, and were 4-0 in one-goal games in claiming the MCHA. Oswego won the SUNYAC and went 9-2 overall in road contests, and have also been to three straight Frozen Fours. Oswego 4-3

Wisconsin-Eau Claire at St. Norbert
The Green Knights are two-time defending Division III national champions, and are second in the nation for fewest goals allowed per game and penalty-killing percentage, third in power play percentage, and sixth in goals scored per game. They were also 13-3-1 at home, but were just 0-2 when hosting the Blugolds. Could be an upset, but … St. Norbert 5-4

Bowdoin at Utica
The Pioneers are in the NCAAs for the first time ever in school history, and will have 3,000-plus strong cheering them on at the Aud. Utica is also averaging 4.50 goals per game, while Bowdoin is allowing just 2.52 goals per outing. Something’s got to give. Utica 2-1

D-III Picks: March 6 (Carmine Vetrano)

First Round – Wednesday, March 6 (Campus sites)

Wentworth Leopards at Babson Beavers
Have to like what Babson has done during the ECAC East tourney. A hot team, with confidence, heading into the first round and playing at home. Babson 4-2

St. John’s Johnnies at Wis.-Eau Claire Blugolds
The MIAC champs, St. John’s, battle Eau Claire, an at-large bid, which fell to St. Norbert in the NCHA final. The Blugolds look to rebound from this one. Wis.-Eau Claire 3-1

Mass.-Dartmouth Corsairs at Bowdoin Polar Bears
Both of these teams come off winning their respected conferences. Bowdoin dominated all season long, while the Corsairs peaked at the right time. Polar Bears in this one.  Bowdoin 5-2

Quarterfinal Round – Saturday, March 9 (Campus sites)

Babson Beavers at Norwich Cadets
Can the Beavers do it twice? I don’t think so. Too much experience in Norwich, as it looks to get back to the tile game.  Norwich 4-1

Oswego State Lakers at Adrian Bulldogs
In some cases, this could be a possible match-up in the NCAA title game, but it’s not, and one powerhouse is going home early.  Have to go with the Lakers. Oswego State 3-2

Wisconsin Eau-Claire Blugolds at St. Norbert Green Knights
Round two between these programs. I think the Green Knights continue to roll after Eau-Claire comes off a hard-fought win over St. John’s.  St. Norbert 4-2

Bowdoin Polar Bears at Utica Pioneers
Another interesting match-up, as Utica gets in after it lost in the semifinals of the ECAC West tourney.  The Polar Bears match up well, but does home ice come into play? I’ll take a shot at this one, as 145 goals were scored between both teams. Bowdoin 5-4

D-III picks: March 6 (Tim Costello)

First Round – Wednesday, March 6 (Campus sites)

Wentworth at Babson   
Shaun Jameson has been great for the Leopards all season but Zeke Testa is on one of those magical runs as a goaltender and that’s enough for the Beavers at home. Babson 4-2
 
Massachusetts-Dartmouth at Bowdoin  
Bowdoin has too much speed and balance for the Corsairs who get a great effort from Ryan Williams in goal but just fall short. Bowdoin 3-2
 
St. John’s at Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Just because a quarterfinal match-up with St. Norbert again will be a special game. Wis.-Eau Claire 4-1
 
Quarterfinal Round – Saturday, March 9 (Campus sites)

Babson at Norwich
A fourth meeting against a team that deprived them of their conference title on home ice is a lot of motivation for a team that wants to reclaim its national ranking in the tournament that means the most. Great seniors on both sides makes this a terrific hockey game. Norwich 2-1
 
Oswego at Adrian
The Bulldogs are for real, but so are the Lakers, who are a familiar fixture in the Frozen Four. The road trip will be a worthwhile one for the New Yorkers. Oswego 4-3
 
Wisconsin Eau-Claire at St. Norbert
In overtime just to add some spice, the defending champs are out and the semifinals are wide open. Wis.-Eau Claire 3-2
 
Bowdoin at Utica
Fans of great offense get their money’s worth in this one. Despite the quality of goaltending, the offenses are potent and the outcome is decided late in regulation. Bowdoin 5-4

D-III picks: March 6 (Tim Sullivan)

First Round – Wednesday, March 6 (Campus sites)

Wentworth at Babson
The Leopards are on the road, but have more depth and a proud body of work to show not only the Beavers, but the rest of the tournament as well. Wentworth 4-3

Massachusetts-Dartmouth at Bowdoin
The Polar Bears are an impressive 22-3-2, and didn’t go the extra mile to earn that record to see it slip away in the opening round. Bowdoin 3-1

St. John’s at Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Two losses in their last four games — to St. Scholastica and St. Norbert — might not bode well for Wisconsin-Eau Claire. If there is such a thing as carryover momentum from the regular-season, the Blugolds don’t have it. St. John’s 3-2

Quarterfinal Round – Saturday, March 9 (Campus sites)

Oswego State at Adrian
Oswego State is battle-tested, and will not be fazed by a tough road atmosphere. You’re talking about a team that went 23-4. Something tells me the Lakers will be ready. Oswego State 4-3

Wentworth at Norwich
Easy to go against a favorite after a loss, especially one like Norwich’s 2-1 defeat to Babson in the ECAC East title game, but the Cadets orchestrated an 11-game unbeaten streak leading up to that loss, and the talent that produced that run should surface here. Norwich 2-1

St. John’s at St. Norbert
The Green Knights, at 23-5-1, have one of the top winning percentages in Division III (.810), and have had time to prepare. You want your team playing its best headed into postseason play, and St. Norbert has won seven in a row, including a run to the conference crown. St. Norbert 3-1

Bowdoin at Utica
Leaning on an inspired Pioneers squad to take the ice with some vim, vigor, and vitality after a puzzling end to the season. Utica’s last two games have not been textbook — a 4-4 tie to Manhattanville, then a 2-1 loss to the same team in the ECAC West title game — but with some time, the Pioneers should bounce back. Utica 4-1

D-III picks: March 6 (Brian Lester)

It’s hard to believe it’s already NCAA tournament time, but for 11 Division III teams, the chase for the national championship begins this week.

Three games are on the schedule for tonight, and I will be taking aim at making predictions for the first two rounds. I didn’t do too bad making picks in the regular season for Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference games. We’ll see how effective my crystal ball is as I make my postseason predictions.

First Round – Wednesday, March 6 (Campus sites)

Babson vs. Wentworth
Babson is coming off its fifth ECAC East Championship and is in the NCAA tourney for the first time since 2009. The Beavers will need goalie Zeke Testa, the ECAC East tournament MVP, to step up to be successful tonight. He made 39 saves in a 2-1 championship win. Wentworth reached the tournament a year ago, and that experience could be the difference. The Leopards won the ECAC Northeast title, and Shaun Jameson (22 assists) could play a key role in their success. Both teams have momentum but Babson is at home. Babson 3-2

Wisconsin-Eau Claire vs. St. John’s
This will be a homecoming game for St. John’s goalie Saxton Soley, who has had a phenomenal freshman year and was Mr. Hockey in Wisconsin at Eau Claire High School in 2011. You know he is going to be on top of his game for this one, and if the Johnnies can continue their current offensive pace — they have outscored opponents 49-21 since a 5-1 loss to the Blugolds on Jan. 4 — they could be poised for an upset. The Blugolds are in the tournament for the first time since 1989, and Jordan Singer (20 goals) will be one to watch for Eau Claire. He needs to have a big game for Eau Claire to win. I’m going with an upset by the MIAC team. St. John’s 4-3

Bowdoin vs. Massachusetts-Dartmouth
Bowdoin tied the single-season mark for wins in a season with 22, and the Polar Bears are making their third trip to the tournament in the last four years. Dartmouth won only 12 games, and is playing in the tourney for the fourth time. The Polar Bears seem to have the edge. They have won three consecutive games, and are playing on their home ice. Five players have scored at least 10 goals, including 17 from Daniel Weiniger, and if they can be balanced tonight, they should be in good shape. The Corsairs are 1-3 in NCAA tourney play, but have won their last three games. I give the edge to the Polar Bears. Bowdoin 3-1

Quarterfinal Round – Saturday, March 9 (Campus sites)
 
Adrian vs. Oswego State
The Bulldogs begin tournament play Saturday, and are coming off a win in the Harris Cup. Adrian has a 17-game unbeaten streak, and shouldn’t have a problem keeping that going at home this weekend. Oswego won the SUNYAC title and has won 23 games as well, but with the Bulldogs playing at home and seemingly in contention for a national title, I give the edge to Adrian. Adrian 5-3

Bowdoin vs. Utica
Utica will play the winner of the Bowdoin-Mass.-Dartmouth game, and will be the host for the game on Saturday. The Pioneers have the advantage of a bye, and won a program-best 20 games this year. Bowdoin will have a tough time winning this game on the road. Utica 5-3

St. John’s vs. St. Norbert
St. Norbert is the two-time defending champion, and should be in good shape regardless of who it plays. The Green Knights, who will take on either Eau Claire or St. John’s, are making their 14th trip to the tournament, and their experience is going to be tough to top. They average 4.1 goals per game, and will roll. St. Norbert 6-3

Babson vs. Norwich
Norwich will host the winner of the Babson-Wentworth game, and is making its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament. The Cadets won 23 games, and are looking for their first national title since 2010 and their fourth national title overall. Norwich has scored 109 goals this year, and has allowed only 44. Norwich 5-2