For the edification and (equally likely) amusement of college hockey fans everywhere, the USCHO staff predicts the outcome of this year’s championship.
Mike Machnik, Staff Analyst
The Wolverines and Wildcats are on emotional highs after big wins last week, and both clubs have good special teams. The edge goes to UNH with four of the nation’s best forwards at both ends of the ice, but they’ll need to beat Turco, Muckalt and an experienced NCAA squad to win. New Hampshire 5, Michigan 3.
Jeff Maund and the Fabulous Frenchmen have led the Buckeyes to a season to remember, but the Eagles are playing the best hockey of anyone around. Reasoner and Gionta are always threats, but the Eagles’ second line could be the difference with shorthanded maven Jeff Farkas. Three rookies on defense would normally spell doom for anyone, but BC’s trio have quickly provided skill and solid play far beyond their years. Speed kills, and the Eagles have plenty of it. Boston College 5, Ohio State 2.
An All-Hockey East final is just what the Beantown organizers are looking for, and they’ll get it as tickets are scalped for $200 and up. BC is still smarting from a 9-3 wakeup call against UNH in the teams’ final meeting, but since that game, the Eagles have gone 12-1-2. Both clubs can score goals at will, but defense wins championships, and Reasoner fills the space where his Hobey would have gone with an NCAA trophy. Boston College 5, New Hampshire 3.
Tim Brule, Project Coordinator
UNH-UM: The key to this game is who can control the tempo, and Michigan’s defense and goaltending prevail. UM 3, UNH 2.
BC-OSU: The upstart Buckeyes don’t have enough to hold off the hometown Eagles, who perch atop this tree. BC 5, OSU 3.
UM-BC: Before a packed house, the Eagles come out flying and soar to the national championship. BC 4, UM 1
Adam Wodon, Special Correspondent
Coming into the tournament, almost anyone had a chance, but almost everyone had a flaw. For Boston College, it’s inexperience, but the Eagles had the most talent in the field even before the top seeds fell out. And perhaps the experience many of their players have gotten in World Junior tournaments is paying off.
There will a lot of hitting, and BC will tough out a 4-3 win over Ohio State. Also, Michigan has the experience to contain New Hampshire, but it won’t be easy — a 3-2 overtime win for the Wolverines.
In the final, it’s another 4-3 score for the Eagles, who become the sixth different team to win the championship in the last six years. Marty Reasoner will again be a non-factor, and then he’ll go pro.
Dave Hendrickson, Hockey East Correspondent
BC-OSU: Boston College over Ohio State, 4-3 in overtime.
UNH-Michigan: At the continued request of UNH fans, I’ll be giving the Wildcats good luck by (wink, wink) picking against them. Officially, it’s (wink, wink) Michigan, 4-2. (Honesty forces me to note that a week ago in an office pool, I went with a no-wink BC-UNH championship game. I like my chances.)
BC-Michigan: BC 5-3. 49 years after ’49, the Eagles are champs again.
Scott Brown, Chief Editor
If you put Ohio State and Boston College in an empty building and let ’em play for pride, I’d give it even money either way. But this semifinal will be at the FleetCenter for a lot more than that, and you can count on Eagle-backers to come out in droves. BC 4, OSU 3. In the other semi, Michigan’s got the experienced playoff goalie, and that’s all it takes to turn the game. Michigan 5, New Hampshire 3.
That means the championship comes down to the hot hand of BC versus the old hand of Michigan. BC hasn’t been to the top in a while, but with Gionta and Reasoner clicking, that ends Saturday. BC 4, Michigan 3.
Paula C. Weston, CCHA Correspondent
They’re still the Rodney Dangerfield of college hockey: no respect. There’s a lot of buzz about the Wolverines and New Hampshire, and about the only top seed — Boston College — to make it in. Even on the USCHO message board, every poster claims the title for some team other than Ohio State. One said, “Every Cinderella story must end.” The way I remember my fairy tales, Cinderella’s story ended with, “And they lived happily ever after.” Ohio State 4, Boston College 2.
The Wolverines played the game of their lives against North Dakota. Matt Herr was on fire. Marty Turco pulled out all the stops. And the crowd didn’t hurt, either. New Hampshire has more firepower than Michigan. As much as I’d love an OSU-Michigan title game, I think New Hampshire will prevail. New Hampshire 4, Michigan 3.
Then, while New Hampshire will have the crowd on its side, Ohio State thrives on being the underdog. The Buckeyes have won in hostile environments all season — they positively feed off of it. And New Hampshire has a sterling offense, but Ohio State’s defense doesn’t give up much these days. Said Ron Mason after losing to Ohio State, “They’ve got as good a chance as anybody. They’ve got a goalie with a hot hand. If he can continue to play the way he’s playing, they can beat anybody.” Who am I to argue with Ron Mason? Ohio State 4, New Hampshire 3.
Lee Urton, Media Relations
The Buckeye put on a great performance against a Michigan State team they were very familiar with, but Boston College has too many weapons. BC 4, OSU 2. And New Hampshire makes it two from the nation’s strongest conference this season, thrashing Michigan in the other semifinal. UNH 6, Michigan 2.
Then, in the title game, it’s BC 4, UNH 3. Just a feeling.
Jayson Moy, ECAC Correspondent
UNH-Michigan: UNH’s explosive offense has to go through Michigan, with all of its championship experience. While this one will be close, there is Marty Turco standing in the way. Michigan 4, UNH 3 (OT).
BC-OSU: Two teams with great talent and intensity. OSU has only lost to one team lately, and earned its redemption last Saturday. Meanwhile, BC is full of fire and determination. It’ll be a tough one, but I like the way BC is playing. BC 4, OSU 3 (OT).
BC-Michigan: E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles, Eagles, Eagles. BC 5, Michigan 4 — in three OTs.