The NCAA has to be happy with the four teams that made it to Lake Placid – the hottest team in Division III and three squads within a reasonable driving distance.
They’ll be no miracle this year – all four teams can with the title. No Cinderellas allowed.
St. Norbert – Is this finally the Green Knight’s year? No Middlebury to spoil the party. St. Norbert beings a 27 game unbeaten streak into the weekend, which includes a four overtime wins. In other words, Tim Coghlin’s team is finding ways to win. It helps when you have a backstop like Kyle Jones, who has absolutely sick numbers (1.18 GAA, .945 save percentage).
Norwich – The Cadets won their annual post-season tournament, also known as the ECAC East Championships. Norwich brings a high-powered offense that’s averaging nearly five goals a game. This is the first trip to the Frozen Four for the Cadets since 2004, which means for the first time since 1996, no Cadet currently on the roster has played in one.
Elmira – If there is a surprise (at least to me, anyway) in this tournament, it’s the Soaring Eagles. Not as big a shock as the team that overachieved in 2006, but I had Elmira fourth this season in my ECAC West picks, and the Soaring Eagles wound up ranked fourth in the nation. But me of little faith, I thought Elmira was ripe for an upset in the Quarterfinals against Trinity, because the Soaring Eagles had just two wins in their last eight games. But they smoked the Bantams 6-1. I’m a believer now.
Plattsburgh – This is also Plattsburgh’s first trip to the Frozen Four since 2004. The Cardinals sport a high-powered offense (4.79 goals per game), a great goaltender (freshman Bryan Hince has been a difference maker) and excellent special teams, all the ingredients for a championship.
I’ll be there along with USCHO’s Scott Biggar and Russell Jaslow to bring you all the action. We’ll also be helping out with color and in-between periods work on the NCAA/CSTV webcasts on Saturday, so be sure to tune in by going to NCAA.com.