Championship game picks, March 18

Well, it’s been a weird season in the WCHA but we’re now down to the two finalists who everybody thought would be here before the season started. Of course, the season didn’t exactly play out that way — both Tech and BG struggled out the gate before finding their footing in time to make playoff runs at the end of the season.

The new WCHA format has made both teams play some extra games to get here, but it should be quite the doozy from a packed house in Houghton, Mich. One team goes to the NCAA tournament and another goes home. Here’s our picks:

Jack: I’m torn about this one. On the one hand, the Falcons are on a roll right now. On the other, the Huskies will have the full force of the craziness of MacInnes Arena behind it. Bowling Green is looking for its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1990, but my gut tells me they’re going to have to wait another year. Huskies 4-2

Sean: The Falcons are clicking at the right time and goalie Chris Nell is arguably the turnaround player of the year after a rough start to the season. Michigan Tech will have home ice behind them, but a low scoring game will end in Bowling Green’s favor. Falcons 2-1

36 COMMENTS

  1. Eichel wins. One and done in college hockey for him. Watched him 10+ games this season, no other compares. That comes from a guy who watches a ton of western (B1G, NCHC, WCHA) college hockey.
    Shout out to Hildebrand; best goalie in D1 hockey.

    • LPH, MSU lost to BU 1-0, I came to Boston and watched Sparty score 1 goal v BU and UML, we let up 3. Our bed is made and we gotta beat MI and MN to get in. Rodent Dylan Larkin is the Hobey as the best player in College Hockey, but not POY in the B1G. Jake Hildebrand…Ponder that…

  2. Speaking of players that are critical to a team’s success, you guys should really watch a UND game sometime. Zane McIntyre is backstopping the #1 team in the country at the moment. He also has the highest save % and GAA in UND history. This year he has 1.99 GAA, 93.14 SV %, and 25 wins.

    It’s a foregone conclusion that Eichel will win, but Zane has to be in the conversation for the top 10.

    • I’ve watched several North Dakota games, as I am the NCHC columnist. I know McIntyre’s value, but McIntyre is 13th nationally among goalies. He’s not even the best goalie in his conference statistically, as Jay Williams has a better GAA and save percentage, so I don’t see McIntyre making the top 10 list.

      • I’m sorry, but if you think Jay Williams is a better goaltender than McIntyre, I don’t know what I can offer to you for help. Friday’s win against Williams and Miami was a perfect example. 25 wins lead the country and he’s 13th GAA and 7th in SV% against the toughest competition.

        • i said STATISTICALLY better. Big difference. Williams is fifth nationally in GAA and barely trails McIntyre in save percentage. Hobey Baker announces a top 10 finalists. Most will be forwards. McIntyre is 13th among goalies in GAA, so I don’t see him (or Williams, for that matter) getting a nod. if any goalie does, it will be either Yale’s Lyon, Minnesota State’s Williams, or Michigan Tech’s Philips.

          • Agree with Lyon, statistically best goalie in the country. I kind of doubt if he will crack the top 10 in Hobey though.

          • Funny part of this convo to me is that I played against both Lyon and McIntyre in HS. Both were phenomenal then and it’s funny to see them again competing for honors at the national level

          • Candace, did you look at the Hobey voting results? Bounce your opinions off @SchlossmanGF, he should be able to enlighten you.

          • I’m sorry they’re so rude to you. They drive me nuts. You’re a skilled journalist, intelligent person and I’ve enjoyed your articles for years.

            Remember what you did to BroncoHeard? I would use that approach. :)

      • Statistics don’t tell the whole story. Williams splits time with Ryan McKay depending on which way the wind is blowing in Oxford. Zane is the undisputed starter and has the most wins(also a UND regular season record) for the best team in the country per mathematical and opinion polls(currently), in the toughest conference in the country.

        Also, Zane is up for(and has a great chance to win) the player of the year in the NCHC and is the goaltender of the year.

        If all we’re looking at is purely statistics then yes Zane isn’t in the conversation, but if we’re looking at those pesky little things called wins and being a “difference maker” he absolutely is. If we want to fall back on stats alone then there’s no point in having a Hobey Baker committee.

        A side note regarding Austin Ortega:He didn’t even make the 1st or 2nd team in the NCHC as one of the 6 best FORWARDS in the league. I’d be astonished if he even sniffed the top 10 best PLAYERS in the country.

        • You can’t reason with people unable to reason. Statistics are helpful only if they are not the sole argument. Here’s the problem with relying on statistics. Two different goalies. One has a NCAA career GAA and save% of 2.43 and .915. The other has 2.56 and .912. The stats say they should be comparable, right?? The first is Ed Belfour. The second? Alex Kangas. Those that keep going back to statistics, please tell me how they are even remotely close to comparable!!

        • You probably don’t look beyond North Dakota. Let’s see, Minnesota State has been 1 or 2 for much of the second half, Michigan Tech is having it’s best season in years and has been in top five since November, Yale is at home for this round of the ECAC and is in Pairwise position. Those teams are all having just as much success and their goalies are better in the stats.

  3. Third guy in the hobey hat trick has to be Laleggia in my opinion. Gets it done on both ends of the ice. Is a lock-down defender, blocks shots, great point man, and racking up huge offensive numbers for a D-man

  4. This is a complete joke,do these “columnists” even cover the NCHC. We all know who the best goalie is in the league. GO SIOUX!

    • Oh North Dakota fans Yes, I cover the NCHC, which is why, on a list of 10 NATIONAL finalists, I think it’s more likely that LaLeggia and Czarnik make it than anyone else. .

    • Don’t let facts cloud your judgment. McIntyre is 7th is save percentage, with 1 shutout. Nationally there are a lot better goalies.

      • You want to talk about the “best goalie in the nation” statistically?? His team played three games against TWO teams in the top 16 currently. Is it fair to say his numbers are better than Zane’s? Yes, but it’s also fair to say he didn’t face the same caliber of competition. This is where the frustration comes from for UND fans. This award isn’t supposed to be all about statistics and yet that’s the case here. Even in the columnist reasoning there’s no logic, only argue numbers that aren’t comparable on their own.

  5. McIntyre > Williams, not even close. McIntyre plays every game, meanwhile Williams didn’t even start their first playoff game. That’s why he was 1st team and up for NCHC PotY. I also think Brodzinski and Moore have better chances than Williams, Massa or Czarnik

  6. Has anyone bothered to keep up with the actual fan voting numbers for the award? Eitchel garnered a measley 2 k votes, two or three others were up over 25,000.

    • The fan voting is for fun. Its results comprise 1% of the actual ballots, which means in the first round of voting by the 59 D-I coaches, less than a half a vote goes to the fans.

  7. Can anyone explain why Mike Reilly isn’t getting more attention? He does everything for that team and they would be a complete disaster without him. Also he has 42 points in 36 games. That leads all defenseman. Why shouldn’t he be a finalist?

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