Well, tourney time is here. To start things off we have the WCHA tourney, first round is this weekend. Six teams will be eliminated this weekend to set-up the frozen five (actually six) in St. Paul Minnesota next weekend. For the first time, six teams will advance (because of the expansion of the WCAH to twelve teams) and battle for the Broadmoor Trophy and entrance to the NCAA Tournament. Round one pits the No. 1 seed versus No. 12, No. 2 versus No. 11 and so on, which is how we get DU (No. 2) playing MSU (No. 11) this weekend at Magness. For complete details on the WCHA tourney see the WHCA website.
Following the first round of WCHA playoffs, the six winning teams will be re-seeded No. 1 thru No. 6 according to their regular season finish and will then advance to the 2011 Red Baron™; WCHA Final Five at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn. The Final Five will be contested March 17, 18 and 19. There will be two quarterfinal games on Thursday at 3:37 pm CT and 7:07 pm CT, two semi-final games on Friday at 2:07 pm CT and 7:07 pm CT, with the Broadmoor Trophy championship contest on Saturday at 7:07 pm CT. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeded teams for the Final Five will receive a bye on Thursday. The winner of the Broadmoor Trophy receives the WCHA's automatic berth in the NCAA Div. 1 Men's Ice Hockey championship tournament.
The WCHA announced their annual awards yesterday, March 10, 2011. A recap can be read here.
Their opinions, which I am positive, are more intelligent than mine, differ in a couple areas. Here is my nobody really cares about my opinion but here you go anyway ballot:
Player of the Year: Matt Frattin (seriously can't be anyone else, even I smart enough to know this), North Dakota; Rookie of the Year: Jason Zucker (another no-brainer but only because Jaden Schwartz, CC was injured, he "might" have made it close), Denver Coach of the Year: Dean Blais, Nebraska-Omaha (But close considering the job Gwozdecky did with such a young DU team).
First Team F-Matt Frattin, North Dakota; F-Jack Connolly, Minnesota-Duluth; F-Jason Zucker, Denver; D-Jake Gardiner, Wisconsin D-Eric Olimb, Nebraska-Omaha;(leaving Justin Schultz, Wisconsin off might seem a bit stupid, but his +/- for the season was even while Olimb was a +12 and defensemen are supposed to be graded a little bit by their defense aren't they); G-Kent Patterson, Minnesota (the Gophers MVP, and it isn't even close)
Second Team F-Jaden Schwartz, CC;F-Drew Shore, Denver (he was a +29 for those of you who scoff at this homer pick only Zucker was close at a +24); F-Jason Gregoire, North Dakota; D-Chay Genoway, North Dakota; D-Justin Schultz, Wisconsin; G-Aaron Dell, North Dakota
Third Team (lets see if we can fill this with teams not yet represented); F-Tommy Grant, Alaska Anchorage(tied for most game winning goals); F-Matt Read, Bemidji State; F-Garrett Roe, St. Could State; D-Deron Cousens, Michigan Tech (cause I feel sorry for him); D-Kurt Davis, Minnesota State; G-Sam Brittain, Denver (cause he deserved it)
All Rookie Team F-Jason Zucker, Denver; F-Jaden Schwartz, Colorado College; F-Nick Bjugstad Minnesota; D-David Makowski, Denver; D-Justins Faulk, Minnesota-Duluth; G- Sam Brittain, Denver
Considering the all the Pios on the All-Rookie team, should we ask the question? Is this DU's best recruiting class ever?
Now back to DU and this weekends match-up. It looks like this, the Pios and Mavs meet for the first time in the WCHA Playoffs, which is a bit surprising. DU hosts the first round of the WCHA Playoffs for the 8th season in a row and seek their fourth consecutive trip to the WCHA Final Five (yes actually six). The Pios won three of four games and tied in the other this season against MSU but two went into overtime and one was a one point game. For more information see the DU website. What ever you want to call it, the second season, playoff season, championship season, etc.... we can all agree it has its share of breathless moments, exhilarating periods, electrifying play, thrilling wins and is an intoxicating time of the year.