Four teams descend upon the home of the Detroit Lions as the 2010 Frozen Four begins today at Ford Field. The tournament features traditional powers, a team seeking redemption and an underdog from the state of New York. The lone Colorado Avalanche representative is Massachusetts native Paul Carey. Carey was playing in the United States Hockey League when Boston College won the Frozen Four in Denver in 2008. The sophomore forward hopes he can help return the Eagles to the top of the college hockey world.
Frozen Four Schedule
RIT vs Wisconsin -- Thursday @ 3:00 PM MST -- ESPN2
Boston College vs Miami -- Thursday @ 6:30 PM MST -- ESPN2
Championship Game -- Saturday @ 5:00 PM MST -- ESPN
Miami RedHawks (CCHA)
Miami is the number one overall seed in the tournament. They held off feisty Alabama-Huntsville in their opening game of the tournament 2-1 and beat rival Michigan in double overtime 3-2 to advance to the Frozen Four. This is the RedHawks second straight trip to the Frozen Four. Miami had a 3-1 lead late in the third period over Boston University in the championship game in 2009, before the Terriers tied it up and eventually won the game in overtime on a Colby Cohen marker.
Not only are the RedHawks seeking redemption for last year's disappointment, they are also playing with heavy hearts. Brendan Burke, son of Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, died in a car crash in February. The younger Burke was a member of the Miami RedHawks hockey team staff.
If Miami wins in the Frozen Four, it will be the first time for the program. Justin Mercier played for the 2009 RedHawks squad. He is currently suiting up for the Lake Erie Monsters. Other notable alumni include San Jose's Dan Boyle, Randy Jones, Kevyn Adams, Brian Savage and Randy Robitaille.
Boston College (HE)
Boston College is looking for their fourth national championship. The Eagles are the reigning Hockey East playoff champion and defeated Alaska-Fairbanks 3-1 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. They defeated the Yale Bulldogs, in a high scoring affair (9-7), to advance to Detroit.
The Eagles feature seven double digit goal scorers, led by Cam Atkinson with 27. Paul Carey, who was a Colorado Avalanche draft pick in 2008, is sitting on 20 points this season for BC. The sophomore has doubled his point totals from his freshman campaign and has provided solid depth to a talented Eagles squad. Carey missed out on the Northeast Regional final due to illness.
The Eagles have been led for the last 16 years by head coach Jerry York. He leads all active coaches in wins with 848. Two of BC's championships have been won in the state of Colorado. They beat Dartmouth 4-3 in 1949 in Colorado Springs and defeated Notre Dame 4-1 in 2008 in Denver. Some notable alumni include Brian Gionta (Montreal Canadiens), Bill Guerin (Pittsburgh Penguins), Brooks Orpik (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Rob Scuderi (Los Angeles Kings).
The Badgers are looking to tie conference rivals Denver and North Dakota with their seventh NCAA championship. They last won the tournament in 2006 in Milwaukee when they defeated Boston College 2-1. To advance to Detroit the Badgers edged Vermont 3-2 and topped St. Cloud State 5-3.
Wisconsin features Hobey Hat Trick finalist Blake Geoffrion. Geoffrion is property of the Nashville Predators and is the grandson of former Montreal Canadien Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion and great grandson of Howie Morenz. Geoffrion leads the Badgers in goals with 27 and he hopes to add a national championship to polish off his college career. Brendan Smith (Detroit Red Wings) led all defensemen in the country in scoring with 47 points. He'll also be one to watch as the Badgers take the ice this evening.
Head coach Mike Eaves won a championship as Badgers captain in 1977 (along with current Denver head coach George Gwozdecky). He has been at the helm of the Badgers since the 2002-03 season. In addition to Eaves, other notable Badgers include Dany Heatley (San Jose Sharks), Chris Chelios, Mike Richter, and Brian Rafalski (Detroit Red Wings).
Rochester Institute of Technology (AHA)
RIT stunned the college hockey world when they knocked off the number two overall seed Denver in the first round of the NCAA tournament 2-1 and then dumped New Hampshire and Hobey Baker finalist, Bobby Butler (Ottawa Senators), 6-2 in the East Regional final. This is the first trip to the Frozen Four for RIT and the team has only been Division I since 2005.
Wayne Wilson has coached the team for 10 years. The club has previously won championships in Division II in 1983 and Division III in 1985. Detroit native, Cameron Burt, leads the Tigers offensively with 47 points. Yet, goaltender Jared DeMichiel has been the story early in the tournament for the Tigers. He shut down a high flying Denver team and managed to keep the potent New Hampshire Wildcats in check.
Hobey Hat Trick
The 2010 Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced on Friday to one of these student athletes:
Bobby Butler, SR, New Hampshire (HE) - Ottawa Senators
Blake Geoffrion, SR, Wisconsin (WCHA) - Nashville Predators
Gustav Nyquist, SO, Maine (HE) - Detroit Red Wings
Boston University defenseman, Matt Gilroy, won the award in 2009. Some past winners include current Av Kevin Porter (2008), Matt Carle (2006), Ryan Miller (2001), Chris Drury (1998), and Paul Kariya (1993).