College tournament season isn’t over just yet, as the NCAA men’s hockey Frozen Four is still underway with the championship game set to take place on Saturday, April 12 on ESPN.
The Frozen Four semifinals made for a thrilling night of hockey according to Sports Illustrated, with four teams battling it our for a spot in the championship game. Everything came down to the last few seconds on the frozen battleground, and each of the four teams gave their all to earn a spot in the championship.
Minnesota and North Dakota were tied at one as time ticked down in their Frozen Four matchup on Thursday night, when the Gophers finally went up a goal with 0.6 seconds left on the clock off of a frantic shot by defenseman Justin Holl. On that bit of last second heroics, Minnesota moves on to the Frozen Four finals against Union College, who is headed to their first ever national title game.
Yahoo Sports reports how Union’s trip to the Frozen Four back in 2012 ended up being more of a “glad to be here” experience for the Dutchmen. This year the team has made it’s mark in the NCAA men’s hockey tournament, and took down 2nd seed Boston College in the Frozen Four to move on to the national title game.
The Golden Eagles didn’t give up without a fight however. After Union forward Daniel Ciampani finished off a hat trick in the final minutes to put the Dutchmen up 5-3, BC came back strong, and with just over four seconds left, it was suddenly a one goal game. As Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau took the last shot to give BC the opportunity to move on to the Frozen Four final, Union goalie Colin Stevens made his 34th save of the game, shutting down the last second comeback attempt.
With these nail-biting semifinal games behind us, Minnesota and Union College will now collide in the Frozen Four final to determine who will be crowned college’s hockey champion. With these final two games being every bit as exciting as the NCAA basketball Final Four, it should make for an exciting game in Saturday’s championship matchup.
The championship game isn’t the only story following these dramatic Frozen Four finishes. Johnny Gaudreau, who is affectionately known as “Johnny Hockey”, and whose last second shot wasn’t enough to give the Golden Eagles an overtime opportunity, is up for the Hobey Baker award as college hockey’s best player. His appearance in the Frozen Four loss to Union could also be Gaudreau’s last appearance for Boston College, as he decides whether to remain at BC, or move on to the Calgary Flames who picked him up in the NHL draft.
For two straight years Boston College has exited the tournament without a championship trophy, and although the call of the NHL may be strong, Johnny Hockey still has one year of eligibility left, and perhaps the dream of a Frozen Four championship could be even stronger.
[Feature image via twincities.com, GIF via @haydenhbird]