With BC out of the picture, I'm not following the NCAA women's hockey tournament as closely as I was last season. Still, it's an exciting event, and I will be going to Saturday afternoon's game between UNH and St. Lawrence. I love tournament hockey.
The four conference tournaments yielded four very predictable champions: UNH, Minnesota-Duluth, Harvard, and Mercyhurst. The four at-large teams are Minnesota, Wisconsin, St. Lawrence, and Clarkson.
Here are my thoughts on the bracket:
1 Harvard 8 Dartmouth
I've seen Harvard twice and their puck movement is just by far and away the best in the country. I wasn't all that impressed with Dartmouth when I saw them and I don't think they belong in the tourney anyway. HU 5 DC 1
2 Minn Duluth 7 Mercyhurst
Minn Duluth is a buzzsaw. I regret not getting a chance to see either of these teams in person this year, so this is mostly going by reading the results and stats on the web, but I'll say UMD 4 MC 2
3 UNH 6 SLU
I was disappointed with what I saw out of UNH today in the HE final. (I was rooting for PC, but I want to see UNH win the national title, so I was hoping they'd look crisper). I think they'll definitely be ready to go for this one, though... Faber is a beast. I personally am underwhelmed by St. Lawrence. UNH 3 SLU 1
4 Minnesota 5 Wisconsin
My heart says Minnesota, my head says Wisconsin, the compromise in between says home ice will make the difference. UM 3 UW 2, 2-OT
Yeah, I know, boring - I picked all four top seeds. On we go:
1 Harvard 4 Minnesota
The classic east-west tilt. Having seen both teams I'm impressed each but they are very different, style-wise. Harvard is much flashier but I think Minnesota's players are harder to knock off the puck... this is a tough call but I'll say Harvard edges out the Gophers 4-3.
2 Minn Duluth 3 UNH
I was convinced up until very recently that UNH was going all the way and winning the national title, but for some reason I'm starting to doubt it. My main reason: the WCHA is so much better than HEA that it's hard for me to think UNH is better than UMD. UMD 4 UNH 2
1 Harvard 2 Minn Duluth
The same general rule applies about conference strength... UMD is the scariest team to me and I say they'll pull it out in a tight, low scoring affair. 2-1.
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