THE PIPELINE SHOW: NCAA National Championship special
This week’s episode focused on the NCAA National Championship bracket as we take a regional by regional approach to setting the stage towards the 2019 Frozen Four and college hockey supremacy.
The show begins with the traditional Question of the Day and an update on the playoffs across the Canadian Hockey League before getting into the guest list and Coming Down the Pipe.
NCAA Northeast Regional Preview
The four teams competing in Manchester, NH are the UMass Minutemen who will face Harvard plus the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame who tackle the Clarkson Golden Knights. My guest to preview the action is Dave Hendrickson who writes for USCHO.com.
First we look at the top seeded Minutemen and how they come into the tournament with big expectations but little experience. The opening round tilt against Harvard will pit two of the top players in college hockey into a head-to-head match up as Cale Makar skates against Adam Fox.
The other game sees the veteran Irish and the higher seeded Golden Knights. Will the experience of getting to the national title game last year be enough for Notre Dame to escape a 1st round exit against a club with more wins, more offence and stronger defensive numbers not to mention one of the most sought after free agents in Nico Sturm?
NCAA West Regional Preview
Fargo, North Dakota plays host to the West regional of the tournament which sees the top seeded team in the entire country in action. CBS Sports Network analyst Dave Starman breaks down the two opening round games.
We begin with the top ranked Huskies of St. Cloud State who are heavy favorites in their game against American International. The Huskies have depth and offence and speed with a number of household names on the roster while the Yellow Jackets are coming off of their first ever conference title and have to ratchet their level of play even higher this weekend to have a chance.
The other game should one of the better first round collisions in the entire 16-team tournament this year as Ohio State prepares for the University of Denver. Both the Buckeyes and the Pioneers have been to the Frozen Four in the last couple of years so there is experience up and down the rosters. Who has the advantage coming into this weekend though?
NCAA East Regional Preview
The controversial regional once again sees the #4 seed playing what is essentially a home game as Providence College looks to repeat the same scenario from their 2015 national championship. Jimmy Connelly of USCHO.comis our guide to the Rhode Island regional.
The Friars played well for most of the year but faltered in the Hockey east conference playoffs so have the “disadvantage” of being the #4 seed. Meanwhile, the top seeded club is Minnesota State who have never had success in late March so many people think this could be an upset special. The Mavericks will have something to say about that though.
The other game sees the Big Red of Cornell squaring off with Northeastern. Cornell will be without their starting netminder, Matthew Galajda, so that’s not good. Meanwhile, the Huskies have been riding a wave of momentum since capturing their second straight Beanpot title.
NCAA Midwest Regional Preview
Nothing says ‘Midwest’ quite like Allentown, Pennsylvania and that’s exactly where the final regional will be played this weekend. Helping preview the four participants is Adam Wodon from College Hockey News.
First up are the defending national champions, the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, who are heavy favorites to win the regional and return to the Frozen Four. The Bulldogs have big game experience having been to back-to-back national title games and they come into this year’s tournament as NCHC champs as well.
Meanwhile, they square off against Bowling Green and while the Falcons shouldn’t be overlooked in a one game scenario, they will definitely be the underdogs going in.
The other tilt features familiar tournament club Quinnipiac against the feel good story of the year; Arizona State. On paper, the Bobcats have the edge in several categories but no one can deny that the Sun Devils have earned their spot in the big dance despite being an independent program without a conference to play in. The big question now is, after a month of just practice, is ASU ready for the biggest game of their Division I lives?
Guy Flaming is the host of The Pipeline Show, a year round, 100% prospect orientated podcast now in its 14th season. Since 2006, the mandate of the program has been to introduce the audience to the future of the NHL and that is accomplished every week by speaking with the top players, coaches, general managers, scouts and media that junior and college hockey have to offer. It is free to subscribe to The Pipeline Show and is available via iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, Spreaker, the Podcast App and www.thepipelineshow.com