The NCHC Frozen Faceoff is here and at the Xcel Energy Center for the first time. I am excited to attend the games at a true hockey rink. This change of venues should also be better for fans as the slight lines at Xcel are better then the Target Center's. As we have discussed at CH3, we will miss being able to take photos and watch the games from the corners of the rink like you could at Target Center.
It should be at least three really good hockey games. The third place game could anywhere from a snoozer to a play-in game to the NCAAs all depending on the matchups. I personally hope UMD wins the first game and seals a trip to the NCAAs with that win.
North Dakota vs. St. Cloud State: The NCAA playoffs have essentially started for the Fighting Hawks a loss could doom their hopes. The Huskies are a much better team and I think they will use their defense and goaltending to get the win.
UMD vs Denver: These are two evenly matched teams even though the Pioneers have had UMDs number this season. I like the all around play the Bulldogs have shown recently and I am picking them to win in a close one.
Championship: My pick for the Champion is the Huskies. They seem to be the best all-around team and likely to be the one holding the NCHC Frozen Faceoff Champions Trophy.
Third Place game: If it is UND and DU there will be two very different levels of effort given on the rink. The Fighting Hawks need the win and Denver needs to stay healthy. The Pioneers are good enough to have this end in a tie.