The last weekend of college hockey is finally upon us. The four remaining teams have all converged in Chicago for the season finale. This year, the tournament was mostly dominated by one seeds, as number one overall seed Denver cruised to two easy victories on their way to the United Center. Harvard and Minnesota-Duluth had it a little tougher, but none the less they both have remained alive. The last remaining team is a four seed in Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish upset Minnesota and then UMass-Lowell to punch their ticket.
Game 1: No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth vs. No. 3 Harvard, Thursday, April 6th, 5:00 p.m. CT on ESPN2
The first game of the night pairs Minnesota-Duluth and Harvard. UMD finished second behind Denver in their own conference, but still ended up with the number two overall seed. They are riding a seven game win streak and have already proven in this tournament they know how to win close games. Unfortunately for them, they only team with a longer win streak is Harvard. The Crimson have managed to string together 16 straight wins and are looking more and more like they can’t be beaten. Their balanced offensive attack always leaves defenses a step behind. Expect a close game, but it is hard to see Harvard being stopped right now.
Prediction: 3-2, Harvard
Game 2: No. 1 Denver vs. Notre Dame, Thursday, April 6th, 8:00 p.m. CT on ESPN2
Denver has consistently been the best team in the NCAA all year, and they have proven that time and time again. Led by World Juniors hero Troy Terry and senior defensive standout Will Butcher, the Pioneers are playing their best hockey at the right time. Having won both their tournament games by three goals, Notre Dame would have to put in a lot of effort to pull of the upset. With that said, the Irish are in Chicago for a reason, and they should have a large majority of the fan support. Hobey Baker finalist Anders Bjork has carried the team so far, and with nothing to lose, expect Notre Dame to play fast and aggressive.
Prediction: 5-3, Denver
The championship game will be this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. CT on ESPN.