Saturday, March 26, 2011

LISTEN LIVE to Michigan take on Colorado College in the West Regional Championship of the NCAA Tournament. Adam Brewster and Mike Lewandowski on the call.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NCAA Hockey Tournament Preview

Ok here we go, Michigan hockey is moving on to their version of the big dance and from this point on it’s win or go home. So as I’m sure you all are way past tearing up your NCAA hoops brackets, lets see if we can’t do a little better out on the ice.

East Regional – Bridgeport, CT

Yale (1) vs. Air Force (4) – Yale managed to grab the number one overall seed, which is a little bit ridiculous to me. They dominated the ECAC this season and ran through their conference tournament outscoring opponents 22-6 and 10-0 in the ECAC final four, but the ECAC is nowhere near as deep, or maybe even as strong at the top, as the other four major conferences in college hockey and Miami, BC, and North Dakota probably would have had an even better conference record. That being said, Yale is a very good hockey team. They score over four goals per game and give up less than two. Air Force looks to be yet again overmatched, as they seem to be every time they enter the tournament, but that doesn’t necessarily count them out (see Air Force 2 Michigan 0, March 27, 2009). While Air Force has given teams some good games in the past, I don’t see it this year. Prediction: Yale 5-1

Union (2) vs. Minnesota-Duluth (3) – Union also has played very good hockey out in the ECAC, which doesn’t impress me as much as it did the committee, but they did ride an 11 game unbeaten streak to the end of the regular season and only lost twice in 2011, until Colgate. Union managed to drop the Saturday and Sunday games in their ECAC quarterfinal series to the Raiders who went 11-28-3 this year. That would have been the equivalent of Michigan losing to BGSU in our CCHA quarters. Union is still a good team but a lapse like that does not bode well having to face an opponent like Duluth. These Bulldogs have had a heart-stopping season in the WCHA going to overtime 14 times overall, 13 in conference including their last loss in the WCHA tournament to Bemidji State. The NCAA tournament fosters close games and in those that required extra time UMD went 6-2-6, a pretty good OT record. I think the experience will help them in a big game situation and that will give them the edge over Union. Prediction: UMD 4-3 in OT of course

Northeast Regional – Manchester, NH

Miami (1) vs. New Hampshire (4) – Miami is on fire. They are unbeaten since January 21 and have won their last 6 by 3 goals or more. Andy Meile is playing like a man possessed and only will lose the Hobey Baker if the college hockey conspiracy the always seems to benefit the eastern half of the sport gives it to Boston College’s Cam Atkinson, or Barry Melrose gets to pick and North Dakota’s Matt Frattin steals it. But don’t make the mistake of thinking this is a one man show, Carter Camper is another Hobey Baker finalist, Riley Smith was all CCHA and the depth through the forward lines can provide scoring from everywhere. Miami is also a very physical team and at this point in the year, when players are on their last legs, the physical battle becomes a bigger factor. UNH is not necessarily a bad team either, they went 21-10-6 including a 17-6-4 mark in Hockey East and split an early season series with the Redhawks. But that was before Miami had their goaltending situation figured out. The only advantage UNH has in this game is that it is being played in their back yard. Prediction: Miami 5-1

Merrimack (2) vs. Notre Dame (3) – This is a very tough one to call. Before last weekend when Notre Dame showed its youth against Miami and looked frustrated in the third place game against the Wolverines, Merrimack looked like a great matchup for the Irish. Then at the same time Notre Dame was having an off weekend Merrimack beat UNH and made it to the Hockey East final only losing to Boston College by two and sticking with them for the whole game. Notre Dame has a lot of potential and Jeff Jackson is a fantastic hockey coach but there are a few too many kids who don’t have enough big game experience for me to trust them once they get to this point. Merrimack is in the tournament for the first time since 1988 and they will certainly be motivated to avoid the upset to the lower seeded Irish. They have shown that they can play well in the big games and won’t be going into the matchup doubting themselves after two poor performances in a conference final four. It will be a close one but I don’t think Notre Dame has it this year. Prediction: Merrimack 4-2

West Regional – St. Louis

Boston College (1) vs. Colorado College (4) – So the Eagles lost a fair bit of firepower from last year’s national championship squad but they still boast one of the best offensive records in the country at just under four goals per game. Hobey Baker candidate Cam Atkinson and his assist machine partner in crime Brian Gibbons are a one-two punch bested only by Miele and Camper. BC, as always, is all about speed. They are almost surely the fastest team in the tournament and will create so many mismatches in the offensive zone that teams will be forced to take penalties. And once you have to start trying to keep up with this team they will destroy you. CC on the other side of the ice has been up and down against high quality opponents this year, losing to Denver 4-1 before crushing them 9-2 and beating number 1 seed North Dakota 4-2 before going down 6-0 the next night to the Sioux. The Tigers are also a very big team, which does not bode well for trying to chase the Eagles up and down the ice. In short CC is just overmatched. Prediction: Boston College 5-0

Michigan (2) vs. Nebraska-Omaha (3) – The one that we all care about. Michigan is coming off a disappointing weekend at the Joe that saw them play what had to be their worst hockey of the season in a 5-2 loss at the hands of tournament bound Western Michigan, and a comforting but not overly impressive 4-2 win over Notre Dame. Shawn Hunwick didn’t play terribly in the loss but could certainly have been better and really seemed to lose his composure towards the end. It was reassuring to see him bounce back and make 42 saves against the Irish, which is his second most ever and his most in a game that didn’t go to overtime. The other major positive that the Wolverines got out of the Notre Dame game was that Louie Caporusso and Carl Hagelin each scored only 15 seconds apart; if those two players can get hot and work together well they become a scoring threat whenever they are on the ice. UNO spent a successful first season in the WCHA after leaving the CCHA last year at 21-15-2 including going 2-2 against one-seed North Dakota. Michigan split a series with the Mavericks early in the season and the two teams are within a tenth of a goal of each other in both goals against and goals for. However if you look at recent play Michigan only has one loss, albeit a bad one, in their last 10 whereas UNO are 5-5 in the same span including a sweep at the hands of Bemidji State in their first WCHA tournament series. Unless Michigan plays as poorly as they did against the Broncos, they are still the more talented team by a long shot. Prediction: Michigan 3-1

Midwest Regional – Green Bay

North Dakota (1) vs. Rensselaer (4) - In my opinion North Dakota deserved the number one overall seed in this tournament but Yale got that honor and the Sioux will have to deal with ECAC foe Rensselaer who only finished 5th in one of the weaker conferences in college hockey and were only 2-3-2 against other tournament teams, in fact the U.S. Junior team took the Engineers (yes, the Engineers) to a shootout which RPI won. North Dakota, on the other hand, did nothing but win the WCHA regular season and tournament on the back of the leading goal scorer in the NCAA, Matt Frattin. UND has the second most prolific offense in the country at 4.05 goals per game and when Frattin is on the ice there will be no one on the Rensselaer team who will be able to handle him. This should be a breeze for the Fighting Sioux. Prediction: North Dakota 5-0

Denver (2) vs. Western Michigan (3) – The most cut and dried of the 2-3 games, Western played incredibly well against Michigan and not terribly against Miami but to be honest, they benefited from a horrible Michigan performance and Miami falling asleep for a few minutes before Andy Meile felt like winning. The Broncos also had to go to a third game against Ferris State and only won that one in overtime to even get to the Joe. Denver, on the other hand, ran through their conference tournament until they ran into UND and took them to overtime in a tough loss so close to the WCHA title. How Western managed a 3 seed over New Hampshire is a little baffling to me. Prediction: Denver 4-1

So that does it for the first round, the last eight match up like this:

East Final – Yale vs. Minnesota-Duluth

Northeast Final – Miami vs. Merrimack

West Final – Boston College vs. Michigan

Midwest Final – North Dakota vs. Denver

Yale (1) vs. Minnesota-Duluth (3) – This ECAC team will be a bit of a different animal for UMD. The battle of the Bulldogs favors Yale who lead the NCAA in goals for and goals against, and Duluth will most likely not get to take advantage of their wealth of close game experience. As much as I think ECAC teams are overrated, Yale will be just too strong for UMD. Prediction: Yale 4-1

Miami (1) vs. Merrimack (2) – Miami has been in the last two Frozen Fours for a reason, and when push comes to shove they know how to get it done in the big games. As long as Goalie Cody Reichard doesn’t have a major meltdown, the offensive firepower that Miami can put out will be too much for Merrimack who will be playing in their second NCAA game since the first Bush Administration. At a certain point Merrimack just won’t have it. Prediction: Miami 4-2

Boston College (1) vs. Michigan (2) – The speed of BC is what gives them an advantage over almost every team in the country, almost. Michigan’s defensive corps is probably the fastest the Eagles will have encountered and Chad Langlais, Lee Moffie, and hopefully a healthy Brandon Burlon will have to be at the top of their games; but if they are Michigan will be able to neutralize, for the most part, the BC offense. On the other half of the ice, the Wolverines will need to take advantage of the size of Chris Brown and Kevin Lynch who should be able to win any physical battle they get into. Call me a homer but for some reason I see some stellar play by Shawn Hunwick stealing this one. Prediction: Michigan 3-2

North Dakota (1) vs. Denver (2) – This is a rematch of the WCHA final which UND managed to take in double overtime on a goal from who else but Matt Frattin. That game ended 3-2, which was probably caused by both teams playing conservatively. I don’t see the tournament game going the same way. North Dakota has a very high-powered offense but Denver has already showed that they can stay with the Fighting Sioux and in this case I think it will be a race to the last goal which will be scored, once again, by Matt Frattin. Prediction: North Dakota 6-5 in OT

That gives us a Frozen Four of:

Yale vs. Miami

North Dakota vs. Michigan

Yale (1) vs. Miami (1) – This is where we find out how sub-par the ECAC really is, Yale will come into this game without having faced a real challenge in the tournament which can sometimes lead a team to come out flat in the early parts of a game, Miami won’t need anything else. That’s not to say this will be an easy win for the Redhawks, no Frozen Four games are, but if they get a lead early in this game Yale will be chasing them around the ice for the rest of the night. Camper and Miele will have been scoring all tournament, but this is when players like Pat Cannone, Alden Hirschfeld, and Justin Vaive will come up huge. Two straight Frozen Fours for these guys will give them yet another edge over the Yale squad and Miami will battle one out into the title game. Prediction: Miami 5-3

North Dakota (1) vs. Michigan (2) – Is just getting to the Frozen Four good enough for either of these teams? No. Do both teams have enough depth and leadership to handle the pressure that college hockey’s biggest stage brings? Yes. So who has the advantage? Games like this are often decided by an amazing individual effort, but in this case I think it will be decided by a lack of one. North Dakota is a very good hockey team that puts an incredible amount of emphasis on a single player in Frattin, and up until this point he has always stepped up and delivered performances that have earned him a shot at the Hobey Baker. But at some point it wears out. Coach Berenson will have a game plan ready that will totally shut down the nation’s leading goal scorer and force the Sioux to beat Michigan from other spots. I don’t think they can do it. I will admit that there is an overwhelming bias towards Michigan in these predictions but this team has a senior class that has put together a career deserving of a shot at the national title. Prediction: Michigan 2-1

So here it is, the national title coming down to two CCHA rivals that have been battling for supremacy in the Midwest for years.

Miami (1) vs. Michigan (2) – Last year’s heartbreaking loss to the Redhawks in the regional final has left a bad taste in the mouths of Michigan hockey fans for almost a year, and whether or not the Wolverines were wronged in that game is irrelevant at this point. We just want another shot at them. But take a step back and try to look at this situation through lenses that aren’t tinted with maize and blue. Two years ago Miami fans watched as one of the most epic collapses in college hockey was capped off by a shot from the point deflecting off of one of their own players pants and fluttering like a chip-shot over then-freshman Cody Reichard. The loss, in overtime, snatched away what would have been the school’s first national title. In anything. If that wasn’t enough, look at last year, when the Redhawks made an emotional run to the Frozen four yet again, fueled by the passing of their student manager Brendan Burke, only to get hit by the unstoppable force that was the BC Eagles. Now the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul is not Goggin in Oxford and Michigan fans would certainly equal the Miami faithful at the very least. And the Wolverines would certainly put up a much better performance then either of the two that they produced when being swept earlier this year. But at what point do we finally admit that as much as we hate Miami, as much as we want to hang another national title banner up at Yost, Carter Camper, Andy Miele, and Miami have earned the right to have one. It will be close, nationally title games always, but in the end Michigan will leave the ice with another year to try to get rid of a bad taste and karma will finally swing Miami’s way. Prediction: Miami 4-3 in OT

And I get to hear about it all summer from my Redhawk brother.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

LISTEN LIVE to Michigan Take on BGSU in Game 2 of their second round CCHA Playoff series. Mike Lewandowski and Tyler Bruens on the call.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Michigan Hockey

LISTEN LIVE to Michigan take on Bowling Green State University in the second round of the CCHA tournament at 7:35. Adam Brewster, Mike Lewandowski, and Kevin Carpenter on the call.

WCBN Fundraiser Time!

The WCBN fundraiser runs now through March 20th. The WCBN fundraiser is the primary source of funding for the station, and is therefore critically important, esp. with cuts to education funding looming and college radio stations across the country being axed in tough financial times. The fundraiser is our listeners' chance to demonstrate to the University just how important keeping WCBN on the air and online is. It is especially important for WCBN Sports to show how loved it is and get a nice haul for the station. WCBN Sports is extremely grateful and privileged to be able to do what we do, and it's with the support of Michigan sports fans and college radio enthusiasts that we are able to continue broadcasting Michigan football, hockey, basketball, volleyball, baseball, and softball alongside daily sports talk shows and podcasts.

If you would like to donate to WCBN, please indicate whether online or on the phone that your donation was prompted by your SUPPORT FOR WCBN SPORTS. The best times to call are while we are LIVE on 88.3 FM. We have shows Monday-Thursday from 6-6:30 EST, and it would be so awesome if people could call in to donate while we're on the air talking sports.

Giving information below:

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Thank you so much for your love and ongoing support of WCBN Sports!

Andrew & Bill
WCBN Sports Directors

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

@WCBNSports on Twitter

Greetings from The Netherlands! I thought I'd pop in to update everyone on the WCBN Sports presence on Twitter. The official Twitter account of the station is @WCBNSports, but we also have plenty of personalities with their own accounts. The full roster:

Sports Director Andrew Goddeeris: @amgodd
Adam Wilensky: @AWilensky24
Jack Warner: @jpwarner
Matt Bernstein: @mbern24
Adam Brewster: @adam_brew
Steve Petras: @spetras
Kevin Carpenter: @kevcarpenter
Tim Rohan: @TimRohan
Everett Cook: @everettcook
Jordan Rochelson: @jrochelson
Steve Cook: @CookSW
Steve Davenport: @StebertD

Follow everybody!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Michigan VS. Michigan State

LISTEN LIVE as the Michigan Wolverines host the Michigan State Spartans at Crisler Arena at 2 pm! Joe Lunardi has the Wolverines currently "dancing" in March, a win over the Spartans would go a long way to making his prediction true. Bill Rothwell and Tyler Bruens with the call.