Good afternoon and welcome to Inside College Hockey's weekly chat at ESPN.com! Even though this is an off week, we've got plenty to talk about so keep the questions coming.
Did the selection committee make a mistake by not having North Dakota play in St.Paul this past weekend? Attendance for the West Regional was subpar mainly due to Minnesota missing the tournament again; but I think North Dakota as the #2 seed over St. Cloud might have helped boost attendance.
Still getting selection questions two weeks later ... crazy. I'm fine with the way the tournament was seeded. Would putting North Dakota in St. Paul boosted attendance at the X? Absolutely. But the selection committee stuck to the criteria in this instance and sent NoDak to Worcester. My guess is that they believed Wisconsin and St. Cloud State would put enough people in the seats.
I know its not going to put the Wolverines in the Frozen Four, but to make us all feel better please tell us that the goal should have counted. Thanks.
You and I can say Michigan's overtime goal/no-goal against Miami should have counted, and just about anyone who watched that sequence probably would agree that it should have counted -- in theory. Red Berenson nailed it in his postgame comments when he said that it's a no-win situation because the referee said he blew the whistle. Unfortunate that it clouds what was an excellent late-season run for Michigan.
As a Badger fan I was excited to see that UW will play upstart RIT in the semifinals. Then I read how RIT dominated New Hampshire in the regional final. Was that game a fluke or should Badger fans be worried that RIT could do the same to UW?
RIT deserves to be in Detroit; the Tigers thoroughly outplayed both Denver and New Hampshire. They've been getting great goaltending from Jared DeMichiel and they've got good balance and depth on offense. That said, Wisconsin has too much talent to get knocked off by RIT. I've got my questions about Gudmandson in goal, but I like the Badgers' mix of skill and grit.
Two Hobey questions from Rich in Chicago ...
Now that we have the Hobey Hat Trick, will there be another vote with the final 3 or has the selection been already made and will be announced on April 9th?
How much stock do you put into this whole thing about players stealing votes from each other for the Hobey (i.e. Smith with Geoffrion & the HE guys)?
The voters cast their final ballots earlier this week; the committee knows which player is the top vote-getter, but they won't tell the rest of us until next Friday.
Don't know if this answers the question regarding the voting scenario you presented, but I think voters these days are less provincial than they were a decade or so ago. With so many games on television and more information on these players, voters out East, for example, are less likely to put their weight behind an Eastern guy just because of familiarity.
Does R.I.T.'s run this year raise Atlantic Hockey's profile at all?
It does, in a sense, but most hockey fans have a ton of respect for Atlantic Hockey as a league -- in the last few years, it's produced some really good Air Force teams, the Holy Cross squad that beat Minnesota, some real strong Mercyhurst teams earlier this decade. Good things are happening in Atlantic Hockey and while the bottom half of the league is a little soft, there are six or so teams in that conference that can play with anyone in the country.
I know its early, but with North Dakota only graduating two seniors, no early departures and possibly returning Genoway, will North Dakota be the team to fear early next year?
Looking ahead, eh? I have to admit I've peeked at 2010-11, too. North Dakota seems like a lock to be among the top three teams heading into next year. They'll miss VandeVelde, but they've got an impressive group returning. And Derek Forbort, and incoming recruit who will likely be a first-round NHL draft pick in June, might be the best freshman in the country next season.
Assuming no underclassmen leave, do you think RPI has the talent to win the ECAC next year?
RPI should, at the very worst, be among the top four teams in ECAC Hockey next season. You'd be hard pressed to find a better trio of returning forwards than Chase Polacek, Brandon Pirri, and Jerry D'Amigo. I'd like to peg them as the favorites to win the league, but my friend Seth Appert will take me off his Christmas card list.
What can the NCAA do the insure that issues like the disallowed goal that marred the Midwest Regional Final don't happen again? Will there be a system of referee accountability, especially as no one has officially explained to Michigan the reason why the whistle was blown on the disallowed goal.
Good question, and I'm not sure if there's an answer at this point. Put it this way -- it wasn't a good year for officiating in college hockey and I think the quality, consistency, and accountability must be addressed during the off-season. Wouldn't be surprised if it's a hot-button issue at the coaches meetings in Florida later this month.
Last one ...
Who do you think will be the 2009-2010 NCAA Hockey National Champions?
Wisconsin will beat RIT and Boston College will beat Miami. The final will be a rematch of the 2006 national championship game in Milwaukee ... with the same result. The Badgers beat BC for the title.
That's it for now. Thanks for all the great questions. Stay tuned to www.insidecollegehockey.com for all the information you'll need leading up to the Frozen Four as well as all the news and insight from Detroit.