2023 Frozen Four Heads To Tampa


Sofia Nevala , Reporter

The Frozen Four is finally here. 61 teams became 16, 16 became 8, and finally 8 became 4. Since October, college hockey teams have battled for the right to go to Tampa, Florida to face off in the NCAA Frozen Four and in the end, lift the trophy crowning them the 2023 National Champions. Minnesota, Boston University, Quinnipiac and Michigan are the four lucky teams that have survived the rest and earned the right to play for a national championship. 

During a boring opening round of the tournament, the winning teams outscored their opponents 52-5. This caused many college hockey fans to wonder if a new tournament selection system was needed. The quarterfinals were a bit more exciting, with Cornell scoring late in an attempted comeback against the BU Terriers, ultimately falling short by a final score of 2-1. Despite the score of 4-1, Minnesota and St. Cloud State played a hard fought game, with the Gophers advancing to their second straight Frozen Four. Quinnipiac and Ohio St. also ended 4-1, with the QU Bobcats making their first Frozen Four since 2016, the third under head coach Rand Pecknold. Michigan and Penn State generated the most exciting regional final, a close game that gave the fans what they all wanted, including overtime. A late 3rd period powerplay goal from Adam Fantilli for the Wolverines tied the tilt at 1 and sent the contest to OT.  With the only even strength goal of the game, Michigan won in the first minute of the overtime period. This sudden victory, 1-goal differential was a refreshing final score that had all been missing during the tournament. 

As we look ahead to Tampa, hockey fans will make their way down to the sunshine state for BU to face Minnesota in the first semifinal, a game the Gophers are favored to win because of their #1 national ranking. Despite this, BU will not go home easily. Coming off a Hockey East title, the Terriers cruised to a win against Western Michigan and continued their dominance against Cornell, a team which defeated the defending champion Denver Pioneers in the first round. Both teams are also strengthened by their respective Hobey Baker Finalists. For Minnesota, Matthew Knies has 21 goals and 41 points, playing in all 38 games for the Gophers. While on the other side, Lane Hutson from BU, has 15 goals and 48 points having played in all but one game for the Terriers. 

On the other half of the bracket, Michigan will face off against Quinnipiac in a battle of the skunk bears versus the Bobcats. Both teams are coming off impressive seasons and also have a combined 3 of the 10 Hobey Baker Finalists. Forward Adam Fantilli of Michigan, along with forward Collin Graf and goalie Yaniv Perets from Quinnipiac. Quinnipiac should definitely have the goaltending advantage as Perets has the lowest goals against average in the NCAA, though he will face the NCAA points leader in Adam Fantilli and the high octane Wolverines.

While all four teams all have the same opportunity, Minnesota is projected to win it all. After losing in the semifinals last year, it is an understatement to say that the Gophers are coming back with unfinished business. The question remains: can an up and coming BU team take them down? Based on the Terriers recent success, the answer is yes. On the other side Quinnipiac sustained success throughout the season, winning 32 games. Michigan played in an arguably much tougher conference and defeated Minnesota on the road for the Big Ten tourney title. Advantage Michigan? With Yaniv Perets between the pipes, the Bobcats will have a great opportunity to take down the Wolverines in a one-and-done contest. Who will prevail?  Watch and enjoy the games on April 6th and 8th.