23 Vees alumni on 16 teams started the 2014 NCAA men’s ice hockey tournament but now only eight alumni and four teams remain. Boston College, Minnesota, North Dakota and Union are the four teams that have made it to the Frozen Four, which is set for April 10th & 12th in Philadelphia.
No real surprises in this year’s tournament, as Minnesota was a 1 seed, Boston College a 2 seed and Union was seeded 3rd in their respective regions. North Dakota was somewhat of a “surprise” if you go by their 4 seed but they beat two good teams in Wisconsin (Big 10 Champions) and Ferris State (28-10-3), en route to their 20th Frozen Four appearance.
So two former long-time WCHA rivals in Minnesota and North Dakota will face each other in one national semi-final, and Boston College and Union square-off in the other. That Minnesota-North Dakota game will feature no less than five former Vees, with the potential of seven Vees alumni cracking either line-up. Minnesota boasts the Reilly brothers (Connor, Mike and Ryan) and North Dakota has Mark MacMillan, Brendan O’Donnell, Wade Murphy and Troy Stecher on its roster.
Boston College features former Vees rear-guard and Senior Isaac MacLeod who wears an ‘A’ for Jerry York’s Eagles. MacLeod and the Eagles won the 2012 National Championship and the Eagles are looking to win their third title in the last five years. Union is no slouch, as they made it to the Frozen Four in 2012 and were the 2014 ECAC regular season champions. The Dutchmen have quite a few BCHL alumni on their squad, including former Vee Noah Henry, who finished his BCHL career in Powell River.
As mentioned, 23 Vees alumni started the tournament and only eight remain. Teams that are out and featured former Vees were:
St. Cloud State (Joey Benik, Joey Holka and Garrett Milan)
Notre Dame (Chad Katunar, Mario Lucia and Steven Fogarty)
Robert Morris (Rob Mann)
Wisconsin (*Joel Rumpel and Jedd Soleway)
Quinnipiac (Mike Garteig and Travis St.Denis)
Minnesota State, Mankato (Nick Buchanan, Bryce Gervais and Sean Flanagan) Denver (Joey Laleggia)
*Rumpel is one of 10 finalists for this year’s Hobey Baker Award. College Hockey Inc has this rundown on the top 10 and you can go to www.hobeybakeraward.com to vote for Rumpel; voting closes April 2nd.
Again, all the action gets going on Thursday, April 10th, with the two semi-finals from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Both games will air on ESPN 2 for those with satellite, otherwise you’ll need to search out a good internet stream or radio broadcast.