Thursday, April 28, 2011

Union Finds A 3rd Goaltender: Dillon Pieri

Union's search for a third goaltender has ended. Sorry guys, it's not going to be Kyle Anderson. The man selected for the job is Dillon Pieri. This was confirmed by Chris Heisenberg.

Pieri is from Needham, Massachusetts (pretty sure) and played this past season for the Rivers School and the Boston Advantage Midget Major team. Both teams are very high level programs. Pieri is also listed around 6'2" and 180 pounds. He was born in 1992, so he will be one of the youngest guys on the team.

While I couldn't find his stats from the Rivers School (who went 12-15-1 this season), I did find his stats from the Boston Advantage (click here). In 20 games he went 6-8-5 with a 2.80 GAA and .904 save percentage. Pretty decent numbers in a very competitive league.

Pieri will definitely be the third goalie for the Dutchmen, and will serve his main purpose in practice. He seems like a good choice for this role considering he played in two very competitive leagues that produce many D-I players. But who knows what will happen. Maybe after learning from goalie coach Jason Tapp he can work his way up and get some playing time. Just look at what Michigan's Shawn Hunwick did in his career.

Either way, Pieri will be a part of something special and will be getting a great education at the same time.

For the release and some quotes from Pieri click here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

College Hockey Video of the Week (4/25/11): 1985 National Championship Game Broadcast - RPI vs. Providence

Since Coach Leaman announced that he will be leaving Union for Providence, I figured I'd show Providence videos this week.

These three videos are actual footage from the last time the Friars made the Frozen Four and National Championship game.

The 1985 Frozen Four sounds like it was a classic with both semifinal games being decided in triple overtime, and the championship game was a 2-1 affair won by RPI.

You got to love the old school TV broadcast, the Hannibal Lecter-like facemasks, and definitely the Providence full hockey pants. I think Leaman should definitely bring back the full pants.

Also, take a look at #7 for RPI (1:20 mark of third video). It's Mark Jooris, who is the father of Union freshman forward Josh Jooris. It's definitely a little weird seeing a #7 and the name Jooris on the back of a RPI jersey. And look out for Tim Army, who is the coach that Leaman is replacing at Providence.



First Period play

Final Seconds

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The End Of An Era

The Nate Leaman Era has officially ended. It was an exciting era, especially in the latter half, which saw Union become an ECAC power and a nationally respected program. If you have to credit one person for all of this success, it has to be Nate Leaman. He is the reason why Union Hockey is no longer a joke, and what makes my blog (and other media sources covering the team) and the rest of Dutch Nation relevant. And for that I and the rest of the fans are extremely grateful for Nate Leaman. So, thank you Nate for everything you have done here.

Even though I wanted Leaman to stay, I understand why he left and I think it is the correct move for him. To be able to coach in Hockey East is a tremendous opportunity considering it is one of the three premiere leagues in college hockey. The conference has produced three of the past four national champions, while an ECAC team hasn't won the national championship since 1989 (Harvard). Another factor is that Providence offers athletic scholarships, while Union does not. This will allow Leaman to recruit higher end players. In other words, moving from the ECAC to Hockey East is a big upgrade.

Leaman's new job will be another "building process." Providence Hockey has been dormant for a number of years and has been at the bottom of the Hockey East standings for a number of years. If Leaman is able to bring the Friars back to prominence, who knows what that means for him. Not to look too far into the future, but BC's Jerry York and BU's Jack Parker are not getting any younger, and if Leaman is able to prove himself in Hockey East like he did in the ECAC maybe he will be considered to take over these power house programs. If you look at all-time great coaches like Jerry York and Ron Mason they have both coached three teams (York: Clarkson, Bowling Green, Boston College; Mason: Lake Superior, Bowling Green, Michigan State), and they each moved up the coaching ranks during their careers and ended up having huge success in their third stop. So, maybe Leaman's time at Providence is just one stop closer to winning a national championship at a big program.

While the terms of Leaman's new contract are undisclosed, you have to assume that he will be getting a major raise in pay. Coach has just started his family, so money is a factor and you can't blame him for that. Some people are blaming the administration for not increasing his pay, but you have to remember that this is Union College. This is a school where academics is by far the number one priority, and while I would like to see every penny put towards the hockey program it is simply not an option. It is impossible to pay coaches at Union like coaches at Michigan, Boston College, or other bigger schools. These kinds of schools get revenue from other sports like basketball and football that help fund the hockey programs.

While this program technically is a D-I program, it really can't be treated like it. They cannot offer athletic scholarships and there isn't any outside monetary support to help the program (even though the Garnet Blades does a great job). So people ask, why is Union Hockey D-I anyways? That is a question that I can't really answer. Personally, looking back on it I really don't understand it. Was it to compete with RPI? Perhaps. Who knows? Maybe if Nate Leaman never came along we would be a having a conversation right now on whether the program should go back to D-III. But, we're not so let's just enjoy what we have because it's not going to change.

Now, on to Coach Bennett. I think the immediate hire of Rick Bennett was absolutely the correct move. He's a familiar face that the players like a respect, and knows where this program has come from. Bennett understands what it's going to take to win here and he will follow in the steps of Coach Leaman. I expect the Dutchmen to continue their recent success under Coach Bennett over the next few years. The question I have is whether this program will continue to succeed four years down the road. That will be the true measure of Bennett's success. This success will not only rely on Bennett, but on the assistant coaches he hires within the next few weeks.

Union fans, do not be worried! There are still great times ahead for this program. Yes, our Spencer Penrose Award winning coach and All-American goalie are gone, but their replacements will fill the void. They might be unproven, but know what it takes to win at Union which means to outwork their opponent. I guarantee that Coach Bennett and Troy Grosenick will work as hard, if not harder, than Coach Leaman and Keith Kinkaid and will continue the success we've enjoyed for the past few years.

I believe in Bennett and Grosenick and so should you!

For more on Leaman's departure and Bennett's hiring go to:
Ken Schott's Blog
USCHO --> Leaman to Providence
USCHO --> Bennett hired
College Hockey News
Providence Journal Blog
Union Athletics
Providence Athletics
Times Union (Sean Martin)
Times Union (Mark McGuire)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Videos From The Nate Leaman - Rick Bennett Press Conference

Here are two videos from today's press conference where Rick Bennett was named the new head coach and Nate Leaman announced he is leaving Union for Providence.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Keith Kinkaid OFFICIALLY Signs With NJ Devils

On Monday, Keith Kinkaid officially signed an entry-level contract with the New Jersey Devils. At his press conference at Messa Rink, Kinkaid and Coach Leaman talked about the sophomore goaltender's decision to leave school early.

For more check out:
Union Athletics
Ken Schott's Blog
New Jersey Devils
In Lou We Trust Blog

I already gave my opinion a few days ago. Here are videos of Kinkaid and Leaman at the press conference:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Seniors Dominate Awards At End of Season Banquet

On Sunday at the Mohawk Golf Club, Union held their end of the year banquet and handed out post-season awards. The awards were pretty much swept by the senior class.

Here are the results:

Most Valuable Player: Adam Presizniuk (third time)
Coaches' Award: Brock Matheson
Charles N. Morrison Award: Luke Cain
Thomas VanArden Dukehart Award: Stephane Boileau (third time)
Rookie of the Year: Mat Bodie
Scott Richardson Unsung Hero Award: Andrew Buote (fourth time)
Most Improved Player: Justin Pallos

I can't disagree with any of these selections. But, I also think that Daniel Carr could have been selected for ROY, John Simpson for Unsung Hero, and Wayne Simpson for MIP. You could also make an argument for Keith Kinkaid and Kelly Zajac for MVP. Either way, I bet it was a very tough decision to make for each award.

For more check out Union

Congrats to the seven players who received an award!

College Hockey Video of the Week (4/18/11): A Tribute To Neal Broten

At the Frozen Four, Minnesota native Neal Broten was honored before the championship game. He is one of the most popular hockey players in the history of Minnesota. He played at every level in the state of Minnesota and was successful at all levels. Broten was a high school star in Minnesota before playing for the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota North Stars.

His claim to fame is being the only player to ever win an NCAA championship, an Olympic gold medal, and the Stanley Cup. He won the NCAA championship in 1979 where he scored the game-winning goal, was a member of the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" team, and scored the game-winning goal in the New Jersey Devils' Stanley Cup clinching game in 1995.

For more on Broten click here.

Here are three videos of these three great moments:

(Look for Broten on the ice around the 1:04 mark. He's wearing #9.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kinkaid Leaves Union For NHL

It was reported late Friday that Union sophomore goaltender Keith Kinkaid had signed (or made a verbal commitment) with the New Jersey Devils. In doing so, he will forgo his final two years at Union. The agreement is not official.

Personally, I think Keith should have stayed one more year because I feel he needs to prove himself in the playoffs a little more. It's not that he's played poorly in the playoffs, but he's 2-5 all-time in post-season play. He's never really stolen a game in the playoffs.

But, I also think that signing with the Devils might be the best place for him to sign for a few reasons:

1. Keith is from Long Island (he's an Islanders fan), so he will be comfortable playing on the East Coast. The Devils' minor league teams play in Albany and Trenton. It will be cool for Union fans to see Keith play just a 30 minutes away from Schenectady (that is if he's assigned to Albany).
2. The Devils' goaltending is very thin. In New Jersey, starting goaltender Martin Brodeur is 38 years old and backup goaltender Johan Hedberg is 37. So, there will be vacancies to fill in New Jersey very soon. In Albany, Jeff Frazee, Mike McKenna, and Dave Caruso saw playing time this season (click here to view stats). Frazee will turn 24 in May and has played three full seasons in the AHL and has never appeared in an NHL game. McKenna just turned 28 and has appeared in 17 NHL games in his career, including two this season with the Devils. Caruso will turn 29 in June and has spent most of his pro career in the ECHL (below the AHL). So, what I'm saying is that the guys in Jersey are getting old and the guys under them are nothing special, so this will be a great path for Keith to reach the NHL.
3. The Devils organization (or at least the top team) is known for playing great defense. In most seasons, the Devils are one of the top teams in the NHL in goals against average. A part of this is obviously Martin Brodeur, but the Devils also play a tough defensive game. It's always attractive for a goalie to go to a team that plays consistently tough defense.

For more check out:
HF Boards
Sachem Patch
Ken Schott's Blog
College Hockey News

So, this brings us to the next question: Who will take over in goal for Kinkaid?

Well, you have freshman Troy Grosenick and incoming freshman Julien LaPlante. Grosenick appeared in three games for Union this season, and started one (the tie at home vs. UConn early in the year). LaPlante had a very good year in the AJHL with the Bonnyville Pontiacs, posting a 28-13-8 record with a 2.09 GAA and .925 save percentage. It will probably be up to these two guys to take over for Keith, unless Coach Leaman has something else up his sleeve. From what I've heard, Grosenick is a very capable goaltender and will be a good NCAA goaltender, so I have faith in him.

Colin Stevens, who is supposed to be an excellent goaltender, is slated to come to Union in 2012-2013. Leaman could always see if Stevens wants to come early. But, I really don't see that happening.

This also brings up another question: Who will be the third goaltender? (assuming Stevens doesn't come early)

Most teams carry three goaltenders. In my four years, Leaman has carried four goaltenders except for the small portion of the 2008-2009 season after Brett Bothwell left midseason, leaving Corey Milan and Rich Sillery as the only goaltenders. I find it very difficult to recruit a goaltender to come to Union to become the third string goalie, and I don't think you can transfer without sitting out a year. It is important to carry a third goalie because of injuries. If your starter gets hurt, you need insurance behind your second string goalie just in case he gets injured or overworked.

So, what's my solution: Kyle Anderson.

Who is Kyle Anderson you ask? He's currently a junior at Union and is the top goaltender on Union's club hockey team. Anderson put up good numbers, but it's not entirely sure what they are because the ACHA's stats are not entirely reliable (click here). In 2008, Anderson won the New York State Championship with Massena. He, along with teammate and current Union freshman Matt Hatch, were named to the all-tournament team. The importance Kyle (or any third goalie) would play would be to take the work load off of Grosenick and LaPlante during practice, so they don't get overworked and can take the occasional day off. It might be a stretch, but it's an idea.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Frozen Four: Day 3

I know this is VERY late, but I figured I post these pictures and videos anyways.

Congrats to UMD on winning the national championship. I guess it was the best case scenario after Union's season ended. Even though a part of me thinks that it could have been Union. The Bulldogs had a very easy route to the championship (2 ECAC teams, no  Boston College or North Dakota, etc.), but you still have to win.

Anyways, enjoy these pictures and videos from my final day in Minnesota:

Inside the Mall of America... It had an amusement park!

The mall had a store dedicated to Minnesota (and North Dakota) college hockey

On a ride in the MOA with my brother Adam

Mickey's Dining Car... like in the Mighty Ducks movies

Inside Mickey's... it was an "interesting "experience"

Outside the Xcel Energy Center

At the Frozen Four fan fest

There was live music, and lots of food and beer

The Frozen Four banners hanging throughout St. Paul

A jersey from Harvard's national championship in 1989... the last time an ECAC team won the tournament

UMD's skating cheerleaders and mascot... we need to get some!

UMD celebrates the national championship

More celebration with the trophy

UMD player celebrates with the fans

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coach Leaman Named AHCA Men's Division I Coach of the Year

It was announced today that Union coach Nate Leaman has been named the recipient of the Spencer Penrose Award, which is given to the Division I Coach of the Year by the American Hockey Coaches Association.

The last ECAC coach to receive this award was St. Lawrence's Joe Marsh in 2000.

Leaman accomplished so much this season including a program record 26 wins, 17 conference wins, and of course Union's first Cleary Cup and NCAA Tournament berth. What he has done over the past eight seasons is absolutely amazing. He took a dormant program and made them into a national contender.

For more on Leaman and the award go to Union

This award just adds another thing to his resume that makes him even more enticing to bigger programs. There have been mixed reports on whether Leaman is looking a certain jobs, especially the Providence job. A few days ago, Ken Schott reported that Leaman denied being a candidate for the Friars head coaching job, but today College Hockey News reported that he was in Providence and was a finalist for the job.

Despite these conflicting reports, I really believe that Leaman will be staying at Union. From the small rumors that I've heard, it sounds like he plans on staying. Also, if Coach Leaman says he's not interested in the Providence job, then I believe he's not interested. He is a class act and I truly believe he would never lie about something like that. A part of me thinks that CHN reported wrong, and Coach Bennett is actually a finalist for the job. But, you have to take their report in to account.

Anyways, congrats Coach on the award and on a great season!

Monday, April 11, 2011

College Hockey Video of the Week (4/11/11): Minnesota-Duluth Wins First National Championship

Well, the 2010-2011 college hockey season has officially come to an end. The final game of the season was classic as the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs beat the Michigan Wolverines 3-2 in overtime for the national championship. The season finale was a classic and very emotional for both teams. It was definitely one of the most memorable college hockey games I ever attended.

Here are highlights from the game including interviews from UMD players Justin Faulk (who was my favorite player of the tournament), Jack "Peroxide Jesus" Connolly, and Kyle Schmidt (who scored the GWG):

Also, to find out why Schmidt was the only Bulldog not to bleach his hair click here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Frozen Four 2011: Day 2

Today was the "off day" of the Frozen Four weekend, so all the hockey fans had a free day to do what they pleased. We, along with many other college hockey fans, decided to attend Opening Day for the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. I saw a decent amount of North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth fan, and one RPI an RIT fan.

I'm a huge baseball junky (I wrote my senior thesis on the Montreal Expos), and have attend a ton of baseball games throughout the country so I had a great time checking out a new stadium and just watching the game. Target Fied opened up last year and is considered to be one of the best stadiums in baseball. I thought the stadium was nice. I really liked all the granite and some of the touches around the stadium, but I still think stadiums such as Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia) and Comerica Park (Detroit) were better. I also wasn't too impressed with the food selection. Maybe I'm just spoiled by the awesome food at CitiField (NY Mets). It was a boring games as the A's scored the first run of the game in the top of the first inning and held on to the 1-0 lead until the bottom of the 8th when the Twins scored two runs before Joe Nathan secured the 2-1 victory for the home team in the 9th. I had never been to an Opening Day before, so I thought there would be a festive feeling at the stadium, but that was not the case. The team did honor some legends and did some ceremonies, but besides that it really didn't feel like Opening Day.

For a late dinner tonight we went to Joe Senser's, which is a sports bar/restaurant right down the street from our hotel in Bloomington (click here). They had some interesting burgers and a decent beer selection. I enjoyed watching the end of the Wild-Oilers game on the big TVs.

Today was also a big day in college hockey as the Hobey Baker and Humanitarian Awards were announced. Miami's Andy Miele won the Hobey (click here), while Boston College's Brooks Dyroff won the Humanitarian Award (click here). Also, as reported before, the All-American teams were announced (click here).

Tomorrow is the last full day of the Frozen Four. Our plan is to head to the Mall of America for a bit and then stop at Mickey's Dining Car before heading to the championship game. It should be an interesting game. I have no idea who I think will win.

Here are some pictures and videos I took at Target Field today:

Outside Target Field

Statue of Rod Carew

View from Right Field

Another view from Right Field

The view from our seats

The Opening Day ceremonies

Kinkaid Named First Team All-American

On Friday in St. Paul, Minnesota the American Hockey Coaches Association announced that Union sophomore goaltender Keith Kinkaid is a First Team East All-American. Kinkaid is the first Union player to be named an All-American since 1997 when Trevor Koenig received the honor. Three Union players have been named to the DIII All-American Second Team: Wayne McDougall (1986), Ron Kinghorn (1989), and Jack Rankin (1977).

Other ECAC players to receive All-American honors include RPI's Chase Polacek (First Team) and Nick Bailen (Second Team), and Princeton's Taylor Fedun. For the full release by the ECAC click here.

Keith was the backstop and rock of arguably the greatest team in Union College's DI history. This season he posted a 25-10-3 record, a 1.99 GAA (fourth in the nation), and .920 save percentage (tied for 16th in the nation). In ECAC play he went 17-3-2 with a 1.90 GAA and .926 save percentage. He was named the ECAC's Goaltender of the Week three times, and received the Ken Dryden Award for top goaltender in the league.

This has been such a great year for Keith and the Dutchmen. The big question is if he will stick around to lead Union to another NCAA Tourney appearance. Kinkaid is a big NHL prospect and it is uncertain on what his plans are for next season. It is rumored that a number NHL teams are in interested in him. Keith is a tremendous goaltender and is one of the best in college hockey, but I don't think he's quite ready yet for the pros. But, I do think he's better than any of the goaltenders I saw in the Frozen Four yesterday.

The All-American teams are as follows:

First Team
Goalie: Keith Kinkaid, SO, Union College (Farmingville, NY)
Defense: Brian Dumoulin, SO, Boston College (Biddeford, ME)
Defense: Blake Kessel, JR, New Hampshire (Verona, WI)
Forward: Cam Atkinson, JR, Boston College (Greenwich, CT)
Forward: Chase Polacek, SR, Rensselaer * (Edina, MN)
Forward: Paul Thompson, SR, New Hampshire (Derry, NH)
Goalie: Pat Nagle, SR, Ferris State (Bloomfield, MI)
Defense: Chay Genoway, SR, North Dakota (Morden, MB)
Defense: Justin Schultz, SO, Wisconsin (West Kelowna, BC)
Forward: Jack Connolly, JR, Minnesota-Duluth# (Duluth, MN)
Forward: Matt Frattin, SR , North Dakota (Edmonton, AB)
Forward: Andy Miele, SR, Miami University (Grosse Pointe Woods, MI)
Second Team
Goalie: John Muse, SR, Boston College (East Falmouth, MA)
Defense: Nick Bailen, SO, Rensselaer (Fredonia, NY)
Defense: Taylor Fedun, SR, Princeton (Edmonton, AB)
Forward: Stephane Da Costa, SO, Merrimack College (Paris, France)
Forward: Gustav Nyquist, JR, Maine*(Malmo, Sweden)
Forward: Paul Zanette, SR, Niagara (Nobleton, ON)
Goalie: Aaron Dell, SO, North Dakota (Airdrie, AB)
Defense: Jake Gardiner, JR, Wisconsin (Minnetonka, MN)
Defense: Zach Redmond, SR, Ferris State (Traverse City, MI)
Forward: Carter Camper, SR, Miami University (Rocky River, OH)
Forward: Mike Connolly, JR, Minnesota-Duluth (Calgary, AB)
Forward: Carl Hagelin, SR, Michigan (Sodertalje, Sweden)
* First Team in 2009-10; # Second Team in 2009-10

Friday, April 8, 2011

Frozen Four 2011: Day 1

Semifinal Thursday is one of my favorite days of the year, and this year's ST was a great one. There were two barnburners where the team that controlled the play five-on-five lost. In Game 1, The University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 4-3 behind three power-play goals, while killing all five of Notre Dame's power-play opportunities (recap). The second game was another close affair, but was a low scoring games.  After Michigan scored a goal midway through the first frame, they held on for dear life before sealing the game with an empty netter late in regulation to win 2-0. The star of Game 2 was definitely Wolverine goaltender Shawn Hurwick, who stopped all forty Sioux shots (recap). Who thought UMD and Michigan would be in the championship game?

In Game 1, the game got off to a blazing start as each team netted five goals in the first period. Both goaltenders, Kenny Reiter and Mike Johnson, seemed very jittery at first, but both settled in as the game went on. The theme of the game was special teams with UMD's PP and PK running on all cylinders (sound familiar Union fans?), while Notre Dame scored their third goal while killing a penalty. The FCC line had a good game, including Jack "Peroxide Jesus" Connolly scoring the game-winning goal. I was also once again impressed with UMD freshman defenseman Justin Faulk (he has some nice flow as well).

In the night cap, the Fighting Sioux had many great chances but either missed the net or didn't pull the trigger. But, you have to give a lot of credit to Hurwick and the Wolverine defense. The Wolverines were just opportunistic and played well defensively. It was a pretty big upset as many thought UND was the favorite to win the championship, and Michigan was just lucky to be there. The great Sioux fans were incredibly disappointed after the loss.

Personally, while it's nice to see UMD win and make it to the national championship game, it still hurts to see it. Seeing them win just makes me feel that it could have been Union. But, UMD has been excellent this post-season and deserves to be here. I also think the Dutchmen would have been over-matched by teams like North Dakota and Michigan. The ECAC still has a lot to prove to the WCHA and CCHA teams.

Each game had a great atmosphere. In the first game the UMD fans brought the energy, while large North Dakota crowd in Game 2 brought a ton of energy and fanaticism until the later half of the third period when they got nervous and quited down. The Xcel Energy Center was very full, especially in Game 2, which was evident by the crowded lower concourse. The food was also pretty good (cheesesteak and meatball hoagie).

I saw a grand total of four Union fans at the rink, which was pretty cool, and talked to two of them while waiting to buy a Frozen Four 2011 t-shirt. The t-shirt I bought was really cool because it had the logos of each team that made the NCAA Tournament on the back. It was pretty awesome to see Union's logo on Frozen Four t-shirts!

I also enjoyed Little Herb Brooks' appearance in Game 2 (click here if you don't know who he is), along with the overall Frozen Four atmosphere. It's a lot of fun seeing all the different jerseys and so many college hockey fans. Off the top of my head, the only ECAC jerseys I saw people wearing were RPI and Clarkson. I also saw: RIT, Lake Superior State, Nebraska-Omaha, Boston College, New Hampshire, and just a few others. It seemed that everyone was wearing a North Dakota jersey.

Tomorrow we will be going to Opening Day for the Minnesota Twins at Target Stadium. I've never been to an Opening Day so it should be a fun experience. I'm not too interested in the game. I just want to check out the new stadium and see if the food is good.

Anyways, here are some pictures I took today:

Frozen Four logo on the ground of Xcel Energy Center

Mother-Daughter Union fans, the Leckerlings, enjoy a girls weekend at the Frozen Four 

The view from Section 113, Row 26, Seat 10

Final Score: UMD 4, Notre Dame 3

Had to take a picture of the tournament bracket hanging in the rink

Final Score: Michigan 2, North Dakota 0

Can you see North Dakota's Santa Claus and Elvis?!

Union is in the Frozen Four program! Here's a picture of Lane Caffaro '09

Two of our semifinal tickets

Here's video I took of the last few seconds of the UMD-Notre Dame game:

Monday, April 4, 2011

College Hockey Video of the Week (4/4/11): Last Frozen Four in St. Paul

This Thursday, the Frozen Four returns to St. Paul, Minnesota for the first time since 2002. The 2002 Frozen Four was my third ever Frozen Four, and was the first one where I had to fly to go see the games. I remember having such a great time at this site because I liked the rink, we went to Mickey's Dining Car (like in the Mighty Ducks), had a great time at the Frozen Fest, and just had an overall great time.

But, probably the most memorable part of that tournament was the University of Minnesota's come-from-behind overtime win over Maine in the championship game in front of a crowd that was pretty much 99% Gopher fans. The crowd was electric and when Grant Potulny (who I think was the only player on the Minnesota roster not from Minnesota) scored the game-winning goal the place went absolutely insane. I still remember sitting next to (or behind) a group of older Maine fans and how disappointed they were.

So, here is a video with all the goals from that game with music (I thought it was a nice touch). Hopefully this year's Frozen Four can reciprocate the same feelings I had the last time I was there. I'm really not going to cheer for any team because I really don't like rooting for teams besides my own, but I hope the UMD Bulldogs do well.

Anyways, am I going to be the only Union fan at the Frozen Four this year? I will definitely be wearing my Union jersey with pride, and I'm sure plenty of people will want to take pictures of me with the jersey to see if they can find every college hockey jersey at the tournament (since that's what Frozen Four people tend to do). I'll keep you all posted throughout the week in what I'm doing in St. Paul.

Have a good week Union fans, and enjoy my favorite day of the year: SEMIFINAL THURSDAY!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Captain's Corner With Brock Matheson (4/1/11)

This is the last Captain's Corner With Brock Matheson. In this final segment, Brock talks about his NCAA Tournament experience, his time at Union, the future of the team, and his future.

I want to thank Brock for taking the time out every week to talk with me and giving the fans great insight on the team. He did such a great job handling the media this season. Coach Leaman has called Brock the best captain he's ever had, and it's well deserved.

Good luck on your pro hockey career Brock!