The NCAA unveiled the 2019 hockey tournament bracket this weekend and we’re poised for another action packed tourney. Here at Student Union Hockey, we’re bringing you all the coverage you need to get ready for this weekends regionals.
Today we’re giving you a preview of the East regional. St. Cloud State sits at the top as the #1 overall seed and they’re taking on our boy Chad’s American International Yellow Jackets. The second matchup in the west is Denver and Ohio State. To me this is the most intriguing regional. We’ve got two NCHC teams looking at a potential conference game in the second round. Ohio State has spent the majority of the season ranked in the top 5 of the USCHO poll making them a lethal opponent. Then there’s American International who just made the tournament for the first time in program history. All four of these teams are playing hot right now and have the potential to cause disruptions.
St. Cloud State vs American International
St. Cloud has been the undisputed best team in hockey all season. They’ve held the #1 spot in the USCHO poll for weeks on end and have seen very few hiccups. They won the NCHC regular season title with ease but lost the conference tournament in double OT to #2 Minnesota Duluth. They had four guys make first team all-conference and have two top 10 Hobey Baker Award Finalists. If you’ve been following my hockey coverage this season you’d know that I’ve been high on the Huskies and for all the right reasons. This team knows how to win games and after that loss to Minnesota Duluth, they have a fire in their eyes and are looking for that rematch in the Frozen Four.
American International has been a storyline that we’ve been covering here all season long. The Yellow Jackets are in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. They won the Atlantic Conference regular season title and the Tournament title to be undisputed champions. The Yellow Jackets are red hot and have been all year. Unfortunately for them, they received an unlucky regional draw.
I think the Huskies dominate this series, sorry Chad, but they’re all around the best team in this tournament. Patrick Newell, Ben Lizotte, Jimmy Schuldt, and the boys are too much to handle right now and they’re going to handle AIC with ease.
Denver vs Ohio State
Denver has been hovering around the #6/7 spot all year in the USCHO poll. For as good as they’ve been, they play in the toughest conference in hockey, so they’re skill doesn’t always show. They have big wins over Minnesota Duluth, Western Michigan, Providence, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. I like the Pioneers a lot, but they can be sluggish at times. They have the potential to make a run, but everything will have to come together.
Ohio State hovered around the top 5 of the USCHO poll for most of the season. However, they’e taken tough losses to Michigan and were swept by Minnesota late in the season. Then become victims of an upset at the hands of Penn State in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. The regular season conference champs haven’t look great coming down the stretch, but are still a talented team who shouldn’t be taken lightly.
This game is interesting. Both of these teams are Frozen Four caliber teams. I like the Pioneers to win this game and face St. Cloud in a conference rematch in the second round.
Overall, I like St. Cloud to advance out of this regional. The Huskies are just too tough and I don’t think any of the other three can handle them.
Ohio State takes on Denver at 4pm on Friday and St Cloud takes on American International at 7:30pm. The winners will face each other on Saturday at 9pm.