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 midwest regional featuring Minnesota Duluth, Bowling Green, Arizona State, and Quinnipiac. All of these teams have seen time in the USCHO polls during the season with UMD and Quinnipiac spending a lot of time at the top. UMD is currently ranked second after upsetting #1 St. Cloud State in the finals of the NCHC Tournament. Quinnipiac currently sits at 9th while ASU is 14th and Bowling Green is 15th. I think UMD is by far the favorite in this regional but ASU and Quinnipiac both could put up a solid fight.
Minnesota Duluth vs Bowling Green
Minnesota Duluth could very well win this whole tournament. They are arguably just as talented as St. Cloud State and have played them to overtime in their last three meetings. The Bulldogs also have one of the best goaltenders in the country in Hunter Shepard. Expect Shepard to be lights out during regional play, allowing the Bulldog offense to take their time and wait for their shots.
Bowling Green is a capable and familiar foe to many NCHC teams. The Falcons tend to play a lot of the NCHC in their conference games. The Falcons swept Western Michigan and defeated Ohio State once and played them to a tie a second time. They’ve proved that they can play with top tier teams and after losing in the conference tournament finals, they are looking to prove themselves. Knocking off the Bulldogs would do exactly that, but I think UMD is going to be too much for BGSU to handle. I like the Bulldogs to move on to the second round
Quinnipiac vs Arizona State
Quinnipiac probably has the best chance to upset UMD. They’ve played a schedule loaded with then ranked or currently ranked teams and have seen a lot of success. They have key wins over Boston College, American International, Harvard, Cornell, UMass, and Clarkson. They were just upset in the quarterfinals of the ECAC Tournament by Brown and have had their weaknesses exposed multiple times by less than average teams.
Arizona State is an interesting team. They don’t play in a conference so they fill their schedule with random teams who can fit them in. They don’t really have any quality wins against ranked opponents. They’ve lost a lot of games against top ranked teams which raises the question of if they can compete with the best? They still have over 20 wins on the season which is hard to do without talent, but I need them to prove themselves before I can pick them to advance. I’m taking Quinnipiac to advance to Sunday and face Minnesota Duluth.
Overall I like UMD to advance out of this regional. After their NCHC Tournament championship, the Bulldogs are playing inspired and are looking for another matchup with St. Cloud in the Frozen Four.
UMD takes on BGSU at 4pm on Saturday and Quinnipiac takes on ASU at 7:30pm. Winners play again at 6:30pm on Sunday.