After the Women's Frozen Four wrapped up, I immediately set my sights on April 5th and 7th, the next Frozen Four in line to find out who would reign supreme in NCAA D1 hockey, this time for men's. It was a fun weekend at Xcel Energy Center, I got to shoot with some people I don't really get to shoot with often, I got to meet some new photographers, and got to check off my 2nd Frozen Four on my mental list of "Cool shit I've shot."
The four teams vying for glory were Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame (all three from the Big Ten), and Minnesota-Duluth representing the NCHC. Minnesota-Duluth's journey was certainly interesting. Only 16 teams can make the tournament and UMD was a longshot for an at-large bid. If you have an Athletic subscription, you can read Bruce Ciskie's article about UMD's anxious wait to see if they were going to make it.
Minnesota-Duluth (#3) vs. Ohio State (#1)
Right out of the gate, UMD got the scoring started by potting two goals early in the 1st then played suffocating defense only giving up one goal in the 3rd period. I should also mention too that over the weekend there were probably close to 30 photographers (rough estimation) covering all three games this weekend so a majority of us were packed together like sardines on the concourse in some spots. Shout out to Jim for all of his hard work making sure everyone got a shooting position and for accommodating everyone as best as he could.
Michigan (#2) vs. Notre Dame (#1)
The 2nd game to determine who would be facing UMD took place between Notre Dame, the newest member and conference champions of the Big Ten, and Michigan. This game featured more scoring but the biggest goal of the night was when Jake Evans scored the game winner to break a 3-3 tie with 6 seconds remaining in the 3rd period. If I'm being honest, I'm glad we didn't go to OT because it was almost midnight and if this game had gone to an extra frame then I probably wasn't going to get home until 2 in the morning.
Minnesota-Duluth (#3) vs. Notre Dame (#1)
Championship game, mostly the same story for UMD. They scored twice in the 1st period and did a great job on defense by not allowing Notre Dame to do anything productive in the offensive zone. Just as a casual observer I'd say this game wasn't as close as the score indicated (2-1) since UMD was in control the whole game. The 1st period alone they led in shots 17-4. Notre Dame scored in the 2nd period but from then on out UMD tightened up and kept Notre Dame from getting many scoring chances
We were allowed on the ice after the game ended but we were also restricted with where we could go since ESPN had to get their footage they needed for the broadcast so we were corralled to the side while the teams had their initial celebration. Once ESPN went off the air we had free reign to walk around. Also funny tidbit, when I got home I realized I had been walking around the whole time with the zipper on my pants down. Whoops.
That's all for this post, thanks for looking! It's playoff season for the Wild so I'll hopefully be at Games 4 and 6 (if necessary). After that it's baseball time!
Canon 1D Mark IV