Who will win it all in St. Paul?

By Ryan Stieg 

Last season, I had a very successful year with my weekly CCHA predictions, and then I took my success to a whole new level once I got to the NCAA Tournament. I picked three of the Frozen Four participants correctly and I was also right that Quinnpiac would defeat Minnesota 3-2 in the national championship. It’d be hard to surpass that success this season, but I was confident I could pull it off.  

As it turned out, I couldn’t do it. The CCHA was incredibly hard to predict due to the large amount of parity within the league and then, I couldn’t redeem myself two weeks ago in the NCAA Tournament. I only picked one of the Frozen Four participants right and that was top-seeded Boston College. Sigh. What a sad year for me.  

Well, I have one last chance to go out on a high note as the Frozen Four begins Thursday in St. Paul. I’ll be at the games in person, so naturally, I’m really hoping I get these picks right. So, here we go. Here are my last picks for the 2023-24 season. Enjoy the games everyone! 

Semifinal #1: Denver vs. Boston University 

This one is a tough call. The Pioneers won their ninth national title two years ago and they’ve been a force since David Carle took over the program. At the other end, the Terriers have returned to prominence under Jay Pandolfo and were many people’s preseason national champion pick. DU looked good in its regional, gutting out wins over UMass and Cornell, but BU is a different beast. The Terriers have a very potent offense and they’ll be putting a lot of pressure on Pioneers goalie Matt Davis. Davis is one of the best goalies around, but I think BU finds a way to move on. The Terriers win 4-2. 

Semifinal #2: Michigan vs. Boston College 

The No. 1 Eagles have been soaring all season and don’t look like they’re going to be landing anytime soon. BC is good in every area and can either explode offensively like when it blew out Michigan Tech, or be in the right place at the right time like in overtime against Quinnipiac. Then there’s the Wolverines, who are in their third straight Frozen Four and their fourth FF appearance at the Xcel Energy Center. UM was on the bubble for a period of time, but caught fire in the final few weeks and picked up two nice wins in regionals to make it to St. Paul. Some are thinking that this finally might be the Wolverines’ year as their Frozen Four struggles have to end at some point, but I think BC is just too good and they fly on to the title game. The Eagles win 5-2. 

National Championship: Boston University vs. Boston College 

An all-Beantown championship would be a little odd to see in the State of Hockey, but it’s what I think will happen and it’s the most interesting scenario in this year’s Frozen Four. The two teams are archrivals separated by only three miles and they’re both trying to earn their sixth national title. It’s rare that two heated rivals battle for a national championship with Quinnipiac-Yale (2013), North Dakota-Denver (2005), and New Hampshire-Maine (1999) the only ones that come to mind in the last three decades. However, when it comes to big-game rivalries, BU-BC easily tops those three. So, who hoists the trophy? It could go either way. Both teams have good offenses and they’ve battled a few times already this year, most recently in the Hockey East championship with BC prevailing. I’ve gone back and forth on this matchup, but the ultimate factor for me is history. Overall top seeds usually don’t win the national title with Denver being the most recent one in 2017. As a result, I think the Terriers bring the Eagles back down to earth in an offensive thriller. BU wins the title 5-4.  

1 thought on “Who will win it all in St. Paul?”

  1. I think BU will beat Michigan, but it’ll be something like 8-6. Neither team is exactly stellar at the whole Defensive side of things.

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