After seven grueling months, we come to it at last – the national championship of college hockey.
In case you have not been following the 2012-13 season very closely, no, Minnesota and Boston College are not playing for the national championship. In fact, neither made it out of the First Round of this year's championship.
Instead, in the first championship between two in-state rivals since 1978, it will be a battle of Connecticut's Whitney Avenue, as No. 1 Quinnipiac takes on No. 15 Yale.
Very few people expected Quinnipiac to live up to its billing as the No. 1 overall seed, despite posting the nation's longest unbeaten streak during the season. The Bobcats defeated Canisius and Union to reach the Frozen Four, where they made short work of Hobey Baker winner Drew LeBlanc and St. Cloud State.
Yale barely squeaked in to the NCAA Tournament, sneaking in just ahead of Western Michigan, and the Bulldogs justified their appearance by defeating Minnesota and North Dakota on consecutive days to reach the Frozen Four. With a win over Hockey East champion UMass-Lowell, they set up the Battle of Whitney Ave. for Saturday night.
So who will win their first ever national championship on Saturday night? Our hockey-loving writers here at College Spun give their opinion about who will be crowned champion in Pittsburgh tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
In the battle of Whitney Ave, I think Quinnipiac has the edge. Show me a team with a hot goalie, and I'll show you a championship trophy. Eric Hartzell may not have won the Hobey Baker yesterday, but he's certainly the best goalie in the country, and that gets the Bobcats the win tonight.
I think Yale gets this one. Hartzell has been incredible for Quinnipiac, but I think the first line of the Bulldogs finds a way to get it done tonight. A goal for Kenny Agostino and one from Jesse Root will be enough scoring. Yale takes the championship game 2-1.
I think Quinnipiac is going to win. They dominated St. Cloud and I think they'll be able to dominate Yale as well. Hartzell is an amazing goalie and as long as he can stop Yale's Andrew Miller from scoring they should pull out the win. Either way it's an exciting day for CT!
I have to go with Yale in the championship game. Some teams just find ways to win and that's how this Yale team has been on their Cinderella run. I think Yale shocks the nation and wins tonight.
Not many people had been sold on Quinnipiac until this NCAA Tournament run. I am one of the few people that has been a believer for a while. I got to watch Quinnipiac play in person twice this season. The first time, against Union, they overcame a 2-0 third period deficit to keep their unbeaten streak alive. Ten days later, they played UConn, who may not be a great team, but they are a physical team that disrupts the flow of any opponent they play. Despite facing the idea of an upset, a late goal from Connor Jones and some tasty goaltending from Eric Hartzell gave the Bobcats a big win. I expect Quinnipiac to win, and they deserve too. One thing I learned during my two trips to Hamden this year, Quinnipiac girls are beautiful and they love hockey. Wife material.
What a wild tournament. No. 1 faces No. 15. Yale has been the Cinderella of the tournament and have been firing on all cylinders so far. They upset one of the favorites of the tournament in UMass-Lowell in the semis and look to take down the Goliath in Quinnipiac. However, it won't be an easy task. Yale may have the heart, but this Quinnipiac team might be too much for the Bulldogs. I'll take the team I've doubted all year long to win it. Look for Peca to go off on the national stage.