Tag Archives: frozen four

Hockey in Beantown

What is a group of Puckheads to do while visiting the city of Boston for the D-1 Hockey National Championship? Prior to the games on Thursday, we visited the rinks for all the teams that play in the annual Beanpot Tournament.

Boston University:

Agganis Arena; Boston University Campus

First stop was Agganis Arena on Commonwealth Avenue. The home of the Boston University Terriers. The rink seats 7200, with plush theater seats. I hate to get in the middle of Boston rivalries, but it was arguably the nicest arena we visited. It was also the newest, having been built in 2005.

Hobey, Hardware and Beanpot

I believe it was an assistant coach who gave us directions to get into the rink, after we tracked him down. Nice guy.

Boston College:

Conte Forum; Boston College Campus

A quick trip down Commonwealth brought us to Conte Forum on the campus of Boston College. The home of the BC Eagles. The Forum seats 8606, and opened in 1988.

Just a few of the banners at Conte Forum

Quite a bit larger than the BU rink, as well as older. Major construction was going on around the complex, but we had no trouble finding an open door. A pick up basketball game was taking place on the floor, and someone was even popping popcorn in the concourse.

Showing off the Hardware

One thing we all agreed on was that BC has a beautiful campus.


Harvard University:

Bright-Landry Hockey Center; Harvard University Campus

Harvard University was our next stop, but the doors were locked to the Bright-Landry Hockey Center at Harvard Stadium. Luckily, a student with a key card approved of our Quest, and opened a door for us. Harvard had the only rink with the ice still in.

The home of the Crimson

The Hockey Center seats 3095 for hockey and opened in 1956.

We did not tour the campus, but did poke around Harvard Stadium a bit, where the football team plays. The Stadium is an early example of building with reenforced concrete. Harvard Stadium opened in November of 1903.


Northeastern University:

Matthews Arena, Northeastern University Campus

Our final stop on the Quest was Northeastern University and Matthews Arena. We saved the oldest for last. Matthews Arena, which opened in April 1910, is the oldest ice arena still used for hockey, and the oldest multi-use athletic building still in use in the world. Sadly, this is all we saw of it. There was no sympathetic coach or approving student to allow us past the locked doors. In theory, the arena seats 6000 for hockey. We all agreed that the arena does have a nice arch.

The Wooger

Claimed by South Saint Paul; adopted by the entire State of Hockey.


Credit: Golden Gopher Hockey

Doug Woog, the former coach of the University of Minnesota Gopher hockey team, passed away this past Saturday.  Woog was 75.

Wooger was the Gopher coach for 14 years, leading the team to 12 consecutive national tournament appearances.  He led the Gophers to the Frozen Four finals in his first four seasons behind the bench, and to six Frozen Fours in all.

At the time of Wooger’s retirement, he led the team in victories as a coach.  Don Lucia has since passed him in wins.  Woog still out paces Lucia in win percentage.  His win percentage at Minnesota is also higher than two legends of the game: John Mariucci and Herb Brooks.

When Woog was coaching the Gophers, it was common knowledge in Minnesota, that if you wanted to complain about the Gopher power play, you didn’t have to go through the University switchboard.  All you had to do was open the Saint Paul phone book:  The Woogs were always listed.

After his coaching career, Woog made an incredibly easy transition into broadcasting Gopher hockey games.  He was a natural, and another generation of fans came to know the Wooger.

davalav1014_1575647474_Sidebar1961-1 DougWoog.jpg

Doug Woog receives a kiss from his goaltender after scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Minneapolis Patrick Henry in the 1959 state tournament. Photo: Minnesota Hockey Hub

Doug Woog made the South Saint Paul high school hockey team as a 5’6″, 140 pound freshman.  Woog and the Packers went to four state tournaments in hockey.  Woog was All-State for three years, was named to the State’s All-Tournament team for three years, and led the tournament in scoring in 1962.

For good measure, Woog was also All-State in football as a tailback.


Doug Woog as a Gopher; Photo credit: Golden Gopher Hockey

Woog would go on to play for the University of Minnesota, under the God Father of Minnesota hockey, John Mariucci.  He won three letters, since freshman were not allowed to play in this era.  In 80 career games, Woog tallied 101 points.  As a junior, he led the team in scoring, and was named First Team All-America.  As a senior, Woog was named Gopher captain, and the team’s MVP.


Wooger showing concern over Referee Shepherd’s eyesight 

With all of the high accolades that Woog received as both a hockey player and coach, I think he was really a teacher at heart.

When I was a student at the University of Minnesota, Doug Woog was the hockey coach.  I spent many Friday & Saturday winter nights at the Old Mariucci Arena.  Campus was a lot different back then.  There was no “athlete village”, and running into players and coaches was a common occurrence.  Since I played some rec sports during my time at the “U”, I was often around the sports facilities and I only remember two coaches that gave the time of day to the average student.  One was the still current baseball coach, John Anderson, and the other was Woog.  A quick comment to Woog of “Nice win on Saturday, Coach”, would more often than not get a response about how the transition game wasn’t quite what he was looking for, or the power play left some goals on the ice.

Once, while at Williams Arena, I literally ran into Coach Woog.  I was probably picking up student tickets to the weekend series, and was bundled up to race across campus for a class I shouldn’t be late for.  I bumped into Woog on my way to the door, and he joked about my being in a hurry, then he asked if I was going to the game on Friday.  I said I was, then I said that the Gophers would have a tough time with So-And-So in goal for the opposing team.  Woog then spent the next ten minutes telling me exactly how and why So-And-So would be that tough.  Then he spent ten minutes telling me about their defensive corps.  If I hadn’t stopped him, I think Coach Woog would have given me the run down on their entire line up, as well.  I was young and foolish back then, and I thought that the class was a priority, so I raced off, no doubt leaving Woog chuckling. I was quite late to class anyway, and the professor made sure everyone in the hall knew I was late.  It’s only years later that I realize that the class was the least important thing I did that entire day.

My favorite Woog story comes, of course, from North Dakota, Minnesota’s main rival at the time.  As a student, nothing was better than a bus ride to Grand Forks to see Minnesota play NoDak.  There is just something about youth that longs to be surrounded by people who utterly hate your very existence.  A trip to Madison was second best; hat tip towards Peewaukee.  Back in the day, when NoDak played the Gophers, their fans would throw dead prairie dogs onto the ice when North Dakota scored their first goal.  Woog’s Gophers had one mission: To keep those dead prairie dogs in the NoDak fans’ pockets for as long as possible.  A shutout was an epic victory.  Woog relished the idea of the stinky, dead rodents thawing out inside the NoDak jackets.

I became excited about college hockey as a very young kid, sitting in the stands at Old Mariucci with my Dad, watching Herb Brooks coach the Gophers to national prominence.  That culminated with the 1980 Miracle on Ice.  But there is no doubt that I learned the game of hockey watching the Doug Woog coached Gophers.

Woog was a class act through and through, and he will be missed at rinks all around Minnesota.  His passion and dedication to the sport was infectious, and he passed that on to so many people, that he didn’t even know were watching.

Rest in peace, Wooger.




Frozen Four 2018

XCel Energy Center
Saint Paul, Minnesota

The X

The Frozen Four, college hockey’s national championship, returned to Saint Paul for the first time since 2011. The tournament featured the University of Minnesota-Duluth against The Big Ten, as three B1G teams made the finals this year. Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan joined Duluth at The X.

UMD and OSU in warmups

Game one on Thursday saw The Duluth Bulldogs face the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Dawgs came out fast, scoring two goals in the first 3:04. Defenseman Louie Roehl opened the scoring. Roehl never scored a goal in high school.

Ohio State was never really in the game, which had to frustrate the Buckeyes, as they defeated the reigning national champs, Denver, in their regional. After putting two in the net, Duluth went to a defensive game plan, and really shut OSU down.

Opening puck drop, UMD v OSU

OSU eventually scored a PPG at the 9:37 mark of the third period, but that was the only goal the Buckeyes put behind Duluth goaltender Hunter Shepard. Duluth would move on to the title game with a 2-1 win.

Warm ups between Michigan and Notre Dame

In game two we saw Michigan take on the Irish of Notre Dame. Michigan was trying for its 10th National Championship in hockey, and The Irish were trying for their first.

Michigan drew first blood, with a goal by Tony Calderone in the first period. The Wolverines added to their lead early in period two, on a freak bounce of a goal, as the puck ricocheted off a Notre Dame defenseman, and into the Irish net. Notre Dame would tie the game at 2 later in the period.

1:35 into period three, the Irish went ahead 3-2 on a nice goal by Cal Burke. Michigan, once again tied things up at 3, late in regulation. It looked like the late game was going into overtime. On what looked to be a harmless drive towards the Michigan net, Cam Morrison made a great effort to center the puck to Jake Evans. Evans was able to get enough on the shot, to slide the puck under Wolverine goaltender Hayden Lavigne with 5.7 seconds left in the game. It was Evans’ second goal of the game, and it sent Notre Dame into the final against Duluth.

Post game handshake Michigan and Notre Dame

Duluth takes on Denver in Chicago

The Frozen Trifecta was back at the United Center on Saturday for some college hockey. The University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs were facing the Denver University Pioneers for the Division 1 Championship. For the first time since the playoff selection went to the 16 team format, we had the #1 ranked team taking on the 2nd ranked team. Denver was the top seed, and they looked like it against Notre Dame in the semi-finals. Duluth would have their hands full.

Denver continued where it left off against the Irish, and really dominated play to start the first period. Duluth settled down around the 10 minute mark, and the game was scoreless after one.

Then things became interesting. Jarid Lukosevicius scored for the Pioneers at the 4:44 mark of period two. The announcer was still calling out who had assists on the goal, when Lukosevicius scored again, just 16 seconds later. Denver could smell blood, and Duluth was in chaos, when the official called a television timeout, and the Bulldogs were able to regroup.
Alex Iafallo, the hero from Thursday night, scored a power play goal for UMD, to make the score 2-1. Lukosevicius, out to prove that the third time really is a charmer, scored his third tally of the night. Lukosevicius’ hat trick happened over a span of 7 minutes, 39 seconds. The last time there was a hat trick in the championship game was in 1993, when the Denver head coach, Jim Montgomery, scored one for Maine against Lake Superior State.

The third period began with Duluth down 3-1, and they came out on fire. Much of the play was in the Denver zone, and the Bulldogs were flying to the puck. Riley Tufte finally put one behind Pionner goalie Tanner Jaillet. UMD suddenly had new life, and they stepped up the pressure even more. Duluth outshot Denver in the third period 17-3. But Jaillet, who had just won the Mike Richter Award as the Nation’s top college goal tender, held firm. Denver would keep that one goal lead, after a wild third period, to earn their 8th National Championship in hockey.

DU players celebrate on the ice

Jaillet would make 38 saves for Denver, and Hunter Miska would have 25 for Duluth.
Announced attendance was 19,783.

The Frozen Four moves to St Paul, MN for the 2018 championship.

United Center

Chicago, Illinois

Walking up to the United Center in Chicago. We have never parked this close to the arena before.

The Frozen Four moved to Chicago for 2017, and the Frozen Foursome was down to two of its regular members, and their ringleader unable to make the trip. All of this meant that we were getting by as the Frozen Trifecta.

Harvard & UMD during warmups

Harvard was to take on the University of Minnesota Duluth in the first game. Both teams had been number one seeds in their regional the week before.

Game One Introductions

Harvard would score first on a power play goal by Tyler Moy in the first period. Duluth had looked very good up to that point with several scoring chances behind an excellent forecheck, but it was the Crimson that would draw first blood.
The Bulldogs would tie things up 3-1/2 minutes later on a goal by Joey Anderson.
The second period was scoreless, and the game remained tied until late in the third. Duluth’s Willie Raskob placed a beautiful pass onto Alex Iafallo’ stick, and Iafallo slipped the puck between Harvard goaltender Merrick Madsen’s legs with 26.6 seconds remaining in the game, for a 2-1 UND lead.
UMD looked to be in great shape, but then they iced the puck. With the face-off deep in Duluth’s end, the Crimson furiously attacked the net, with a shot hitting the pipe, and another hitting the crossbar. Duluth would hang on to win, sending them into Saturday’s championship game.
Madsen had 36 saves for Harvard, and Hunter Miska had 39 for Duluth.

Denver and Notre Dame introductions

The University of Denver Pioneers would face the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in game two. It was obvious early, that the Irish would have their hands full. Denver totally dominated play in all three periods and would go on to a 6-1 win.
Cal Petersen of Notre Dame would have 36 saves on the night, and Tanner Jaillet of Denver would save 16 of the 17 shots he faced.

Announced attendance was 19,626.

NCAA: $ vs. Wisdom

Amalie Arena between semis
Outside Amalie Arena between the two semifinal games.

In between what was two very good semifinal games at the Frozen Four this year, was a situation of NCAA manufactured chaos. At the end of game one, it was announced that every fan inside the arena would have to leave, stand around for 30 mins or so, and then reenter. It was met with an attitude that suggested this was the dumbest thing any of us had ever heard.

Out on the balcony, the Frozen Foursome ran into an arena employee, who made it clear that the arena personnel had argued against the insanity, but the NCAA had insisted. In fact, the employee was taking pictures to send to the NCAA asking, “Is this what you wanted?”
None of us could figure out what kind of mushroom the college officials had been eating.

Crowds waiting to reenter Amalie
“NCAA: Is this what you wanted?”

It turns out that the NCAA didn’t have any answers, so they placed the blame on fans who attend the tournament every year:

“We get feedback from this group of fans quite a bit,” said Kristin Fasbender, associate director of championships for the NCAA. “That’s part of the reason we did what we did last night by emptying the building. We’ve heard from our fans over the years a lot that they don’t like being stuck in the building in essence for six hours.”

When I first started to attend the Frozen Four, there was enough time between the two Thursday games, to leave the arena and find a nice local place to have a meal before the second game began. But ESPN didn’t like the delay, and the NCAA likes to keep their financial backers happy, so they changed the setup so that there was one hour between the two games. Not enough time to go out and get a beer, let alone a meal, so fans have been stuck paying the outrageous prices for crappy food inside of the rink.

Let’s be honest Ms. Fasbender, and get down to the nitty-gritty. Up until this year, four sections in the corners have been for the students and fans of the four teams competing in the tournament. But that is such a waste, after all, this tourney is not for the fans or the students. So some pencil pushing, cubicle dwelling NCAA official, came up with the bright idea that they could get by using only two sections for those fans, therefore selling tickets to the other two sections for more money. Since the NCAA has not reached the point of putting two people in one seat yet, they had to force everyone outside and reseat those in the two student sections.

As stupid as this whole incident was, other than some grumbling and mocking of the NCAA, I would have let it go, but I took exception to Ms. Fasbender placing the blame for this on 20 year priority customers. I, for one, would love to go back to the time when we started Game One in the early afternoon and we had several hours between games, but television rights will never allow us to go back to that. With the second game puck drop scheduled for 8:30pm, which was late enough, it’s inconceivable that anyone thought they could empty 18,000+ people out of an arena and get everyone back in and seated in an hour. There was no time to do anything but stand outside and wait to reenter. With 18,000+ people headed outside, did the NCAA really think a couple of food trucks and a few soda stands would be enough to take care of everyone?

After talking to members of the Amalie Arena staff, and even a couple of Tampa Bay police officers, I am confident that they could handle letting those fans who want to go outside to do so, and then reenter in what would have been an orderly fashion, if your intent was to let fans go outside.
But that wasn’t really your intent, was it?
When you hire experts to host your events, maybe the NCAA could put a little trust in their ability to do their jobs, and listen to the advice they offer.

And NCAA, next time don’t blame your most loyal customers when you screw up.

Amalie Arena

2016 Frozen Four
Tampa, Florida

Amalie Arena
Amalie Arena: The Frozen Four

In Tampa for the Frozen Four. The second time this city has hosted the Division 1 Hockey Championship game in four years. Tampa has quickly become a hockey town, and once again we have received an enthusiastic reception.

Quinnipiac and Boston College line up for the National Anthem

Thursday held the two semi final games. The east faced off with the Quinnipiac Bobcats facing the Boston College Eagles. Quinnipiac started quickly, taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission on goals by Kevin McKernan and Andrew Taverne.
Alex Tuch put BC on the board, but the Bobcats responded right away on a goal by Landon Smith to keep a two goal lead.
Ryan Fitzgerald of the Eagles scored in the third to make things very interesting. I was pulling for Quinnipiac, but admit I wanted BC to score on that power play.
In a great game one, Quinnipiac held on to the 3-2 win.

Attendance was 17,816.


NoDak vs DU
North Dakota and Denver in warmups

In the second semifinal, old foes Denver and North Dakota would go to battle. The first period was tight, and scoreless. In the second, Drake Caggiula would open things up for the Fighting Hawks, with two goals. Denver would rally to start the third and tie things up at two, but the Hawks would come back with two more goals, including an empty-netter.

The Fighting Hawks would win 4-2, with Caggiula getting a goal and an assist.

Attendance was 18,037.

Two great semifinal games.

Hawks vs Bobcats
Hawks and Bobcats during warmups

The Championship game was held on Saturday, with Quinnipiac facing the Fighting Hawks. The Hawks would score first, with a goal by Shane Gersich.
Quinnipiac would go on a power play, but would have a costly error allowing Brock Boeser to come in on goal alone. Bobcat goaltender Michael Garteig came out of his crease to play the puck away from Boeser, but ended up hitting the forward from Minnesota in the thigh. With Garteig completely out of position, and the net empty, Boeser easily put the puck in the net for a two goal lead. QU would be chasing their tails out on the ice for much of what remained in the period; they were in complete disarray after falling behind 2-0. Luckily, the Hawks helped them out by taking two penalties. With the two man advantage, QU score to make it 2-1.
The second period was scoreless, but Drake Caggiula would take over the third period with two goals in the first four minutes. The Hawks added one more in the 5-1 killing, and their 8th National Championship.

Caggiula had the two goals and Boeser had a 4 point night.

Attendance was 19,358, good for the third highest in Frozen Four history, although most of us fans do not count that year held in a football stadium.

The Teams are Set

2014 Frozen Four Line Up

The teams that will play for the NCAA Division One National Championship in hockey are set. Boston College will play Union in the first semi-final game on Thursday April 10. Arch-rivals Minnesota and North Dakota will face off in the late game.

Last year saw four teams who had never been to the Frozen Four head to Pittsburgh. This year will have three teams that have been there 65 times. Boston College: 24, Minnesota: 21, NoDak: 20. This will be Union’s second trip to the Frozen Four.