Will the Gophers be able to upend the top-ranked Screaming Eagles of Boston College tonight in the NCAA semifinal national tournament men's ice hockey match? The Gophers have returned to national prominence after missing out on the National Tournament each of the last three seasons. This year's team swept defending National Champion Minnesota-Duluth to start the season, and didn't look back but a couple times. They spent much of the season ranked #1, and avenged a catastrophic collapse against the Fighting Sioux (oops, didn't say tha) of North Dakota in the Final Five with a convincing victory in the Regional Final two weeks ago.
The Screaming Eagles have won 17 straight games, and their penalty kill has succeeded 39 of its last 40. The Gophers have a solid power play, so this very well could be the key. Reports are also that the Screaming Eagles are a very fast skating team, but the Gophers can match that speed. Per the scouts and Gophers coach Don Lucia, early signs to how the Gophers will compete are whether the Golden Rodents attack, attack, attack to let the Screaming Eagles know that "hey, we're the U of M, the most storied program in college hockey. We don't give no darn about 17 straight games." If the Gophers are content to defend and allow the Screaming Eagles to carry the play, look for a 4-1 BC victory, aided by an empty netter. If the Gophers delivery an early message they will compete, and win 3-2.
From this great college hockey mind ... the team that scores first will win.