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2023 Frozen Four Championship Prediction

Hockey article at Knup Sports

A breakdown of Saturday’s Frozen Four National Championship and predictions of how the game will be played out.

March Madness gets all of the media attention for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, but this Saturday the Men’s Ice Hockey championship will be taking place, and I promise you this year will be one you won’t want to miss.

Minnesota Vs. Quinnipiac

After Thursday’s games where Minnesota won 6-2 against Boston University, and Quinnipiac won against Michigan 5-2. Both teams added empty net goals at the end of the game, and each game was closer than the score indicated, as each game was tied 2-2 heading into the third period.

The Gophers come into the game with the nations most dangerous and fast paced offenses as they are led by two Hobey Baker finalists in Logan Cooley and Matthews Knies. The Gophers second line also has NHL talent with Rhett Pitlick having a tremendous Big 10 tournament and has been playing light out so far in the NCAA tournament.

Quinnipiac boast one of the nations best defensive teams having only given up three goals in a game eight times this year. While the Gophers have scored three or more goals an incredible 34 times this season.

Quinnipiac is led by Collin Graf on offense as he has 58 points this season, which ranks third in the NCAA this year. Quinnipiac will look to slow this game down and get the puck into the corner where they can neutralize Minnesota’s speed.

Both teams bost great goaltending, while Quinnipiac’s Yaniv Perets leads the nation in goals against average with 1.46 GAA. Perets is also second in save percentage with a .932, and Minnesota’s Justen Close is fourth with a .928 save percentage.

Championship Recap/Prediction

The University of Minnesota is a hockey blue blood in the sport and will be looking to add to their five National Titles. However, they have not won a title since 2003, with their closest being a runner-up finish in 2014.

Quinnipiac on the other hand is a new recent power. They finished second in 2013 to Yale, and second to North Dakota in 2016. They are looking for the first title in school history and have as good of a chance as they have ever had coming into this game with a 33-4-3 record.

It will be the classic matchup of an unstoppable force, meeting an immovable object and it should be a classic. My prediction is that Quinnipiac will surprise people by scoring first and locking down defensively, before Minnesota answers back.

The second period is where I believe there will be multiple power play opportunities for Minnesota, but they won’t be able to capitalize leaving the game tied at 1-1 heading into the third period.

I then believe both teams will add one goal each in the third to force overtime. Overtime hockey is a funny thing, and the dirty goals are usually the ones that win it, and I believe that Quinnipiac has the toughness, and style of play to score that goal.

However, when Minnesota’s third line still has enough talent to stay with Quinnipiac’s top line, I think the depth of Minnesota will allow them to score the goal that will bring them their first national title in 20 years.

For more hockey playoffs content, read here.

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