Providence Stuns BU For First Ever NCAA Hockey Title

Euphoria is defined as a feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness. This term seems fitting for the scene that surrounded the Providence Friars Saturday night at the TD Garden. All it took was one fluky goal. With that fluky goal came the lifeline that the Friars had been desperately searching for all game long. And once that lifeline was available, it was all but over for the Terriers of Boston University.

With 8:36 remaining in the third period, Providence defenseman Tom Parisi had planned on simply dumping the puck into the offensive zone so the Friars could get some fresh legs out onto the ice. Little did he know this would be the greatest lob of a hockey puck that has ever come off of his stick to this point in his life. BU goalie Matt O’Connor caught the lob and proceeded to drop the puck in between his legs. Not knowing where it had gone, the junior from Toronto, Ontario unintentionally pushed the puck across his own goal line and into his own net. With the score now tied at three, the Friars held all of the momentum in the building for the first time all night.

BU head coach David Quinn called a timeout less than a minute later to try to calm his troops. Instead, at the ensuing faceoff, Brandon Tanev snatched up the puck, glided into the slot, and ripped a wrister past O’Connor for the biggest goal in PC hockey history to put the Friars up 4-3. Providence would manage to hold on for the remaining, anxiety filled, slow motion 6:17 to bring home the program’s first ever National Championship. Of course, this came with a little help from PC goaltender Jon Gillies with just a minute left in the game.

From an entertainment perspective, the entire game was oscar-winning. From a hockey perspective, maybe not the cleanest of showings. But just looking at each team’s goaltending situation can provide a lens through which one can understand how this game was won. Matt O’Connor dropping a puck into his own goal and proceeding give up another two minutes later is representative of one side. While in the other net, we see Jon Gillies making 49 saves and sprawling across the crease to make a season saving stop. Without Gillies performance, a Providence third period comeback is impossible. What everyone will remember is Matt O’Connor dropping the puck into his own net. But what everyone should remember is that without Gillies standing on his head at the other end of the ice, the own goal would not have even mattered.

It took a heck of a bounce, and some late game heroics, but for the third straight season, the NCAA crowned a first time champion. Coming into this season, the Friars were favorites to win the Hockey East title. But a rough start, and inconsistent play down the road allowed for the Terriers to take both the regular season title and conference championship. PC would end up being the last team to qualify for this year’s NCAA tournament. As we now know, they would eventually get the last laugh.

One may say that an improbable comeback like this is something you see in movies. I would have to agree. The tale of the 2015 NCAA Hockey Final had quite the plot, resulting in euphoria in one locker room and shock in the other. I would like to personally thank PC and BU for putting on one hell of a show last night. That’s not one I will soon forget.

P.S. GO FRIARS

Then There Were Four

Kentucky, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Duke. John Calipari, Bo Ryan, Tom Izzo, and Mike Krzyzewski. All household names and they’re all back for more. No cinderella teams here, but no shortage of excitement. Matchup wise, this should be one of the best Final Four’s we’ve had in a long time. Let’s check out our semifinal games we’ll be watching in Indianapolis this weekend.

Kentucky vs Wisconsin

Nobody is having more fun than the Wisconsin Badgers right now. I mean nobody.

With white boy moves like that, I don’t know how you could root against Frank Kaminsky and the Badgers. They’ll be going up against the almighty Kentucky Wildcats who currently sit at 38-0 on the season. Coach John Calipari and his team is coming off a 78-39 beat down of the West Virginia Mountaineers where they looked better than ever. It was a scary sight to see Kentucky firing on all cylinders. They looked basically unbeatable while toying with West Virginia. But hey, somethings gotta give, right? Wisconsin is a team that lives off of their runs. Before downing North Carolina, the Badgers were struggling to put together their half court offense. But all of a sudden, back to back threes and boom, a little run follows and the Badgers are up two and never look back. If the Wildcats can contain Sam Dekker, Frank Kaminsky and Wisconsin’s mini runs, they’ll be just fine. But if Wisco gets it rolling, Coach Calipari and his Wildcats could be in for a hell of a ballgame. I’ll take the Wildcats, but my heart is without a doubt rooting for the fun-loving Badgers and their wonderful white boy dance moves to continue.

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Side note: Aaron Harrison hit a game winning three for Kentucky to beat Wisconsin in last year’s Final Four.

Duke vs Michigan State

It doesn’t get much better than Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo going head to head in the Final Four. When it comes to coaching resumes, these guys have two of the greatest of all time. Michigan State comes in at a seven seed which is definitely lower than we normally see the Spartans in March. They may be a seven, but Tom Izzo is always a one seed in March and that’s a fact. He’ll be facing an extremely sound Duke squad led by freshman sensations Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones. Add in defensive enforcer (potential serial killer) Justice Winslow, and you have one of the most well-rounded lineups in the country. Michigan State is hot, but I’m not so sure they can matchup well at all five positions. From a pure coaching standpoint, this game will be close but I think Duke pulls away late and takes the win.

justise-winslow

If you want to pick against this guy be my guest. That’s just not on my to do list.

Happy Final Four week everyone. Here’s some more Frank Kaminsky dancing to help get you to the weekend.

frank-kaminsky-dance-off-1

My Thoughts on Athlete-Students (NOT Student Athletes)

When it comes to the way the NCAA treats their student-athletes, I cannot put into words the frustration I feel. These so-called “student athletes” are borderline slaves to their universities. I could write a million word rant about this absurd argument filled with angry sentences, bold letters, and maybe even some italics. However, rather than putting you through that, I will leave you with this 20 minute clip from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Yes that means 20 minutes away from Netflix, Facebook stalking, and Instagram, but I promise you this is worth the watch.