The Ice Kings
SIOC hands out the college hockey hardware
Posted: Thursday March 8, 2007 12:14PM; Updated: Thursday March 8, 2007 5:28PM
It's been 150 days since Vermont laid a 6--0 smackdown on Colgate in the opening game of the 2006 Ice Breaker Invitational. Little did college hockey fans know that the ease with which the Catamounts dismantled the highly-touted Raiders would be just the first surprise in a season chock full of them. With the NCAA tournament just two weeks away, SI on Campus doles out the hardware for a regular season that's seen everything from the show-stopping shot-stopping of Beantown's less-lauded goalie to a heralded football school that has begun waking up the echoes on the ice.
All players, coaches and fans of college hockey are asking themselves the same question: How in the name of Touchdown Jesus did Notre Dame get so good? A year ago the Fighting Irish finished 13-19-4. But led by the stout goaltending of senior David Brown, this team is doing the one thing that its football counterparts couldn't: proving its doubters wrong. At 27-6-3 the Irish have owned the top spot in the polls for the last five weeks and are as sure a bet as there is to earn a trip to the Frozen Four in April.
Most Valuable Player
Small enough to fit in your back pocket, North Dakota left wing Ryan Duncan stands as the biggest reason why the Fighting Sioux have a fighting chance in the tournament. The 5-foot-6, 158-pounder has 27 goals and 22 assists to rank fifth in the nation in scoring. If the Sioux are able to make a run for the title, the Hobey Baker Award may be in reach of this redheaded Calgary native.
At this time a year ago Bostonians would tell you that the only thing as dependable as Tom Brady in the two-minute drill is Boston College's Cory Schneider in the crease. But while the Eagles' goaltender was hoarding the preseason accolades, it's been the net play of Boston University's John Curry that has not only emerged as the city's best, but also as the nation's best. Curry bested Schneider in the championship game of the annual Beanpot tournament, stopping 37 of 38 shots in the Terriers' 2--1 win. Curry's 1.82 goals-against average and .933 save percentage ranks third and first in the nation, respectively.
Bob Motzko's first coaching job came in 1986 as an assistant to Herb Brooks at St. Cloud State. Not a bad guy to learn from. Now in his second year as head coach of the same team, Motzko is taking a page from Brooks's book, How to Mold a Team with Average Talent into a Giant Killer. Even in the ultra-competitive Western Collegiate Hockey Association, Motzko's Huskies have built on their 22-16-4 record of a season ago to enter the 2006-07 WCHA tournament ranked third in the nation. For the 16,000 students on the remote Minnesota campus Motzko's stunning success has made the long winter a bit more bearable.
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