September 26, 2007
INCH's Fifth Anniversary | The Games

Inside College Hockey contributors highlight their favorite Frozen Four sites and games from the past five years:


Mike Eidelbes

1. Boston (2004) I think it was a combination of a number of things – Denver being such a fun team to be around, the first-ever Inside College Hockey Frozen Friday bash, my first trip to the Foggy Goggle, the closest finish in the history of our NCAA Tournament playoff pool – that made Boston great. Now if someone can figure out how to get from Point A to Point B in the city without ending up in Nashua …
2. Milwaukee (2006) Logistically, I think Milwaukee is the best Frozen Four site. The hotel, the rink, and the nightlife are all right there. It certainly helped that the Badgers advanced to the Frozen, turning Milwaukee into a mini-Madison for five days. That said, my previous experience is that Milwaukee has never needed an excuse to have a good time.
3. Columbus (2005) Columbus was the anti-Milwaukee in that the OSU rink was on campus, the hotels were downtown (unless you stayed off the beaten path as we did), and the nightlife was centered around the Blue Jackets’ rink. But it was a good time – it’s a clean, friendly city. Getting there Tuesday night certainly helped. I don’t know if I’d rate C-Bus as highly now, however. When we attended the NHL Draft in June, the entertainment district around Nationwide Arena was hopelessly packed. I think the town got too big, too fast.
4. St. Louis (2007) I thought St. Louis was a fine host. But I’m not sure why that is. Was it because I had extremely low expectations for the city – my only previous trip to the Lou was horrible – or because St. Louis ended up doing a far better job than I thought it could? If I were handing out letter grades, St. Louis would get a B-minus.
5. Buffalo (2003) I’m the Ruth Bader Ginsberg of the INCH staff when it comes to Buffalo, because I think everyone liked it but me. The biggest black marks for me were that the town’s nightlife appeared to be confined to one block of Chippewa Street, and that the mile or so between the hotel and HSBC Arena looked like downtown Sarajevo circa 1995.

Nate Ewell

1. Boston (2004) Great hockey in a great town. And I'll never forget proclaiming the Red Sox season over when they lost their opener that weekend. Little did I know ...
2. Buffalo (2003) INCH's first Frozen, which made it special (although much more work than previous years). Like Milwaukee, I appreciated getting to the hotel and not needing a car again until Sunday. The 4 a.m. bar close was dangerous, but fun.
3. Milwaukee (2006) It's been a good run if Milwaukee – the site of my first Frozen in 1997 – ranks third.
4. Columbus (2005) It would have rated higher if the games were downtown. The all-WCHA format didn’t bother me; but it kept some eastern fans and coaches away, which hurt the atmosphere.
N/A. St. Louis (2007) I’m embarrassed to have missed it, but I do have a doctor's note.

Joe Gladziszewski

1. Buffalo (2003) It was our first Frozen in the business and we went in the corners, turning out tons of great coverage and taking advantage of all that the city had to offer ... specifically the 4 a.m. last call. I've always preferred Frozens to be in medium-sized cities where it's the number-one show in town. Tourism and history? We're there for college hockey and a good time. Mission accomplished.
2. Milwaukee (2006) As an impartial observer, it was nice to see the home team win. You could tell it meant a lot to the community and to the state. It had the best accomodations for media, and the midwest sensibility of the town put everyone in a good mood.
3. St. Louis (2007) Finding out that St. Louis baseball fans are undeservedly praised for their support wasn't a good way to start the week, but that's not why we were there. The three hockey games were very competitive and provided the highlight of the week for me — far and away the best trio of games that I've seen in attending the last seven Frozens — hence the high ranking. The Feisty Bulldog is an excellent place.
4. Boston (2004) I'll never forget how laid back Denver's team was that week and I think it helped their poise and composure in a harrowing ending to the national championship game. The stadium? Awful. The city? Lots of other stuff going on.
5. Columbus (2005) We added new elements to our coverage at the Frozen, including video interviews. If that's the highlight, then it probably deserves to rank at the bottom of this list.

Jess Myers

1. Boston (2004) A whirlwind of great hockey and great times from start to finish. When a simple cab ride from the hotel to the rink involves a trip over Beacon Hill’s cobblestones, you know you’re someplace special. Although we’d still like to know what Lukas Dora did.
2. Milwaukee (2006) The NBA folks say that the Bradley Center (home of a hockey pressbox that’s pretty much on the ice) is old and needs to be replaced. There’s another reason to despise basketball.
3. St. Louis (2007) Definitely an underrated hockey town. The weather was chilly but the bars were warm and the hockey was downright hot.
4. Buffalo (2003) Decent hockey and knowledgeable fans, but the town could definitely survive a coat of paint and one pass from a street sweeper.
5. Columbus (2005) Even for a WCHA guy, the most enjoyable thing about the all-WCHA affair in central Ohio was the sunny weather.



Mike Eidelbes

1. 2004 NCAA West Regional Final

Denver 1, North Dakota 0

It’s the best game I’ve ever seen, and I doubt I’ll ever see one in which two teams played virtually flawless with the stakes so high.

2. 2006 NCAA West Regional First Round

Holy Cross 4, Minnesota 3 (OT)

This game was played, what, 18 months ago, and I still can’t believe it happened. For me, it ranks right up with the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team beating Russia as a “where were you when it happened” moment. I was on I-90 north of Chicago on my way to Green Bay for the Midwest Regional when my cell phone was inundated with calls and texts.

3. 2007 NCAA West Regional First Round

Minnesota 4, Air Force 3

There were so many reasons this game was so memorable. One was the feeling that we were witnessing a Minnesota collapse of epic proportions once again. Two was the surprisingly boisterous crowd that had poured into the Pepsi Center on a chilly Saturday afternoon. Three was the fact that the Gophers were outplayed for all but about five minutes of the third period, and still found a way to win.

4. 2007 NCAA Frozen Four Championship

Michigan State 3, Boston College 1

Hockey fans are used to game-winning goals in overtime. Seeing them scored with less than 19 seconds left in regulation is not as common. And Boston College’s horrible line change that led to the winner – I’m not pointing any fingers, but you know who you are – will go down as one of the epic blunders in college hockey history.

5. Nov. 1, 2002

Boston College 3, Notre Dame 3 (OT)

The game was a prelude to the following day’s football game between the two teams, and it was as if the players and fans had channeled the energy from that into the hockey game. Notre Dame was an average team and though Boston College got out to a good start, they weren’t a juggernaut … there was just a lot of spark, a lot of effort that night.

Jess Myers

1. March 20, 2004

Minnesota 5, North Dakota 4

Two heavyweights going toe-to-toe with nearly 20,000 watching. Goals by future millionaires Brandon Bochenski, Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek, before Kellen Briggs was named tourney MVP despite allowing eight goals in two games. Amazingly, neither team made it to the Frozen Four three weeks later.

2. March 17, 2006

St. Cloud State 8, Minnesota 7 (OT)

Ryan Potulny’s fourth goal of the night, with less than 15 seconds to play in regulation, and the deafening ovation that followed, prompted a two-word instant message from an INCH staffer 1,000 miles away: “Sweet Jesus.” The Huskies led 6-3 halfway through the game. Who knew they’d need two more goals to win?

3. Dec. 9, 2006

Bemidji State 6, Minnesota Duluth 5 (OT)

Down 5-2 midway though the game in a hostile building, the Beavers put together 30 minutes of hustle that was an amazing thing to watch. They beat the Bulldogs to every loose puck in the third period while backup goalie Orlando Almano stopped all but one of the 30 shots he faced in relief.

4. Dec. 27, 2003

North Dakota 3, Findlay 1

Oilers goalie Will Hooper stopped every puck he saw for the first 52 minutes, and put a mighty scare into the top-ranked Sioux, who trailed 1-0 before rallying late in the contest. Who knew the Findlay program only had a few more months to live?

5. Feb. 24, 2006

Minnesota State 6, Wisconsin 4

It was just the third loss of the season for Brian Elliott after the Mavericks rallied from a 3-0 deficit with six unanswered goals. The Badgers said they hit rock bottom that weekend, and five weeks later were hoisting the NCAA title hardware.