2011 NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament: Top Storylines

DETROIT - APRIL 10: Matt Price #25 of the Boston College Eagles lead his team up the tunnel after warm ups prior to playing the Wisconsin Badgers in the championship game of the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four on April 10, 2010 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

College Hockey, Inc., the marketing arm of NCAA hockey, published their list of a dozen storylines for this year's NCAA men's ice hockey Tournament. As one would expect of a program that has made quite a few NCAA appearances over the years, BC dominated a lot of these.

"A new champ? Ten of the 16 teams in the field have never won a national championship, and at least one of them is assured of a spot in the title game. The East and Northeast Regionals - which meet in the semifinals April 7 - feature eight teams with no national titles between them."

We've already noted that one side of this year's bracket is stacked. The other? Not so much. The Midwest and West Regionals have 30 titles among them, with Michigan leading the way with 9.

"All roads through Boston - The city of Boston has had a death grip on the NCAA hockey championship the past three seasons, with Boston College winning twice (2008, 2010) and Boston University once (2009)."

True, but oddly enough, in years when BC has won it all, BU has been curiously absent from the NCAAs, and vice versa. These titles would be just a tad more sweeter if our Green Line rivals made the NCAAs the same year we did, only to have all their hopes and dreams dashed. Also, BU needed a furious comeback and overtime for its one title. BC waxed Notre Dame and Wisconsin to the tune of 9-1. Just sayin'. 

"Senior citizens - Despite an increase in the number of players who have left school early for the NHL in recent years, college hockey remains very much a game requiring experience."

While it's true that BC's leading goaltender and second leading scorer are both seniors, BC actually has the youngest roster by age of the 48 DI programs that report dates of birth. That's been a trend that York has established for quite a few years now, as more and more he's signing 18 year-olds as opposed to freshmen that have played junior hockey.

"Tourney by twitter - This year, for the first time, twitter has truly overtaken the NCAA Tournament field. Dozens of participating players tweet (follow all college hockey players here). Miami, Western Michigan and Boston College's rosters are particularly prolific tweeters, perhaps led by the leading scorer in the nation: @Andy_Miele"

While I don't follow Andy Miele, it's hard to imagine a more prolific Twitter crew than this year's BC squad. Hard to say when, but at some point over the course of the season, the number of BC hockey player Twitter accounts skyrocketed. Cam AtkinsonJimmy HayesChris KreiderKevin HayesChris VentiIsaac MacLeodPatch AlberPat MullaneBrian Dumoulin, and Brooks Dyroff are all on the Twitter. And those are just the ones I know about.

 

"View the future - Nintey-two NHL draft picks dot the rosters of the 16 teams in the NCAA Tournament, led by North Dakota (16), Michigan (13) and Boston College (11)."

Those 11 are Cam Atkinson (Columbus), Brian Dumoulin and Bill Arnold (Carolina), Jimmy Hayes (Toronto), Paul Carey (Colorado), Chris Kreider (New York Rangers), Tommy Cross (Boston), Philip Samuelsson (Pittsburgh), Kevin Hayes (Chicago), Patrick Wey (Washington) and Isaac MacLeod (San Jose).

"Final showcase - Several talented undrafted players have a chance to showcase their skills in the NCAA Tournament before signing on with an NHL team of their choice (many others have already been drafted)."

Chief among them are BC seniors Brian Gibbons and John Muse.

"Like father - College hockey has become a popular route for the sons of former NHLers, and familiar names dot the rosters in the NCAA Tournament."

Philip, son of Ulf, Samuelsson represents BC in this category.

"Who will surprise? - The last two Frozen Fours have featured two of the longest of long shots - 16th-seeded Bemidji State in 2009 and 15th-seeded RIT last season." 

... Hopefully not Colorado College.

"Tournament tested - Five teams took home conference championships the night before the NCAA bracket was announced: Air Force (Atlantic Hockey), Boston College (Hockey East), Miami (CCHA), North Dakota (WCHA) and Yale (ECAC Hockey). Tournament titles have been a positive sign entering the NCAAs in the recent past, as the last three NCAA champions and seven of the last 11 have won their conference championships in the same year."

Some good news.

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