4 weeks ago, Michigan State finished off the UNO Mavericks hockey season. Tonight, Sparty finished off the season by capturing the national championship at the Frozen Four. If you're a "glass half full" guy, having your season ended by the national champion isn't exactly a bad thing.
The Frozen Four is rapidly becoming one of the premier NCAA championships, with sellouts nine of the last ten years. Bigger than NCAA volleyball? Definitely. Bigger than the College World Series? Hard to say. The CWS has definitely gotten huge in Omaha, but nationally, I'm not so sure. I've heard reports that Omaha has bid on the 2013 Frozen Four, which would be a MUCH bigger get for Omaha than NCAA basketball regionals. As we learned last month, most of the tickets for next years basketball regional are going to BrieJay fans (okay, more accurately, their scalpers). The Frozen Four brings in hockey fans from across the country, not just fans from the host area. Heck, several dozen UNO fans alone are in St. Louis this weekend for the action...spending money in restaurants and hotels. Bring those thousands of fans to Omaha, and you'll see an event that rivals Berkshire Hathaway weekend for toursim in this area.
Tonight's game featured a 3 goal flurry late in the 3rd period from Sparty. The first goal featured LA Kings prospect Brian Boyle getting confused on a faceoff, allowing Tim Kennedy to breakaway for the goal. Kings fans have been taunting Maverick fans pointing as of late, pointing out that Boyle is a better prospect than Scott Parse. Maybe they're right. All I know is that Parse has 6 points in 6 games with the AHL's Grand Rapids, and probably will be signing with another NHL team in August.
Oh, and how did Sparty score the last 2 goals? Oh, just the game winner scored with just 18.9 seconds left in regulation, followed by an empty-netter with 1.7 to seal the victory. Probably one of the best championship game finishes since Tejas/USC in the 2006 Rose Bowel.