Colgate (14-3) / Duke (14-4)
Duke is coming off a win against a sinking Syracuse. The whole game Duke looked beatable even though if you just looked at their stats you would think they owned the game. They won virtually all FaceOffs (71%), they outhustled Syracuse (32Groundballs to 24), even Wigrizer stepped it up (12 saves and 8 goals against, 60%). However they just were not able to put the nail in the Cuse coffin.
Colgate is coming off a big upset over UMass. Colgate came back from 5 goals behind, AND had a sophomore goalie making his first start. Coach Murphy has got to have stones the size of boulders (or be a little insane) to throw a young goalie in his first ever start against an undefeated team in the playoffs. Well it worked. Conor Murphy took over the starting role from Jared Madison who struggled the whole year (150 Goals against, 117 saves, 10.02 GAA, 43.8 save%). After the first quarter, Conor seemed to gain confidence with each save, posting 15 saves and 10 goals against for the game, and keeping his composure during their comeback win.
Colgate also showed that more players can score beside Peter Baum, as five different players scored 2 goals in the win over UMass. On the year, Colgate scoring is averaging 13.5goals per game and has been led by Baum (66Goals/30Assists on 159 shots! 42%), followed by Ryan Walsh 35G/22A, Jeff Ledwick 32G/14A, Brendon McCann 21G/11A, and Matt Barker 15G/9A. The ‘Gate EMO is amazing converting on 49.2% of their chances.
Duke’s strength is their FO ability and GB skills. The more possession they can get and keep away from a fiery ‘Gate offense the better. Colgate showed against UMass, that even without FO wins (37%), and GBs (19 to UMass’ 29), they have an offense that scores a high percentage of the time, and the heart to hang with the big boys.
Duke is a tougher foe, but the confidence and poise just keeps building for a Colgate team gelling at the right time. The Colgate upset streak continues and they win by 2.
Hopkins (12-3) / MD (10-5)
Hopkins has taken down two different teams that were undefeated with a #1 ranking at the time. They have the ability to beat ANYONE. Hopkins is coming off of a solid win over Stony Brook.
MD already beat Hopkins 9-6 in the regular season. The Terps are coming off a win over Lehigh in which they scored the game winner with 6 seconds left. In a new low even for MD, they held the ball for almost 5 minutes (4:36 to be precise) before scoring that last second game winner. Stalling when you are winning, is bad enough. Stalling in a tie game is just inexcusable. Hopkins SHOULD win this game, unless MD starts stalling after the first FO, which at their rate, is quite possible. Hopkins by 2.
UVA (12-3)/ND (12-2)
This game will be a battle of outstanding goalies. Both have saved over 58% for the year, and are coming off big games where they both posted 63% save percentage or better.
UVA got lucky last week against Princeton as was demonstrated by a LaPierre 50yd Hail Mary chuck with 10 seconds left in the half. Stanwick got the ball, and scored a one-on-one goal with 5 seconds left. For as much as Princeton dominated the stat sheet, UVA pulled off the win. If you asked me at the start of the season, UVA was my favorite to win it all. Now? I think we’ll be hearing pipes in Foxboro. ND 8-7
Loyola (15-1) / Denver (9-6)
Let me point out the NCAA seedings again, and add this one. If the NCAA is averse to re-matches, how do they let this happen? Denver/Loyola for the third time this year.
Loyola has won both previous matchups, and while I think they are a much better team, if you give anyone three chances (let alone Tierney), the weaker team might prevail just based on coach intervention. My pick? I don’t have one in this game. If you believe in numbers, then Loyola, if you believe in an “x” factor, then Denver.