March Madness: Denver advances over Ferris State

March Madness dispatch


NCAA_WestRegional16_Spotlight_610x320Two teams played in St. Paul Easter Sunday afternoon. One is still alive.

Denver Coach Jim Montgomery cited “puck luck”after his team’s 7-2 win Saturday over Boston University. Was it “luck” that thrice drove the puck into the net the last five minutes to break a 3-3 tie and defeat Ferris State 6-3 to win the NCAA West Regional men’s hockey title?

“I think anybody can beat anybody in this tournament,”declared Denver junior defenseman Will Butcher. DU improves to 25-9-6 and now 15-4-3 when out-shooting its opponents this season.

The Pioneers peppered FSU frosh goalie Darren Smith 42 times, and lit the red light behind him six times.

Sunday’s winner advances to Tampa, Florida for a spot in the 2016 Frozen Four next month. It was the Pioneers’ first-ever appearance in downtown St. Paul in a NCAA tournament game — they are now 2-0 on the Minnesota Wild home ice, with a Frozen Four berth at stake.

Ferris State finished at 20-15-6. They had hoped to get to their first national semifinals since 2012.

Finally, this concludes the fourth consecutive hockey weekend, our first ever puck binge now in the books. Our March Madness dispatch resumes later this week at the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four in Indianapolis.

Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to