College hockey has been played outdoors on a baseball field and outdoors on a football field this season. Tonight, four teams will compete inside on a football field, as Ford Field - home to the NFL's Detroit Lions - hosts the Frozen Four, which features four Columbus Blue Jackets prospects.
Cody Goloubef and Wisconsin take on R.I.T. at 5 p.m. ET, while Will Weber and Trent Vogelhuber and Miami take on Cameron Atkinson and Boston College at 8 p.m. ET. Both games will broadcast live on ESPN2.
For Weber, Vogelhuber and the Redhawks, they will be looking to avenge last year’s loss in the National Championship game. Miami led 3-1 with just over a minute to play, but Boston University rallied for two goals to tie it and eventually won the game in overtime.
Vogelhuber, who was the Blue Jackets’ seventh pick, 211th overall, of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft held in Columbus, is thrilled for another opportunity at a national title.
“Oh man, we’re excited,” he said. “This is what we have been looking forward to being here for a year now. It was our goal all season and to be here; it’s really special. Hopefully we can finish out what we didn’t last year.”
Weber, who was Columbus’ third pick, 53rd overall, in that same 2007 Draft, understands the importance of a second chance and still has last year fresh in his mind.
“It just feels great,” he said. “We’re one step closer to the goal that we set out at the beginning of the year. Last year didn’t end the way we wanted it to. We have another shot at it. It takes a lot of hard work and some bounces to go our way and luckily we’ve been fortunate enough to get here.”
It will mark the first trip to the Frozen Four for Goloubef and Atkinson. Columbus’ eighth pick, 157th overall, in the 2008 Entry Draft, Atkinson led the Eagles with 27 goals and 23 assists for 50 points in 40 games during his sophomore season. He has helped Boston College to a 27-10-3 record.
As for Goloubef, who was the Blue Jackets second pick, 38th overall, in the 2008 Entry Draft, he is thrilled about his first visit.
“We got real close my freshman year (in 2007-08),” Goloubef said. “It’s been a drive this year. Now that we are here, we’re really excited. You can just tell the excitement in the locker room.”
The setting at Ford Field will be somewhat familiar for him, as Wisconsin hosted Michigan at the Badgers football field, Camp Randall Stadium.
“We got to play on our football field at Christmas time this year and now we get to play on an NFL stadium,” Goloubef said. “I think it’s going to be awesome.”
He could even play against someone he stays in close contact with as he and Vogelhuber talk regularly.
“We still talk over the phone every once and awhile,” Goloubef said. “We keep in touch.”
The winners of the semifinal games will meet in the National Championship game set for Saturday at 7 p.m. ET. That game will broadcast on ESPN.