Conference championship weekend was incredible for college hockey

The NCAA had an incredible conference championship weekend in college hockey.
2024 Hockey East Men's Championship
2024 Hockey East Men's Championship / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages
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The NCAA conference championships are all in the books for men’s college hockey. There were some upsets in the semis and a few incredible matchups as well. Each conference puts on a massive show of entertainment. 

There are future NHL stars all over these rosters and there are teams that thrive off of their ability to play a great system. Some teams, the really good ones, have both. 

With the tournament looming, this is how it went on the big weekend across College Hockey: 

Hockey East

On Friday night, Boston College put a beat down on UMass. All of their stars came to play in this one. Cutter Gauthier (Anaheim Ducks), Will Smith (San Jose Sharks), Gabe Perrault (New York Rangers), and Ryan Leonard (Washington Capitals) all scored goals along with multi-point efforts. 

They scored 8 unanswered after going down 1-0 which got them in the Hockey East Championship game. They awaited the winner of Boston University and Maine. In that game, BU won 4-1. 

In the win, Macklin Celebrini (top prospect eligible for the 2024 NHL Draft) had a big three-point game to lead the way. Chicago Blackhawks second-rounder Ryan Greene wasn’t too shabby either as he had two goals of his own. Montreal Canadiens top prospect Lane Hutson scored a power-play goal to round out the three stars of the game for BU. 

In the championship game between BU and BC, the Terriers were beaten badly by BC. Will Smith had four goals and their other previously mentioned stars had amazing nights as well. They won the game 6-2.

Macklin Celebrini, Lane Hutson, and Ryan Greene all collected points in the loss but they couldn’t get over their biggest rival to capture the Hockey East Trophy. 

From beginning to end, BC has been the best team in the country. They have so many stars that are going to dominate in the NHL soon so it isn’t all that surprising. Both teams will be highly seeded in the NCAA tournament and both have a chance to win it all. For now though, this is the Eagles’ time to celebrate.

Big Ten

The semifinals of the Big Ten Championship were last week. Michigan had a 2-1 victory over Minnesota and Michigan State had a 2-1 victory over Ohio State. It wasn’t a shock that MSU got a win as the one seed but it was interesting to see Michigan beat Minnesota. 

Either way, you knew the championship would be crazy for obvious reasons. You can throw away anything that has happened prior when these two teams meet in a big game like this. 

Regulation was a lot of back and forth. Both teams had leads and no lead ever exceeded one goal. Eventually, the clock hit 0:00 of the third period tied at four. 

Overtime was an easy thing to predict and it happened. Eventually, the one seed prevailed as Patrick Geary gave Michigan State the 5-4 victory in sudden death. MSU are the Big Ten Champions and will be very fun to watch once the tourney begins. 

As for Michigan, we’ll see if they can get some magic going again following this run to the Big Ten Final. 

NCHC

On Friday night, Omaha advanced to the NCHC championship with a stunning win over North Dakota, the favorites heading into the whole thing. It was a shocking 6-3 victory for Omaha who deserves credit for the way they played. 

North Dakota must get their game going again if they are going to compete in the NCAA tournament which they are likely going to be a high seed in. 

After that, Denver beat St. Cloud State in overtime to advance to the NCHC final. That set up a fun (and unpredictable) matchup between Denver and Omaha. 

In the championship game, Denver took it to Omaha as they beat them down 4-1. This is the third NCHC championship in Denver's history. It was a great win for them and they are looking for another deep run in the NCAA tourney.

CCHA

On Friday night, Michigan Tech beat Bemidji State 2-1 in the CCHA championship game. They earn a NCAA Tournament bid with this victory. Tech is now going to the big dance for the third year in a row. It is their first time doing that since the mid 1970s.

ECAC

On Friday night in Lake Placid, the ECAC had their semi-finals. St. Lawrence pulled off a stunning 3-0 upset victory over Quinnipiac who are the defending champions of the entire NCAA.

They earned a trip to the championship game against Cornell who beat up on Dartmouth on Friday as well. Cornell ended up getting the big win at Herb Brooks Arana on Saturday night to win their conference championship. They will be a threat for an upset of two once the NCAA madness begins.

Atlantic

The Atlantic Championship took place on Saturday night as well. RIT beat AIC to earn their bid in the tournament. We'll see if they are able to make some noise once it begins. They will certainly have a very tough matchup early on.

College hockey is absolutely unbelievable. They really have a good product in the NCAA right now and it is getting better as the years go on. 

All of the champions, runners-up, and a few at large teams have a really good chance of doing some damage in the tournament. It will be must-see TV. 

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