[Sports] The Week in Sports #19: NCAA Hockey Surprise.

Rochester Institute of Technology: I doubt that name strikes  fear into any sports fans out there. That is unless they are fans of division one hockey and have been paying any attention to the NCAA tournament (Yes, other NCAA tournaments are being played). This program, only in its fifth year at D-1, will play in the frozen four next week in Detroit. They have a respectable record (28-11-1), but play in a conference that doesn’t get much respect by the hockey community and didn’t win a game outside of their conference before the NCAA tournament.

But, they stunned Denver, the #2 team in the country, 2-1 in the opening round before embarrassing New Hampshire 6-2. RIT wasn’t even ranked in the last poll that came out before the tournament, but reached the big dance because they won the Atlantic Hockey Association tournament.

So now it’s on to the frozen four and a date with perennial power Wisconsin on April 8th on ESPN2. I suggest you check this team out. RIT getting to the frozen four is the equivalent of Dartmouth getting to the basketball final four. Ok, maybe that’s a big exaggeration, but it’s still a pretty big deal in the world of sports. Much like NCAA lacrosse, Division-1 hockey is like a club of only a few teams that seem to have a chance every season. They don’t usually admit new members, especially schools who don’t even give out sports scholarships.

Soccer: Major League Soccer began play this week. Who knew that they started this early (well, I did)? It seems much too chilly out to play soccer. There’s a new MLS team, the Philadelphia Union. Americans don’t really care as much about the MLS (in cities that don’t have teams) as they should. The MLS is getting more and more exposure every season and the skill level on the pitch is increasing exponentially. I try my best to catch every Red Bulls game on MSG and as many Thursday night ESPN games as possible.  Maybe people will pay more attention come June when the World cup Starts. Don’t miss the Yanks opener against England on June 12th.

MLB: The Major League Baseball season is just about a week away and the anticipation is killing me. Boston will host the Yankees in the first game of the season. Way to start it off with a bang. The Yankees are the defending World Series champions and Boston is trying to prove that they are still an elite club. The Red Sox have a few question marks, mainly: where is their offense going to come from?

National Lacrosse League: The Washington Stealth clinched a playoff spot (9-3) and are running away with the Western conference title. Led by Jeff Zywicki (68 pts) and Lewis Ratcliff (64), the Stealth will be a tough draw for anyone they face in the playoffs. Orlando is still leading the East (7-4), but the Buffalo Bandits who started the year 0-4 have won four straight and are sitting pretty at 6-6 after Saturday’s 14-7 win over Rival Rochester.

College Basketball: We are down to the final four in college hoops. All of the #1 seeds except Duke are long gone. It makes sense that only Duke would survive after so many naysayers didn’t believe they deserved a top nod. Also left are Butler (#5), Michigan State (#5) and West Virginia (#2). Many people believed that West Virginia should have received a #1 ranking ahead of Duke. Now is the time to prove them right.

*Are you a fan of a particular sport that you want me to cover next week or know of any sports stories you want me to mention? This is your article, not mine. Have at it. Throw me an email cosburn@thefatherlife.com

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