College hockey held its men’s conference tournaments this weekend, and if you watched any of the games with Minnesota teams in them, you noticed a common theme — empty seats.
The Minnesota State men’s hockey team has returned to the top spot in the national polls.
Jonny Brodzinski scored twice in the third period to lead St. Cloud State to a 3-1 National Collegiate Hockey Conference win over North Dakota on Friday. Brodzinski broke a 1-1 tie at 1:38 of the third period and added an insurance goal on the power play at 9:43, as the Huskies (5-5-1, 2-2-1 NCHC) handed UND its first road loss of the season. The Huskies outshot UND 34-27.
While so many are focused on their basketball brackets, it’s college hockey fans filling both downtown areas Saturday. St. Paul is hosting the Big Ten Conference tournament at the Xcel Energy Center, while Minneapolis has the National Collegiate Hockey Conference tournament at Target Center. Forget March Madness, for these fans it’s all about the ice.
The Minnesota schools playing NCAA Division I men’s hockey will be split among three conferences next season. They’ll still try to make intra-state games an annual January event.