Earlier this week, Andy Johnson wrote UMass-Lowell is the favorite in all the sports books in Las Vegas. Here are five reasons Norm Bazin's River Hawks will win it all:
1. The whole team buying into the concept of playing defense will spell trouble for UML's opposition. The River Hawks execute their coaching staff's game plan to perfection. UML will bottle up the neutral zone. One coach recently talked about how little time the opposition gets to spend in the UML zone. It will be tough for Yale to set up and get sustained attack.
2. Freshman goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, a Winnipeg Jets prospect, is 20-2-2 as the starting goaltender of the River Hawks. The Commerce, Mich. native has a miniscule 1.31 GAA and a .953 save percentage.
3. The River Hawks have tremendous team speed and utilize it to their advantage especially in the transition game. Their regional semifinal win over Wisconsin showcased the ability to capitalize on the transition. Several odd man rushes and good looks up ice killed Wisconsin.
4. Scott Wilson, a Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick, started off slow, but has really come on strong. He is dynamic with the puck and has a great shot. He has also had a knack for scoring clutch goals.
5. Not to take away from any of the other coaches in the Frozen Four, but Norm Bazin is the best coach in the event. In two quick seasons, he has turned around the Lowell program from a five-win team to two games away from a national championship. He was named the winner of the Spencer Penrose Award today which is given annually to the top coach in college hockey.
Jeff Cox covers college hockey for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation for continuing coverage of the 2013 Frozen Four.