Four CCHA Teams Look to Advance to the Frozen Four

By pbadmin

A preview of the CCHA teams playing in this weekend’s NCAA tournament.

CCHA Press Release

Farmington Hills, Mich., Four CCHA teams have earned the right to compete for the National Championship starting with this weekend’s regional games between 16 teams in the NCAA tournament. Regular-season champions Miami open up as a two seed in Worcester, Mass on Friday against Boston College. Also playing in the Northeast Regional is Nebraska-Omaha, a No. 4 seed, against Boston University. Michigan has to face North Dakota at their home rink, the Ralph Engelstad Arena, in the West Regional. Mason Cup Champions and one seed Michigan State play their opening game Saturday against New Hampshire in the East Regional.

Miami enters the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in program history and for the second time in three seasons. Miami is 0-3 in the tournament but 2-1-0 in three contests against Boston College. Each team is coming off a 2-1 loss in their respective tournament championship games, with the Eagles falling to Boston University in overtime of the Hockey East finals. Each team also has a senior that has been named one of the 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker award. Blueliner Andy Greene of Miami became the first player in CCHA history to be named both Offensive and Defensive Defenseman of the Year in the same season. Chris Collins, a BC forward from Fairport, N.Y., is currently third in the nation with 30 goals.

Nebraska-Omaha is making its first NCAA tournament appearance and is facing a Boston University team playing in the tournament for the 29th time. The Terriers captured both the regular season and the playoff championship in Hockey East this season, for the first time since 1997. The Terriers have a balanced scoring attack and a workhorse goaltender in John Curry. The junior netminder has played in 35 of the 38 games for BU in compiling a 23-7-4 record with a 2.16 goals-against-average. The Mavericks average 3.60 goals-per-game, led by the nation’s second leading point producer, Scott Parse. The junior forward has 61 points on the year and was named CCHA Player of the Year at last weekend’s CCHA Awards.

Michigan makes its record 16th straight appearance in the NCAA tournament against host school North Dakota in the West Regional. The two schools have combined for 16 national titles between them. The Wolverines hold the edge in the all-time series with 45-38-4 mark. Both teams get significant contributions from their underclassmen. Seven of the top 10 scorers for the Fighting Sioux are freshman or sophomores, including rookie T.J. Oshie, the team’s second leading scorer with 44 points. Michigan defenseman Jack Johnson was the top scoring freshman rearguard in the nation this season with 32 points.

Michigan State enters the tournament for the 24th time with a Saturday game against New Hampshire. The Wildcats lead the series 6-3-0 but the Spartans won the last meeting, a 4-3 overtime affair in the 2004 Great Lakes Invitational Tournament. UNH is led into the game by its’ junior trio of 40-plus point scorers: Jacob MicFlikier, Brett Hemmingway and Daniel Winnik. Looking to keep them off the board will be a freshman goalie who already has a quite a collection of CCHA hardware this season. Freshman goalie Jeff Lerg has a 1.95 goals-against-average on the season and captured the CCHA Rookie of the Year and the CCHA Tournament MVP awards while manning the net for the Spartans.

Also on Saturday, if Miami or Nebraska-Omaha win their first-round game, they will play in the Northeast Regional final. With a win over North Dakota, Michigan would play in the West Regional final against Holy Cross or Minnesota.

Michigan State, with a victory, could face either Maine or Harvard in the East Regional final on Sunday.