Miami wins playoff title, at a cost
Congratulations are in order for the Miami RedHawks, winners of this season’s NCHC Frozen Faceoff. MU won the league’s playoff title on Saturday by virtue of a 3-2 win over St. Cloud State.
Getting past the Huskies allowed Miami to wrap up the league’s autobid into the first round of the NCAA tournament. The RedHawks will be the No. 1 seed in the East Regional – No. 4 overall – and will face Providence on Saturday in Providence, R.I.
It will undoubtedly be a home game for the Friars, but that won’t be Miami’s biggest concern this week. What will likely weigh heavier on the RedHawks’ minds is what they’ll be without when they square off against Providence.
Miami will be without forward Blake Coleman, who netted a hat trick the first 35 minutes of the RedHawks’ NCHC playoff title-clinching win. After that, though, Coleman was sent off for a contact-to-the-head misconduct call.
It was the third misconduct call leveled against him this season. As such, he will have to sit out from Miami’s next game.
The RedHawks will also be keeping a close eye on the progress of Riley Barber, who fell injured on Saturday against SCSU.
Miami’s game against Providence this next Saturday is set to start at 5:30 p.m. CT. SCSU will face Michigan Tech in Fargo, N.D. in a Midwest Regional semifinal on Friday at 3:30 p.m.
UND goes 0-2 at Frozen Faceoff
North Dakota came into the NCHC playoff championship weekend with the tournament’s No. 1 seed and looked poised to perhaps lock up the No.1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.
That didn’t happen.
Instead, UND fell twice in Minneapolis, falling 3-1 to reseeded No. 4 SCSU on Friday at the Target Center before dropping a 5-1 decision to Denver on Saturday in the tournament’s third-place game.
Keaton Thompson got UND on the board first 15:02 into Friday’s first semifinal game. However, Husky goals from David Morley and Joey Benik 19 seconds apart in the first period’s final minute saw SCSU take a 2-1 lead back to its dressing room. A Joe Rehkamp empty-netter in the third frame put the game to bed.
Things went no better for UND in Saturday’s third-place game. UND opened the scoring once more, this time through a Connor Gaarder goal, but the Pioneers responded with five unanswered goals from five different Denver skaters.
Denver, which was already assured of a spot in the NCAA tournament before the Frozen Faceoff began, acquitted itself well following a 6-3 semifinal loss to Miami on Friday.
UND will be the No. 1 seed in the West Regional in Fargo, just barely over an hour south of the school’s home in Grand Forks, and will face Quinnipiac on Friday at 7 p.m. CT. Denver will meet Boston College in Providence on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Six NCHC teams go dancing
An astounding six NCHC teams locked up spots in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Miami picked up the league’s autobid, while Denver, Minnesota-Duluth, North Dakota, Omaha and St. Cloud State all picked up at-large bids into the national showcase.
What’s almost as impressive is that the NCAA tournament selection committee was able to keep each of those six teams apart in the first round. There are potential intraleague regional finals, perhaps, in the East Regional (Miami and Denver) and West Regional (North Dakota and St. Cloud State).
On top of the first-round meetings mentioned above, Minnesota-Duluth will face former WCHA rival Minnesota on Friday at 4:30 p.m. CT in a Northeast Regional semifinal in Manchester, N.H. On Saturday, Omaha will square off with Harvard in a Midwest Regional semifinal in South Bend, Ind., at 6:30 CT.