ECAC Northeast and MASCAC Weekend Preview: January 7

While some teams participated in holiday tournaments over the winter break, most of the action is getting back underway this weekend, with a few squads taking part in midweek contests over the past several days. Here’s a look at the mostly non-conference action underway this weekend.
Friday, January 7.
Curry at Utica, 7 p.m.
Curry came back early from break to compete in the Cardinal Classic, losing to Plattsburgh 7-1 on New Year’s Eve before taking the third place game 8-5 against New England College. Utica (9-4, 2-2 ECAC West) has been off for a almost a month. Once the rust shakes off, look for Utica to squeak out the win. Utica 4, Curry 2.
Western New England at Brockport, 7 p.m.
A weekend series between two teams that have struggled a bit this season. Brockport got its first win of the Dec. 4 against SUNYAC opponent Cortland, and enters the weekend with a 1-12-1 record overall. Meanwhile WNEC got off to a hot start, but has lost six in a row. Brockport fell to Hobart 5-2 Tuesday, while the Golden Bears are back in action for the first time in month. Brockport 4, Western New England 3
Saturday, January 8
Western New England at Brockport, 3 p.m.
The second game of the weekend series is an afternoon affair. Weekend sweeps are tough in college hockey, so look for WNEC to bounce back. On a side note, a sweep for WNEC would push the Golden Bears to within one game .500 and would be a big boost heading into conference play. Western New England 5, Brockport 3
Salve Regina at Massachusetts-Dartmouth, 4:30.
The Corsairs are a very solid team backboned by an excellent goalie in senior Collin Tracy. The Seahawks were swept in the PSU invitational on New Year’s by a combined score of 17-2. Things won’t get any easier against UMass-Dartmouth. UMass-Dartmouth 6, Salve Regina 1
Nichols at Assumption, 4:35
A non-conference matchup between two teams that have gotten some action in since the break. The Greyhounds beat Westfield State on a last second goal on Tuesday and gave several ECAC Northeast teams trouble early in the year, but fell to Fitchburg State 9-3 Thursday. Look for Nichols to come out on top. Nichols 7, Assumption 2
Curry at Oswego, 7:00
Probably the non-conference matchup of the season thus far for either the MASCAC or ECAC Northeast. Oswego (13-2) was ranked No.1 in the last USCHO National Poll of 2010 before falling to No. 2. It will be a great test for the Colonels. It’s unlikely they’ll pull out the win, especially on the road, but it should help get them ready for the upcoming conference race. Oswego 6, Curry 2
Sunday, January 9
Plymouth State at Wentworth, noon.
Good matchup between two contending teams in the MASCAC and ECAC Northeast, respectively. This is the first  of two games at Matthews Arena in Boston, with the series finale coming Monday night. Again, weekend sweeps are tough, so look for the teams to split the series. It’s a matchup of two good young goalies in Panthers sophomore  Jack Astedt and Wentworth freshman Chris Azzano. Wentworth 3, Plymouth State 2
Becker at Johnson & Wales, 3:05 p.m.
The only conference game of the weekend features a team that has been off since the middle of December, and a team in Becker that has played four games since the break. The extra games haven’t done much good for Becker, as they are only 1-3 in those contests. Becker is more of a defense minded team matched up against the Wildcats’  fast paced attack. I think JWU will deal the Hawks their first conference loss of the season. Johnson & Wales 4, Becker 2
Overall Picks Record: 45-28


253 COMMENTS

  1. There was also a great series between Miami and Michigan, the two best teams in the CCHA. It is unreal that this series was not on TV anywhere, having one game on TV on comcast in Michigan doesn’t count. This was the last time Miami plays at Yost as a CCHA opponent and both team ranked in top10, and couldn’t watch either game, very painful. Bring on the NCHC and the TV contract with CBS sports next year!!

  2. MN State sweeps #1 team, are rated #1 in RPI and Pairwise and they only move to #7? Ridiculous…
    Meanwhile teams like the gophers lose an exhibition game to high school kids and they move up? Overrated…

    • You want overrated? These polls are what’s overrated. It is way, way too early to care about rankings, especially when they don’t mean anything right now.
      RE: Minnesota – there’s no value in an exhibition WIN, so there shouldn’t be in an exhibition loss either. Way easier for the young kids to get excited about a game like that than it is for a college team to get excited. Just my $.02 cents!

    • Don’t get stuck on the poll business. I my opinion Tech shoulda never been number 1. But we’ll take the exposure for the school and league. Polls are for fans more than anything… and RPI is not far behind.
      The only time they matter is when the season is over. Don’t sweat it… you got a great team. And if you want the truth, I hope neither MSU or Tech climb above 5… ever. GO WCHA, GO TECH GOLD!

  3. If Northeastern can sweep this weekend, as Dave predicts, that would be an amazing turnaround for the ages. If they stay out of the penalty box, and play that gritty style game, they can win. They have two of the best in the net right now.

  4. Dave’s pick: I’m going with a River Hawks sweep. Both teams are great defensively, but Lowell’s offense is far superior.
    UML 3, PC 1

    FINAL: UML 3, PC 1 UML 3, PC 7
    Oh well, back to the drawing board, as they say…
    SATURDAY UPDATE:

    Dave’s pick: Nope. As I mentioned earlier, the River Hawks are the more balanced team. (In Hockey East games, Providence ranks as the best defensive team and the worst offense; Lowell is second in both categories.)
    UML 2, PC 1

    FINAL: UML 2, PC 1 UML 1, PC 4
    Oh well, again, back to the drawing board, as they say…

  5. It will be interesting to see who NU starts in net next Monday night against BC in round one of the Beanpot. Jim Madigan has two legit number 1 goalies in Derick Roy and Clay Witt. I was happy to see Maine play well at home and on the road this weekend.

  6. I bet MN fans would rather be left in the east. At least they might get some tickets. The West in Fargo is sold out and it will be pretty much 99% UND fans. Jason went to town moving teams this week.
    In these rare instances when there are no inter-conferance games that require some movement, I would love to see the committee just leave it as is. A Team like UND has earned the right to play the 15th ranked team not the 14th ranked team. Neither of them are an easy out for sure, but again if there is no need to move and what kind of additional attendance are you going to get? MN and UM fans aren’t going to Fargo and if they do they can plan on watching on TV’s in bars around town. The moves for the teams to get back out east are maybe somewhat helpful but I would have to think the committee would look at it and ask themselves if the benefit is really worth upending the integrity of the bracket.
    That West bracket looks pretty scary with these changes. If this is the case, UND and it’s fans will be wishing they had picked another year to host. That is a lot of talent on the ice in those games.

    • Always have to move teams for attendance purposes……i.e. grand rapids…..Cincinnati……really helped those places out……..

      • Exactly, if they were worried about attendance they would move the regionals back a week so fans can plan and recover from conference tourneys.

    • You’re right it would be the bracket from hell. Unfortunately this is not about selling tickets in Fargo, it’s about selling tickets in Providence and South Bend. As a gopher fan I’m not jumping to play NoDak in Fargo, but to rekindle the rivalry would be fun.

      • Granted I get that it is about selling tickets in the east. The question that I want the committee to think about is how many more tickets are we talking about? A few hundred between the two venues – that doesn’t make sense, a few thousand at each location then I get it. There should be some thought about how much of a financial benefit is worth messing with the bracket integrity is all I am saying.

        • Ever watch a game from some of those neutral sights? 1500 people in a 9000 seat arena. Bracket integrity is great and an ideal, empty venues are stale and no fun. Fargo sells out with ND support and is a great atmosphere regardless of the opponent. I have an NDSU grad in the house and Bison football says it all. Providence getting a home game is not warranted but may be required. Oh well it’s along ways to the tourney and a lot can change. Either way as much as it pains me to say, good luck to the no names.

          • I have been to a neutral site in the past and it was not that bad because UND traveled pretty well.
            I hear what you are saying but my only point is that if the difference is going to be another 500 people in that 9000 seat arena should that/does that outweigh the idea of keeping the bracket integrity. My gut is if the NCAA thinks it can sell even one more ticket they would make the move and that is the problem that I have. If you are going to sell another 1000, 2500 tickets and the arena will be hopping, then it makes perfect sense. My hope is that they at least take that into account.

          • Since when has the NCAA done anything that makes sense. You just want to duck the gophers. LOL.
            As Jerry Tarkanian said the NCAA was so mad at UCLA for paying players they put Cleveland State on probation.
            It’s a long way off and hopefully UM will win enough to get higher seeding but who knows. My bet is if ND stays in top 4, gophers will be in Fargo no matter what.They used to say you played in the closest region regardless of pairwise. There was no integrity. Now they say they want integrity. Dollars rule all. Integrity looks good as a policy, but forgotten in the seeding room.

          • As a UND fan, honestly I am not that worried about anyone. That’s not to say they are a slam-dunk to win it all, but right now I would take them over anyone in the country in a winner take all, but I said the same thing in the FF a few years back in St Paul and they ran into the hottest goalie I have ever seen. Sometimes the name of the game should just be changed to “goalie” the way that kid played that night, no one was scoring on him, made me sick!

          • The original bracket has both BU and BC in Providence. They can’t sell tickets there with those two teams (and Minnesota and Tech having a great season)?

  7. Bring on the goofers. I have tickets and that game would be epic. First they have to make it and a sweep of the ugly helmets this weekend would almost automatically get them in.

  8. The ticket thing concerns me, I get that they want to sell as many as possible, and that you cant wait til the bracket is released but could you imagine if a team like UND hosted and was the 16th seed. Home ice, sell out for their squad and thats what the # 1 team would have to face. Not easy. Heck even is UND stumbles a bit and gets a 2 seed, MNSU will have to go up there and I think we all would agree thats not a great reward for a good season.Granted to win it all you have to beat the best but beating UND in ND w/ a packed house is tough no matter how well UND is playing or who they are facing.

  9. Why would # 12 Michigan get to move west but # 6 Michigan Tech has to stay east? The bottom seeds haven’t earned the right to stay local, regardless of attendance benefits.

  10. None of the Number 1 seeds want to play Minnesota. They are not afraid of them, but the Gophers are very capable of returning to the Frozen Four. Personally, I think the Gophers miss the tournament. With that said, if they do sneak in I wouldn’t bet against them.

    • Gophs won’t miss the tourney, after we sweep “team ugly helmets” it’s off to the races! Call me a diehard or a rube but in the next month they are going to be scary good!

      • Just like they were “supposed” to be scary good all year? A sweep of #38 must have went straight to your head…….

          • Joe Blow from Brazil could have made the comment and I would responded the same way. You just happened to be the lucky recipient.

          • Not saying they won’t turn it around, but for all the hype from the beginning of the year, what happened? Laziness?

          • My theory is that they thought they could just put on the big M each night and win because they’re the Gophers. Not a whole lot of production from the freshman class, I think they got cocky and are now realizing that they need to give 100% every night to win. All in all I think they will make the tourney and make some noise. Good luck the rest of the way.

          • I’d be surprised if they didn’t make it. My guess is mich and mn are in. Unless there are some upsets in the conference tourney.

      • You may be a die-hard rube, but that doesn’t change the fact that your team SHOULD BE better than they have shown. Not to belittle the BIG 6, but I am expecting the Gophs to finish strong. Their remaining schedule (and what I believe they are capable of) shouldn’t stop them from another conference championship. If UND is going to see the Goph’s again, I’d like a bigger stage—–Frozen 4?

    • I think what you’re getting at is this:
      If MN make the tourney, it will be b/c they will have figured out how to play together and with passion. Which means they will be a very dangerous team.
      If they continue on their present course, they will not be in the tournament.

    • As a UND fan, I’ll play MN. Not sure what happened to him but the goalie is not the same this year and he was really what made them go, you could see the confidence they had in him with how the D would get involved and leave the door open to some odd man rushes, etc. Just not the same with him being what he has been this year. We get MN, I like our chances.

  11. At the risk of being labeled a purist, I say just leave the brackets as they were on the initial draw. Fargo is already sold out, moving Michigan and Minnesota there wont sell any additional tix.

    • Thank you. I beat this horse every year (this and the BS “host school” nonsense). When determining a champion bracket integrity should be the ONLY consideration. Of course, letting an AHA team in every year means there can really never be true tournament integrity……..

        • Well, first off, you’re wrong.
          Moy’s bracket this week does NOT have BC and BU in Providence. He has BU, Quinnipiac, Providence and Michigan Tech.
          Secondly, last year the Northeast regional FINAL had Lowell and BC – both less than 60 minutes from Worcester – and it didn’t sell out. Not even close.
          Wikipedia says the DCU Center can hold up to 12,000 for hockey.
          Do you know what the attendance was for the championship game between Lowell and BC?
          5,474.
          That’s pathetic.

  12. Personally, I liked the integrity of it as it fell initially, but if these moves happen, it will be a great show. I would have been fine without tthe moves. Attendance for the West region won’t change. Quinn and Providence will help the East. Lowell and BC could improve the NE assuming those people will travel.
    I understand that the NCAA wants better attendance, but I still don’t get why this has to come at the expense of giving a “closer-to-home” advantage to lower ranked teams. I would guess UNO and UMD would be a little T’d-off about these moves since they can’t move any closer to home even though they have the higher rank.
    Lastly, is part of the reason for the moves to try to insure there are teams from both the west and east playing in the finals?

    • Integrity went out the door a long time ago when they needed to move things that wouldn’t help attendance and overcharge for tickets.

  13. Jason is just trying to get a rise out of people, especially UND and Gopher fans (easy task) How many previous bracketologies has he reached to ‘try to move teams back east or west’ in ways unrelated to interconference matchups or attendance(there are no attendance issues to speak of that he is ‘fixing’. Not often. So why now? His first brackets were fine. The changes were all about pushing peoples buttons

  14. Is Moy’s car parked outside a CO dispensary?
    Now’s the time for a Kanye West interruption.
    First bracket looks the best.
    Attendance woes belong to the NCAA and their host selection process/history of bad choices. Own them NC$$.

  15. Bring on the Sioux. To be the best you have to beat the best and UND has proven they are a top tier team all season. I would not prefer to play them basically on home ice but what the heck, if my squad can get past them on their ice than they can take it all.

  16. just glad to see my gophers back in. at this point, I’ll take fargo over sitting this one out any day of the week and twice on sunday.

  17. A gopher-sioux matchup in Fargo would be awesome. Preferably in the first round. To free up additional tickets for UND fans in the regional final.

    • I get the joke, but I hope you realize that pretty much every single ticket at Scheels has already been sold to a NoDak fan.
      Whenever schools like NoDak, MN, MI, BC, and some others host a regional, their fans buy all the tickets available long before the brackets are announced.
      Fans of those teams always assume their team will make the tourney.
      So I doubt there will be more than 12 extra seats available for the final, no matter which team NoDak beats in the opener.

        • Fair enough.
          Do you know how many they allot to each school?
          I went to the regional in Colorado Springs a few years back, and I don’t remember the box office lady asking me which team I was cheering for.
          Plus, I think we had to buy a package for all three games.

      • . Each school gets an allotment of 500 – the rest are sold open market. You have to buy the whole regional, not single game. Gopher fans only care about their team, and so when they lose, they will sell their tickets, and thus the audience will become more sioux for the regional final. Perhaps going from 75% to 85% give or take.

        • You should know in these one and done tournaments, anything can happen. You are making a big assumption the Gophers will lose. You probably thought the same with Yale and Union the last two years.

          • I’m being lectured to by a voice of reason? I’m a sioux fan for chrissakes. But thanks, I think I’ll presume victory over the gophers until shown otherwise (yes, just like last year)

          • I like the passion you have for your team. Good luck. I hope ND doesn’t let you down, unless it’s at the hands of the Gophers. Just having a little fun….it never hurts.

  18. Maintain the brackets and let 1 play 16, 2 play 15, etc. Regional attendance will always be spotty until the NCAA lowers ticket prices

    • I disagree. Regional attendance would be solved if the #1 seeds were allowed to host those regions. The fact that you expect placing these tournaments in the middle of nowhere rather than where there is the most excitement for it makes no sense. I know, I know….People want to complain about fairness, but really? These teams will work their ass off to get the chance to play at home. You want to be host? Then get out there and play for it. I believe there is no better way than this to make that positive change to the attendance.

      • finally… something Gopher and Sioux fans can agree on! this tactic echoes what the NHL did in trying to expand hockey to markets that wouldn’t support it (i.e. arizona, atlanta). let’s be realistic here folks. I LOVE hockey. I would LOVE for hockey to be the most popular sport in America. but I’m realistic. and I’d much rather have the NCAA let their fan base enjoy these tournaments instead of using it as a way to try and expand said base. you want to do that? great. but do it with some sort of showcase, as the NHL (finally) has done and make a bigger deal over it. for example, imagine how cool it would be to see the Gophers and Wild play back-to-back Winter Classic games, say…on Minnesota Hockey Day…against North Dakota and Chicago? (or Michigan and the Red Wings back-to-back at the Joe?) anyway… agree… let top seeds host regionals and attendance woes (by and large) go away.

        • The top seeds already have an advantage they get to the play the last 4 teams in. You want to see college hockey get smaller, give the smaller programs (Yale, QU, etc) very little chance by having to play on another teams home ice. Let’s just make two different tourneys. Let the #1 seeds just go to the FF and everyone else can play in a round robin.
          It would kill the whole idea of everyone’s got a chance when the season starts if the top 4 host home games. What fun would that be for the other 12 teams in the tourney. Would anyone travel? Not really.
          A pretty good example of this is the NCAA FCS tourney. You see an upset every now and then but the past 4 or 5 years the #1 or #2 seed have played in the finals each of those years and the bracket is pretty much chalk. Of course there are exceptions but go to an NDSU playoff game in football and tell me that’s a fair way to decide the national title? I see why they do it but honestly it is just such a huge advantage that I think you would end up seeing the majority of the top seeds in the FF the majority of the time and if that is the case what is the point for a school like Yale or Harvard or Bemidji, etc, etc, etc, they may make the tourney but for all your hard work you put in to make the field of 16 you get to go and play MN at their home rink, congrats and thanks for playing. You seem to be losing sight of the fact that all of the teams work hard to get into the tourney not just the top 4.
          I will keep saying it, the best solution to try next that could solve some of the attendance problem is super regionals where 8 teams are all in one location for a thursday/saturday and a friday/sunday tourney. Let’s try that first and see if it helps and then we can talk about top teams hosting.

          • Well, lucky for us – right now – we have a real world example of how your argument (that having host schools is bad, that it will ALWAYS be Minnesota hosting) doesn’t hold up.
            Take this year. You claim Minnesota would always host, yet this year (as of now), smaller programs such as Quinnipiac, Providence, Michigan Tech, Omaha, Minnesota State (Mankato, MN) and Bowling Green are all ranked ahead of Minnesota in the Pairwise and would host before Minnesota.
            In particular, Omaha and Mankato State would be host schools. How AWESOME would that be?! But nooooo… Let’s make Omaha and Minnesota State fans travel for their HOME regional. Let’s make Omaha “host” a regional in MANCHESTER (with BC in the region no less). And let’s make Mankato “host” a regional 8 hours away in SOUTH BEND (IN) – while Bowling Green (in the same regional) is a mere two hours away. Now THAT is a joke. These fans don’t travel well. Omaha fans don’t travel well. They’re not North Dakota or Minnesota fans. And that’s not just me being some holier-than-thou Gophers fan. It just is. (Heck, I’ll freely admit that we don’t travel nearly as well as NoDak fans.)
            Regional hosting is doing these small programs a disservice by removing it from their home rinks and communities and forcing their fans to travel.
            And let’s be real honest here. It has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with being FAIR to the small programs. It’s ALL about the money. Do you honestly believe that the NCAA wants regionals in Mankato, or Omaha, or Bowling Green? Do you think they would prefer a regional in Bowling Green, OH over one at the X in St. Paul, MN? Heck no!! They want bigger venues to sell more tickets.
            Having regional sites hold the tournaments with the closest high seed being the host program ignores the good that ACTUALLY hosting these games would do for these smaller programs (and local hockey communities). Seeing the success of a small program host a regional certainly wouldn’t be lost on the other smaller programs. The excitement that hosting a regional would generate in a community like Mankato – and what it would do for the program – would be monumental.
            You want smaller programs to advance and grow? Then let them host a regional and see what it’s all about. I can promise you one thing; sending Omaha to Manchester to potentially play Boston College (or Mankato to South Bend 2 hours from Bowling Green) is NOT going to do it. Now…having Omaha host the regional IN Omaha? Now THAT I would LOVE to see. That’s how you create hockey fans in Omaha.

          • You can keep saying all you want that the top seeds should host. It will not happen. They used to and the NCAA went away from it? Do you think it was working so well that they just decided to change the rules for no good reason? If the NCAA was all about money, they would let the top teams keep hosting and just take their cut of sold out arenas. Move on, that idea is not going to fly, so let’s have a conversation about how we make the current situation better with something that actually has a chance to happen.
            And I never said that MN would host every year but they would host pretty frequently I bet if we look back at the last 20 years, how many times were MN, BC, BU, MI, UND, DU #1 seeds? Has there been a single year in the last 20 that one of these wasn’t in a #1 seed?
            You also need to think about the fact that not everyone in college hockey plays everyone else, so the PWR does it’s best to sort that out and even the playing field as best it can, but it can’t account for everything. The top programs already have better players (in many cases), better facilities, better overall programs and now you want to reward them again with hosting more often than other schools?

          • Thanks captain obvious. I know it won’t happen. But I didn’t raise the point, I was just responding to a comment – and pointing out the benefits to these programs and these hockey fans. I’m not making the case because it’s near and dear to my heart.
            And of course those teams would host more. They’ve built up their programs. And they keep winning. But that takes time. Quinnipiac, Miami, et al can get there. They ARE getting there. But again, it will take time.
            Also, I’m pretty confident my Gophers will be making the NCAAs most years REGARDLESS of the tournament set-up…as you noted has been the case. So hey, no skin off my back. I don’t have a vested interest other than I would love to see hockey fans get to revel in the sport they love, while watching the teams they love, near their homes/home rinks. Instead, the NCAA sends them all over the map milking the sport for cash. That’s what’s happening now.
            And if you believe the NCAA went this way for any other reason than to fill more seats and make more cash, then I have swamp land in Florida to sell you. Come on. Do you think the Big Ten hockey is here because the fans were clamoring for it? Or because it will be a cash cow for NCAA hockey?
            If it isn’t about the money, then why shift away from smaller team arenas to bigger regional venues? To play at “neutral” sites? Please. Tell that to teams that have had to travel to St Paul to play Minnesota at the X on “neutral” ice. Or teams that have to play in the North Dakota regional this year. Or played Michigan at the Joe when it has hosted regionals. These sites are only neutral as a technicality.
            If it isn’t about the money, then why switch team seeding in the NCAA for attendance? Why not leave them at home if you want to be fair? That would assure strong attendance locally and be more fair. They’re switched because attendance = cash. The NCAA wants better attendance, but it does’t care if that attendance is garnered in Mankato by Minnesota State fans or in South Bend by whoever. That’s the real shame. MSU has earned that this year.
            If it isn’t about the money, then moving a regional from a site like Mariucci to the “neutral” X doesn’t make sense because it’s not neutral. It’s moved that way because when you compare the likes of Mariucci (10,000 seats) to The X (19,000+) at roughly $60 a pop, that translates to another half million in the bank for the NCAA and all involved – for one game.
            Again, the change to “neutral” sites hasn’t help small programs grow any faster, but it has made the NCAA more money.

          • Isn’t everyone that keeps talking about on campus sites contradicting themselves somewhat? Everyone keeps saying that the NCAA is doing this for cash but then they also complain the rinks are empty. How are they making money if the rinks are empty? Wouldn’t it stand to reason that moving to the top teams hosting would actually make far more money? You would probably see all 4 regionals sell out right? In smaller rinks, in many cases, but if you host at a rink that has a 10,000 capacity and only 2000 show up and you host at a home site that has a capacity of 4500 but you sell out you get more revenue from the 4500 right?
            Am I missing something? Does someone buy all the unused tickets and actually get put on the hook for the costs? I am asking because the argument seems to have some holes and I don’t know what the ticketing policy of the NCAA is for hockey.

          • The points you make are perfectly valid.
            As for the tickets, good question. I know the schools are on the hook if they can’t sell the tickets allotted to them. But I’m not sure if the NCAA needs to cover unsold tickets, if they get a special event price/flat rate for the use of the entire facility, etc. Not sure how those deals are structured.
            As for the current model, the NCAA did do it for cash (and they are making money), but I don’t think they’ve met expectations. (I mean, there’s no way the NCAA stays in these half-empty arenas if they’re losing money.) I just don’t think attendance has grown like they thought it would when they moved to bigger regional sites. So that’s not a contradiction, that’s simply the gap between the NCAA’s expectations and reality. (And an example of how the NCAA misjudged the popularity and future growth of the sport.) Now, the NCAA is increasing revenue (and at a respectable clip), but with attendance trending downward, it’s unsustainable.
            These empty seats are clearly a major reason why they keep having to inflate ticket prices. Have to make up for less ticket sales by charging more for the ones you do sell. After initial growth for neutral site regionals, attendance has stagnated. You see way more empty seats. So…they raise ticket prices to cover. So…less people can afford to go. And round and round we go. I mean…the last time the X hosted, tickets were $94 a pop. Good grief. That’s $376 for a family of four before you even park your car and grab a hot dog! Again, unsustainable.
            Another problem – as you mentioned – is optics. All those empty seats should send a clear message (even if the NCAA is still making money). Much like the NHL – when it expanded to Arizona, Atlanta, et al – the NCAA took for granted growth of the sport and support wherever they showed up. They overextended themselves because they thought they could cash in. Those empty seats are only optics for now, and looks bad on highlights, but eventually it will be a real problem when attendance keeps dropping. But you have Minnesota, NoDak or UNH etc host and they’ll pack their arenas to the brim.
            Now, if we’re all really honest, we’ll admit that hockey is still a niche sport in the states and won’t be supported in all places just because it shows up. Stay where the enthusiasm is until you grow (organically) to fill more, bigger venues in other locales. Places like Minneapolis, Fargo and Detroit have no problem hitting 10,000+ attendance numbers. But not many other places will. So if you’re only putting 5,000 butts in a 10,000 seat arena A) it shows the NCAA misread the popularity of hockey and B) there’s no reason to move away from home rinks when most college arenas now will hold anywhere from 5-10,000 anyway.
            This, no doubt, has been the impetus for the hockey community to start revisiting the current model.
            Not sure I have the best answer. But I don’t believe regionals at “neutral” sites is the answer.

      • Can’t argue with you about that – campus sites would be perfect, but as you said, that “fairness” argument would come up, as when Michigan used to win the West Regional every year it hosted.

  19. EatMe makes a good point. Further:
    1) The NCAA, if it wants money, with leave this bracket alone and “feed” the others, as needed. The three least revenue-generating teams could be sent to Fargo and the West would likely still outdraw all other sites.
    2) If Gopher fans have trepidation about going to Fargo, what about the regionals being in St. Paul many years? Jeez, look in the mirror.
    3) Jason, consider the relative values of pragmatic vs. idealistic, in a deeper sense, as it applies to bracketology.

  20. One thing is for sure, B.C. and BU will get to stay in their back yards.
    You can also bet that two NCHC teams will end up in the same regional because the NCAA doesn’t want to see four NCHC teams in the Frozen Four.
    Anyone want to bet that Michigan ends up in South Bend?

  21. It’s fun and stuff to argue about this bracket, but seriously, it’s pointless.
    At least three of these teams will not make the tournament.
    And even amongst the others, a few of them will be in different bands.
    This week is an outlier for the PWR b/c there were a lot of weird upsets that allowed teams (such as MN) to move up without really accomplishing anything (no, I’m not going to write a letter to my mom about beating OSU at home).
    So, sure, let’s have some banter, but, I mean, don’t blow all your trash-talk funds at the dime store.

  22. UNO fan loved the first bracket Jason came up this week that had UNO as the #1 seed in the Northeast Regional since it had Michigan in it.
    Anybody wanna guess why?
    #wewillneverforget

  23. Finally, the NCAA can get their dream matchup of UND/MN in the first round (of course the Gophs still have some work to do just to make it…). thank god for the reallignment.

  24. it continues to be a farce that uscho can even dream of doing anything about attendance – with the ridiculous prices people would not go to the games even if they were less than a mile away

  25. If the season ended today and these brackets were final, as a fan of Omaha, Tech or UMD, I would be very upset. #4,#5 and #6 rated in the nation and the NCAA sends you to play out East in the lion’s den.
    There’s no reason why the Gophers shouldn’t be out in the East if the season ends today. Let them claw their way out of Providence as a reward for losing to UMD three times and Mankato (3 losses in the Twin Cities)

    • I’m a Gophers fan and I agree with you. (Although playing NoDak in NoDak is not exactly a consolation prize. And quite frankly, if I want to take the easier route to the FF, I’ll take the East bracket over the West ANY day.) But sending Omaha to be the “host” school in Manchester, NH (with BC and Lowell) is a bummer.

    • Dumper, you really think the Gophers would rather play UND in Fargo than take their chances with BU in Providence? Yeah, Fargo is closer to the Twin Cities, but there’s no way the Gophers would have any kind of appreciable fan support in a sold-out, HEAVILY UND building. They might actually have more support out East since tickets would still be available and there’s little doubt in my mind that BU would not bring the same level of fan support and intensity as the UND fans would. Give me Providence any day.
      I will agree with you though that these brackets would be a brutal draw for Omaha, UMD, and Tech. However, as long as western teams continue to dominate the top of the PWR, it’s inevitable that at least 1-2 two of those teams will be out east playing HEA or ECAC teams.

      • Not really trying to say Fargo is any consolation to Providence, but there’s something to be said about playing a couple hundred miles away from home compared to a couple thousand miles away.
        There’s no argument that Gophers vs Sioux wouldn’t boost interest in the Fargo bracket, but do the Gophers even deserve that kind of attention at this point?
        I’m an MSU Maverick fan, and to be honest to UND, I wouldn’t be the least bit excited about playing the U of M in the first round. I’d be pulling for the NCAA to feed my team some small program from the east to get the tourney started.

        • I hear what you’re saying, Dumper. I was making the point that playing a couple hundred miles from home could actually be worse for the Gophers than going out East given the opponent and fan support UND would have in Fargo.
          I don’t think the Gophers deserve that kind of attention at this point based on the disappointing season. However, I’d be willing to bet that if Minnesota gets in as a 4-seed and UND is a 1-seed (other than overall #1), that’s going to be the matchup because the NCAA likely couldn’t resist making that happen.
          I also agree with you that most #1 seeds, while not fearing the Gophers, would likely rather play one of the other teams in the 4-seed band in the first round if this was the final bracket, which of course it isn’t. Good luck to you and the Mavs and I’ll be hoping the Gophers can manage to secure a berth down the stretch.

    • As a #4 seed, where else can they send Omaha when two other West teams are seeded #1 and #2? They need to pass one of those two in the PWR to be in a western regional. It sucks, but they are paying the price for their own success. As a #4 seed, they should be good enough that it doesn’t matter what regional they are placed in.

  26. Moy’s final bracket this week does look odd, especially if the intent is to bolster attendance. Moving Providence and Lowell east makes sense. With BU and Providence in Providence, how many more tickets will sell with Quinnipiac there? A couple hundred…..maybe? If that’s all it takes, then seeding means almost nothing to the committee.
    Moving Miami & Michigan to South Bend and Bowling Green & Denver to Fargo makes much more sense, and the committee would absolutely do that if the PairWise finishes as it is today.

  27. It’s a tough argument whether the Top 2 seeds in a regional should have to travel thousands of miles to play the 3rd and 4th best team less than an hour from their schools or whether the top seeds should have the advantage of playing at home. I think the higher seeds have earned the right to have an advantage. Just because the PWR says that you have a 3 vs. 14 matchup, doesn’t mean that one team is better than the other because they likely didn’t play each other.

    • Actually the PWR whole reason for being is to rank teams that haven’t played each other. The whole goal is to say that team A is better because of the like opponents, etc. Obviously the PWR can only do so much but it is a pretty good indication of the better teams overall. The true beauty of the NCAA tournament is that any of the teams in the top 16 and usually a few that are left out, are easily capable of beating anyone on any given night so it is about playing your best hockey going into the tourney.
      But overall the PWR strives to do exactly that the 3 team is better than 14.

  28. So, let’s hear that complaint one more time why a 4 or 5-bid conference can’t, doesn’t, or won’t be able to have at least one team in every regional final. It’s conspiracy, man!

    • I emailed the AD at Wayne State and asked if they were looking at addng D1 hockey again and the answer Hell No none of the other schools and conference want them

  29. I may be missing something, but…don’t Michigan and Minnesota BOTH make it in this week?
    The Gophers are now in the top 16 for pairwise. But (as Cody Kendera already mentioned), Michigan is still the B10 league leader according to league rules. So…don’t they both get in?
    What am I missing?
    Yes, the Gophers have the better winning percentage, but according to B10 rules, Michigan would be first because the FIRST tie breaker is number of WINS, NOT winning percentage. Michigan has 8. Minny, 7.
    Looks like this bracket is already busted.

    • Moy says pretty clearly that he is using winning % as the tie breaker for all conferences for the bracketology. It doesn’t really matter what the conference tiebreak rules are anyway, since its the tournament winner actually gets the birth. It if makes you feels better, think of it this way: he’s assuming the team with the best winning % will win the conference tournament.

      • Ahhhhhhhhh…ooops. Never mind. Total Brain fart. I was thinking the league champ got an autobid (as they did for about 8 years – after the ’94 Colorado College fiasco) instead of only the league tournament winners.
        (That’s what I get for posting past my bedtime.)

  30. If the scenario of teams plays out as expected, I’d love to see whether the committee considers that for the placement of Boston U, Providence is on the Commuter Line from downtown Boston, where as Manchester would have to be a drive (a long one in this weather). I’d imagine I’d want Providence if I was BU.

  31. I don’t like the idea of having a lower seed such as Providence getting to basically play at home against higher seeds. Where’s the reward for Miami, BU of UNO having better seasons? Yeah, they get to travel and play a lower seed on their home ice.

  32. And you think you need Minnesota in Fargo to sell more tickets? That place will be full of North Dakota fans even if Alabama-Huntsville, Iowa and Northern Arizona are there.

  33. This is a perfect scenario! MN sneaks into the tournament and gets ND in the first round in a rematch of last years fantastic final four semi. What’s not to like about that?

  34. If this would hold true just think of how small the crowd would be for the championship game in the Northeast Regional if Omaha and Minnesota Duluth played in it.

      • When was the last time these so called great North Dakota teams won the tourney? Oh wait that was 15 years ago and they haven’t been back to the final since 05. I’d take any other MN team in the field over ND this year. Have fun not winning it again this year.

  35. WOW. Interesting weekend. Look at this weeks brackets (with moves);
    In Prov;
    Miami vs Bowling Green
    Mich Tect vs Prov.
    In Manchester;
    UMD vs Yale
    BU vs Quinn
    South Bend;
    MSUM vs St Cloud
    UNO vs BC
    In Fargo;
    UND vs Robert Morris
    DU vs Minn
    This could get dicey with 6 NCHC teams.

  36. This is easy. The Pairwise works off of non-conference games first. If a team has a good non-conference record, then that helps. What really works is other teams in that same conference having good non-conference records. The NCHC has the best non-conference record…

  37. Wow!
    Almost 100 comments this story, and only one mention of the KRACH!
    Has the world turned topsy-turvy?
    Is the mercury dropping in that land of eternal flames?
    Have the Cubs won the Series?
    What’s going on?!!

  38. All those western teams is right. It’s almost like there shouldn’t be two east regionals every year…. maybe rotate that fourth regional (east, midwest, west) instead of giving the east two regionals that always bomb in attendance. Time for the NCAA to recognize there’s just as much talent in college hockey out west as there is out east.

  39. Stop having games in cities without collage teams, they don’t go to the games. Cities with teams will go to any game. Also teams that have to travel should have played better during the season and they might not have to. The NCAA (SUCKS) if they don’t want another all conference final four just make it east vs west final with the top 2 teams go. I think that idea sucks too so just stop moving teams and let 1 play 16 2 play 15. NCAA stop thinking your not very good at it.

    • My spelling and grammer is bad. I’m sure most COLLEGE educated people would’nt give spelling lession until 4 or 5 days after rotator cuff surgery. I thank you for having the courage for doing sooner.

  40. Completed brackets after last night’s games. Appears there is no way to move Gophers to west based on current PWR/RPI. Appears to be a contentious issue non the less. Realize there are games today but I don’t think the outcomes will matter. Maybe Vermont, but unlikely to move into the field. The only possible attendance swap I see is Gophers (14) NE with UML (15) MW. The rankings will most certainly change in the next 2 weeks but I enjoy this exercise to see if I can come up with the same as Moy.

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