Big Day on Tap for Atlantic Hockey

2011 is going out with a bang for several Atlantic Hockey teams. In what must be a record, AHA teams are taking on a total of six ranked teams in tournament and non-conference games today.

Rochester Institute of Technology, which already defeated No. 11 Ferris State 3-0 yesterday, will take on 16th-ranked Lake Superior State this afternoon in Vermont in what amounts to the championship game of the Catamount Cup. The tournament has a pre-determined schedule but both RIT and LSSU won their games yesterday.

Canisius travels to No. 12 Colgate, UConn hosts 17th-ranked Mass-Lowell in the championship game of its tournament, Niagara is at No. 2 Minnesota in the first round of the Mariucci Classic, Air Force plays at cross-town rival No. 6 Colorado College and  Robert Morris hosts 4th-ranked Ohio State at the CONSOL Energy Center in downtown Pittsburgh.

Tomorrow, Air Force hosts No. 15 Denver and Holy Cross could be playing 7th-ranked Merrimack in the Ledyard Bank Tournament at Dartmouth. The Crusaders take on the Big Green today in the first round.

Finally, on Sunday, Bentley travels to No. 19 Yale.

So in total, AHA teams will play nine and possibly 10 teams in the Top 20.


  1. What happened to Yale? Union and Yale seem similar in terms of speed and back checking. From what I have seen, the Union Goal tending has been the difference.

  2. I had the opportunity to tune in to three other conference tourneys this weekend besides watching at least the majority of all 5 B1G games. At Boston, St. Paul, and Minneapolis there were fans in camera range. At the XCel Energy center, the upper levels were closed off and everyone in attendance was seated in the lower bowl. The B1G tourney had vast expanses of empty seats that reminded me of small town high school hockey where the few in attendance are related to one of the players. If the B1G cares a whit about hockey (another debate for another time) they won’t allow another Debacle in Detroit in 2017.

    • I agree that the attendance in Detroit was downright awful. The sadder thing is that it wasn’t that much worse than what we saw at the X last spring. The one difference which speaks volumes, in my opinion, is that last year, there was at least decent attendance at the Gopher game. This year, even with Michigan playing Michigan State in “primetime” it was still a ghost town. I’m not sure there’s a good solution though.

      • Not just Detroit. As I said elsewhere, the BU/Lowell game was sparsely attended. But also the Mariucci was pretty bare for the Penn St series.

    • I noticed that, too. I watched the Thursday games–in the afternoon session, I could hear player communication (on the ice) over the “crowd” noise.

  3. I believe that the B10 will have a very difficult time getting more then two teams in the tournament every year. Without a lot of participation, teams are just going to be beating up on each other, bringing down their rankings. It won’t be unusual for a team to have 5-6 conference losses at the least.
    I like the idea of the bottom four teams playing a best of three, and then going to the semi-finals. That has merit.
    From what I saw on the TV, attendance was horrific. When it goes back to Detroit in 2017, it will be in the new Red Wings arena (I believe). That ‘MAY’ help. But quite frankly, the last 10 or so years, College Hockey enthusiasm in Michigan has declined a considerable amount. From what it was 20-30 years ago, is now just a small fraction of what it was. No idea why, except that like most of Michigan, people have moved away for job’s or into retirement. Also, if you factor in the cost of going to the B10, NCAA regional and then maybe the F. Four, your talking about a major investment. One I can no longer afford.
    Let me add one other item about Michigan State besides a lack of offense; they could use a Coach as well.

    • Decatur, I’d disagree about the beating up on each other argument. We saw this year that NCHC teams beating up on each other didn’t hurt their tournament prospects one bit. I think the issue is playing better in non-conference games to raise RPI. That’s what really cost most B1G schools this year. St. Cloud had 17 losses this year (17!) and got in based on the overall strength of the NCHC and the schedule they played.

  4. Curious —- does anyone know if the Gophers would have gotten an at large bid if they had lost the final to Michigan.

      • Thanks — of the cuff, I thought yes as well, but I never ran the scenarios the through pairwise calculator they had on line.

    • Yes they would have gotten in. Mass-Lowell, Colgate, Miami and I believe Mich Tech all had to win at the same time for the gohpers to be out. As soon Colgate or Lowell lost (don’t remember which game was finished first) the gophers were a lock… Minny probably would have been a 4 or a low 3 seed for sure if they lost to Mich.

  5. For as much crap as I love to give the cupcake 6 league, (they were downright horrible this year) I doubt there will be many years that they only get 1 team in the national tourney. Every conference has swings. That being said……GO BULLDOGS!

    • So are you a Nodak fan, a bulldog fan, or a fan of whoever the gophers are playing???? I think both the later and Nodak…. I’m the same with Nodak, so i can’t really complain… can’t wait to see who wins it this year!!! it should be some good hockey!!!

      • An enemy of your enemy is your friend. Will be a lot of good games this weekend. I should take half the day off on Friday…..

      • The cupcake 6 has 0 titles. They were not a conference until last year. The NCHC has 0 titles. They were not a conference until last year.

      • And your comment has nothing to do with how pathetic the big joke conference was this year. But thanks for responding.

  6. I know the B1G schools used to play teams in Alaska, but having ASU join up seems insane. I have a hard time getting past that point since UAF/UAA showed it’s possible, but the NCHC/WCHA seems like a likelier home

  7. What Johns Hopkins, Maryland, and Rutgers had was the academics. All B1G universities are members of the American Association of Universities (Nebraska-Lincoln was at the time the offer was extended and was kicked out in part because the med school is not part of UNL, and agricultural research grants are not competitive enough). Arizona State is not in the AAU, but the University of Arizona is.

  8. With only 6 teams in the conference, there is no question that the Big Ten’s automatic bid should go to the regular season champion and not the tournament champion. Just the idea that a team like Michigan, who was dead to rights in the PairWise, could win two games in their hometown and suddenly get into the NCAA tournament is pretty insulting. And if Michigan had beaten Minnesota in the tournament final and then had Minnesota failed to get an at large bid? That would have been a complete and utter farce. I realize that in most years, the Big Ten won’t be as lackluster as it was this season. Wisconsin, for one, is never this bad and even the likes of Ohio State figure to improve in the near future. But until the conference has at least a couple more teams, I FIRMLY believe that the auto bid should go to the regular season champion.

  9. Some of these comments/articles make it sound like a lot of people weren’t aware of the existence of auto-bids until this season. Did you guys not know that it’s been like this for a long time now? It didn’t start this season with the B1G, there has been the opportunity for the last few at large bids to get screwed by auto-bids for years, whether it was the ECAC, AHA, CCHA, HE, or even the WCHA! If Michigan had beaten MN, it wouldn’t have been the first (or worst, by a long shot) time this has ever occurred.

    • You’re totally right, but I believe that unless or until the Big Ten has 8 or 10 teams, the automatic bid should go to the team that wins the regular season title…which is an infinitely more impressive (and more difficult) thing to accomplish than winning a couple games over a weekend tournament. I have no problem with auto bids for really tough conferences like the WCHA, NCHC, or Hockey East. Those tournaments are two weeks long. But in the case of the Big Ten where a team that’s dead in the water can get into the NCAA tournament by simply winning two games? That’s ridiculous.


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