TMQ: Tolvanen’s run, Big Ten, NCHC standings, NCAA tourney

8 Jan 16: Brad McClure (Minnesota State - 19), Ate Tolvanen (Northern Michigan - 41). The Minnesota State University Mavericks host the Northern Michigan University Wildcats in a WCHA conference matchup at Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato, MN. (Jim Rosvold)
Northern Michigan goaltender Atte Tolvanen has been on a torrid pace for nearly a month (photo: Jim Rosvold).

Each week during the season, we look at the big events and big games around Division I men’s college hockey in Tuesday Morning Quarterback.

Jim: Paula, I know it’s pretty typical to start by talking about the poll and I’m sure we’ll get to that very soon. But before we get to that, I wanted to begin with what has been an individual and team performance of late that has flown under the radar a bit.

I’m talking about Northern Michigan goaltender Atte Tolvanen and his team which on Saturday posted their fifth consecutive shutout, tying an NCAA record. Tolvanen has not allowed a since Jan. 20, a span of 335:39. Over that stretch, he has made 207 consecutive saves, including a career-high of 48 last Saturday night against Alaska Anchorage to extend the streak.

Right now, Tolvanen needs less then 40 more minutes of shutout hockey to break the all-time mark of 375:01 second set by Lake Superior State’s Blaine Lacher back in 1994.

We’ve seen some impressive goaltending performances over the last 15 years or so as goals against numbers have shrunk in that same time period. But might this be one for the ages?

Paula: His performance is unbelievable, especially since he’s not been sharing time in net with anyone since his streak began. It’s not just that he has posted five straight shutout performances, but that he’s done so in five consecutive games for Northern Michigan.

To answer your question, yes, I think that this might be one for the ages. Tolvanen was so under my radar that I didn’t even know how he good he is until this streak. He had really solid stats last season as a freshman, with a .929 save percentage in 25 games. Part of it, of course, is that he’s playing for a team that hasn’t seen a lot of success in recent seasons. Last year, he was 6-10-6 with a goals-against average of 2.46; this year, he’s 10-17-4 with a .923 save percentage and 2.40 GAA through 31 games.

Looking at his numbers for this season, it’s amazing to see that half his wins, too, have come in these last five games. I don’t know what his GAA was before this streak and I am not as familiar as I used to be with the Northern Michigan team, but the Wildcat defense is 19th nationally right now – certainly bolstered by these last five games – so something has happened recently to lead to Tolvanen’s success, and the only thing I can think of is that he himself has gotten hot.

We both know what a hot goaltender can do for a team about to enter the playoffs. And while I mean no disrespect to Minnesota State, Northern Michigan’s next opponent, I’d love to see Tolvanen set a new NCAA record.

Jim: Certainly, to say that people will be keeping an eye on that Northern Michigan game on Friday is certainly. And upcoming opponents need to keep an eye on this team in general which is getting hot at the right time.

The Wildcats aren’t the only team catching fire right now. While they are unbeaten in nine (7-0-2), Providence has nine straight victories to move from 1-6-2 in Hockey East to 10-6-2 and are in position to possibly win the regular-season title. And Canisius has a 12-game unbeaten streak going right now (9-0-3) and, though not getting recognition in the polls, is giving Air Force a battle for the Atlantic Hockey regular-season title. In fact, the Ice Griffs are currently in first place by a point, though the Falcons have a game in hand.

I feel like this time of year, it’s difficult to get on a streak due in part to every team battling for points. To come out of each weekend with two wins, particularly in leagues where you typically play the same opponent both nights, is incredibly tough. Am I overplaying these streaks or does the timing make these streaks even more impressive in your eyes?

Paula: I don’t think you’re overplaying them. In the case of Northern Michigan, for example, the Wildcats have four regular-season games remaining and are tied for sixth place in the WCHA with Lake Superior State and are a point behind Ferris State. All three of those teams want to finish as high as possible for playoff position, and if NMU heads into the playoffs on that streak, they could have a momentum advantage.

That’s the key, isn’t it, the ability to sustain a streak like that? Look at Penn State’s five-game slump broken by snapping Wisconsin’s five-game win streak. You and I speculated earlier about Penn State’s ability to sustain their incredible opening pace, and we had an answer recently. Because of the nature of the Big Ten, though, there’s still a month of regular-season play remaining. Should anyone in that league get red hot, that could mean a lot heading into the single weekend of B1G tournament play.

Canisius is another team riding a really hot goaltender, senior Charles Williams. After languishing with Ferris State for four seasons, Williams has the top save percentage in the country (.943) and the seventh-best goals-against average (1.92). The Golden Griffins are a point ahead of Air Force in the standings, but Air Force has a single game in hand.

Streaks are funny things. If they stop at an inopportune time, they can deflate a team.

Jim: I guess that is the other side to a streak: when does it stop and, this late in the season, what impact that has on a team. It’s never fun for a streak to end in, say, a league semifinal or in an NCAA regional game.

We’ve touched on league races a bit, well at least the two-team battle for first place in Atlantic Hockey. But three other league will come to a close after two more weekends. The WCHA title is sewed up by Bemidji State’s absolute dominance. But in Hockey East, what seemed like it could become a two-team race between Boston College and Boston University changed significantly when both teams lost on Friday. Now six teams are in the middle of a race where most of them face one another over the final two weeks of play.

In the ECAC, it’s equally as tight with the top four teams separated by two points and Quinnipiac lurking (though struggling a bit) six points out of first.

With so much time left, is to too early to look at the Big Ten race? And what are your thoughts on the NCHC?

Paula: As someone who covers the Big Ten, I wish I could say with certainty that one of the top three teams – Minnesota, Wisconsin, Penn State – has the single best chance of taking the regular-season title. It’s not merely the number of games remaining that makes it difficult to predict; there is a serious lack of consistent play among every single team in B1G hockey. It’s almost as though each is having a rebuilding year, but each for different reasons. And I say that knowing that there are a couple of teams aren’t rebuilding at all.

If I were forced to choose, I’d say Minnesota has the best shot simply because the Gophers have been less inconsistent than the other teams. How’s that for a ringing endorsement?

Given that there are six regular-season games remaining for both Denver and Minnesota-Duluth and they don’t meet each other in that span, it’s impossible to make that call, too. Each team also has two remaining home games, four on the road. Should be an exciting end to that conference’s season.

There’s something completely unrelated to the poll that I’d like to mention, too, Jimmy, and that’s the passing of Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch. Ilitch’s commitment to hockey went way beyond the NHL. Ilitch began Little Ceasars amateur youth hockey in 1968, a program that has seen over 200 alumni play Division I hockey. Additionally, Ilitch’s commitment to college hockey itself is well known. There aren’t too many NHL arenas that hoist a Division I banner and leave it in the rafters for a season, as Joe Louis Arena does for the Great Lakes Invitational champs. His legacy is greater than most people realize and he will be missed.

Ilitch’s connection to college hockey reminds me of how important it is to have that kind of advocacy of NCAA hockey from professional organizations. It’s Beanpot time, so I know you know what I mean.

You’ve Got Mail

Paula mentioned last week some of the NCAA tournament’s regional attendance issues. That, coupled with the current potential for a Frozen Four where all competing teams are from the same region or conference (see 2005) seems to warrant a reevaluation of the NCAA’s policy of dispersing teams, often intentionally outside of their respective regions, in the first and second rounds. Your thoughts? – Dan M., Minneapolis, Minn.

Jim: I think that there are tweaks that can be made to the NCAA tournament, most notably to how the regional structure. I’d love to see the NCAA look into two eight-team regionals that play a Thursday-Saturday/Friday-Sunday format like men’s basketball. And I’d also be open to more discussion about hosting regionals at the site of the highest seed.

But to go as far as to make Eastern teams play Eastern teams and Western teams play only Western teams in the opening rounds so that you have a diverse Frozen Four doesn’t make sense. I think the “national” portion of the national tournament should never be lost. And more importantly, I don’t think it’s fair to cannibalize a very strong conference by forcing teams to face one another in the first two rounds.

If we end up with four participants at the Frozen Four hailing from the same conference, I have no problem with it. That just proves how strong that conference is and these teams should receive congratulations.

Paula: I can’t agree more about any artificial attempts to balance out teams by conference or geography. I know that the NCAA wants to attract as wide an audience as possible for the Frozen Four – both at the event and on television – but I don’t have any problem with a Frozen Four that features three or all of its field from a single conference. I don’t think that this would be a common occurrence given the current parity in college hockey and the potential for upsets in a one-and-done format.

I also think that two eight-game regionals is something to explore. Anything has to be better than the current situation of regional attendance haves and have nots.

98 COMMENTS

    • Ha…definitely thought it would talk the entire time about how they are the greatest team alive again after two wins…

    • Ha…definitely thought it would talk the entire time about how they are the greatest team alive again after two wins…

  1. Forgive my naivete, but if there is an 8 team regional, wouldn’t that mean 4 games on the first day? Four games lasting an average of 2 1/2 hours each, plus an hour between the games, is 13 hours, and that’s without OT. While I look forward to attending a regional every year, that seems like an awfully long day, especially if any go OT. My lady would never sit through it. :)

    • No, there would be two games Thursday night, two games Friday afternoon, and two games Saturday evening. The #1 and #2 seeds would get the advantage of playing Thursday night. That would definitely please your lady. :-):-)

      • Ah – misread the grammar. Thursday thru Saturday rather than Thursday and Saturday. Thanks for clairfying. I can probably deal with it, but I’m lucky she sits through the three games. Six could be tough for her. I might have to give her a day off. :) It was she who convinced me to leave the Providence/Miami game two years ago when it was 6-2 Friars with 13 minutes left. I’ve told her a few times that if the Redhawks had managed to tie it, she would have been walking back to NYC. She now knows we’re NEVER leaving a game early. Back in Providence this year.

        • I was at that game Alec, lots of people left including some of my fellow Friars season ticket holders. You never know in college hockey! I hope you enjoy your visit to the Dunk next month.

          • We were staying at the hotel across the street. By the time we left our room to go to the hotel restaurant for dinner, it was 6-3. By the time got to the restaurant, it was 6-4. Right after we were seated it was 6-5. I was seething and she was praying they didn’t tie it. I remember a puck in the crease that Miami couldn’t get a stick on and Belpedio’s amazing diving play (on which he got hurt I believe) to stop an empty net goal (although Providence later scored one). It was great to see all that live….On TV!!! :)

          • No one I spoke to (when my voice returned) that day or since had ever seen such a gutsy move as Blasi pulling the goalie that early and it nearly paid off. I’m glad you at least got to see it. The hockey gods were certainly on PC’s side that playoff run and seeing the national championship trophy at the rink every night after many many years of dedicated fandom will always make me smile. A different bounce and who knows what might have happened?

  2. Forgive my naivete, but if there is an 8 team regional, wouldn’t that mean 4 games on the first day? Four games lasting an average of 2 1/2 hours each, plus an hour between the games, is 13 hours, and that’s without OT. While I look forward to attending a regional every year, that seems like an awfully long day, especially if any go OT. My lady would never sit through it. :)

    • No, there would be two games Thursday night, two games Friday afternoon, and two games Saturday evening. The #1 and #2 seeds would get the advantage of playing Thursday night. That would definitely please your lady. :-):-)

      • Ah – misread the grammar. Thursday thru Saturday rather than Thursday and Saturday. Thanks for clairfying. I can probably deal with it, but I’m lucky she sits through the three games. Six could be tough for her. I might have to give her a day off. :) It was she who convinced me to leave the Providence/Miami game two years ago when it was 6-2 Friars with 13 minutes left. I’ve told her a few times that if the Redhawks had managed to tie it, she would have been walking back to NYC. She now knows we’re NEVER leaving a game early. Back in Providence this year.

        • I was at that game Alec, lots of people left including some of my fellow Friars season ticket holders. You never know in college hockey! I hope you enjoy your visit to the Dunk next month.

          • We were staying at the hotel across the street. By the time we left our room to go to the hotel restaurant for dinner, it was 6-3. By the time got to the restaurant, it was 6-4. Right after we were seated it was 6-5. I was seething and she was praying they didn’t tie it. I remember a puck in the crease that Miami couldn’t get a stick on and Belpedio’s amazing diving play (on which he got hurt I believe) to stop an empty net goal (although Providence later scored one). It was great to see all that live….On TV!!! :)

          • No one I spoke to (when my voice returned) that day or since had ever seen such a gutsy move as Blasi pulling the goalie that early and it nearly paid off. I’m glad you at least got to see it. The hockey gods were certainly on PC’s side that playoff run and seeing the national championship trophy at the rink every night after many many years of dedicated fandom will always make me smile. A different bounce and who knows what might have happened?

  3. Jim, simply put, the NC$$ needs to decide whether it is more important to give more fans the opportunity to attend or try to “balance” Regionals by ranking. As someone who always travels to see my team play (past sixteen years), when they qualify for Regionals, I vote for the former. There is one given, in a single elimination tournament anyone can win. A hot goalie or bad penalty can mean the difference. Your two, eight team, Regionals would work with one change. Forget the rankings and send East teams to East Regional and likewise for West. If there is more teams from one Regional, send lowest PWR to other. Your “national” part would be at FF, where top East plays 2nd West and vice versa. Here is why more fans would attend. Let’s use two fictional sites, Green Bay and Boston. Currently, fans that travel, except host schools, have 4 days to make travel plans. Selection Sunday to flying to Regional site. Flight, hotel, and car rental on short notice are ridiculously high. If there were two sites (fictionally Boston and Green Bay) fans from UMD, DU, Minnesota, and WMU could safely book discounted flights, lower hotel rates, and decent car rental to attend at Green Bay RIGHT NOW. The same could be said for Boston site with Harvard, BU, Providence, and UML fans. Even those driving would get much cheaper hotel cost. This is why the old two site Regionals worked better. As someone who has sat through Regional Finals with less than 1200 “fans” it gets discouraging, no matter who you root for. I am sure people will shoot this down. especially those that don’t travel to see their team play and simply open a cold beer and watch on ESPNU/ESPN2. Those fans that spend to money to watch in person, will probably like this plan.

    • I think your idea has lots of merit, but I think some people might complain about losing bracket integrity (at least what is left of it). For instance if the top 4 teams in the pairwise are from the West, is it fair that the top 4 teams are placed in the same 2 Regionals and a 6th or 7th ranked team gets a #1 seed in one of the East Regionals?

      • I like your, “what is left of it”. It is certainly not “fair” now and attendance is a farce. Anything that takes the NC$$ out of it is much better, in my opinion. I am tired of flying east and paying businessman “expenses”. I can you a perfect example of how bad it is now. If UMD and DU remain #1 and #2, and Western Michigan drops to 12th, you will have #2 DU travel east, and possibly Harvard or BU travel west. My option sound a little better now?

          • WMU will go Cincinnati as a “driving distance” team. If UMD finishes higher than DU, they will go to Fargo. If WMU goes to Cincinnati as a #4 seed, DU cannot go as a #1 seed, since playing intra-conference first round games is frowned upon. So DU will get sent east, making Harvard or BU going to Cincinnati a real possibility. How ridiculous does that sound?

          • Fargo is going to be weird because it all depends on where the Sioux finish. If they are a #4 seed, Duluth or DU wouldn’t be there if either was a #1 seed. Could go a lot of different ways.

          • Kind of nuts, needs to change. How about your, and my scenario, both coming true? You would have UND in Fargo, WMU in Cincinnati, and both UMD and DU in Providence and Manchester. Also, BU and Harvard possibly in Fargo and Cincinnati.

          • Very tough to say what they should do with it. Seems any way has a lot of pros and cons. I think the cost thing is the biggest piece, for me at least. Regional in St. Paul is great, its a 40 min drive. Fargo and Sioux Falls would work, as well as Omaha. But only if your team is the host and you know where you’re going. After that, way too tough. Have never done much research into how much flights are 4 days in advance, but cant imagine they are cheap, especially to places like Manchester, NH.

          • For someone who wants to dramatically change the tournament, you sure don’t know much about the current situation. If DU is a 1 seed in Cinci, and WMU falls to a 4 seed, WMU won’t go to Cinci. Denver gets placed 1st, then they move things around based on what works – and in that case WMU to Cinci wouldn’t work. And for the record, yes, it is the NC$$ that says no alcohol sales at tournament games.

    • I’d go to more regionals, but the cost 4 days before hand, like you said, is crazy. Nothing says expensive than trying to find a car 4 days in advance.

    • Why not just change a couple of minor items RIGHT NOW? Like selling beer, lowering ticket prices, and placing teams in regionals that will attract more fans regardless of who is playing there? The cost of attending a regional based solely on the price of a ticket is literally twice as much as it is the weekend before to attend the conference tournament. For cryin’ out loud start selling beer at these NCAA games.

      • Beer idea is great. Something tells me attendance would definitely increase. Something needs to be done about ticket prices as well. I remember looking a couple years ago, cant remember if it was Manchester or Providence, somewhere out east, all three games was like 65 bucks. St. Paul or Fargo, easily double that. Pretty ridiculous.

      • I don’t know who decides on selling alcohol, probably not NC$$. I know beer and mixed drinks were sold at World Arena and Pepsi Center (Denver) in both Regionals and Frozen Four. You have a good point on how ticket prices vary, definitely needs to be consistent. Truthfully I really never noticed how costly ticket prices were, since I paid so much just to travel to sites.

          • I bought beer and got my wife mixed drinks at World Arena and Pepsi Center. They also sell both at every game at Magness.

          • I knew about regular season games at a lot of places. The Ralph serves both for games. I had just thought regionals and the FF were booze free, unless you were in suites. I wonder if they changed that recently since that Colo Springs regional and FF in Denver were like 7-8 years ago.

          • Good point. Can’t remember beer in Providence, not sure about St. Paul last year. Usually, both of us couples just have drinks with our meals before the games, not really at the games.

          • I’m still torn on 4 regional sites vs 2, basically on the fact that it could be bad for some really good teams if they play other teams from say the west that are ranked high but are staying in the west. If they ever change anything, I’m sure they will screw it up like normal.

          • If the legal drinking age in MN is 21, I’d think that the host school and/or Xcel/Wild management might be afraid of getting caught selling to minors. There would certainly be more student-age fans in the building than would be the case for your average Wild game.

          • It’s no different than going to a restaurant, liquor store, etc. Check an ID with sale. I’m sure there are plenty of places where someone of age buys for an underage.

          • Perhaps, but the point may be moot. I saw elsewhere that “no alcohol sales” is a UMn school policy, so it makes sense that policy would be enforced by anything sponsored by the school. I would presume that the school did *not* sponsor the NSCC (please correct me if I’m wrong), thus allowing sales there.

          • I have been to St Paul for an NCAA regional twice in the past 8 seasons and for the Frozen Four in 2011 and no form of alcohol was for sale unless you were in a private box.

  4. Jim, simply put, the NC$$ needs to decide whether it is more important to give more fans the opportunity to attend or try to “balance” Regionals by ranking. As someone who always travels to see my team play (past sixteen years), when they qualify for Regionals, I vote for the former. There is one given, in a single elimination tournament anyone can win. A hot goalie or bad penalty can mean the difference. Your two, eight team, Regionals would work with one change. Forget the rankings and send East teams to East Regional and likewise for West. If there is more teams from one Regional, send lowest PWR to other. Your “national” part would be at FF, where top East plays 2nd West and vice versa. Here is why more fans would attend. Let’s use two fictional sites, Green Bay and Boston. Currently, fans that travel, except host schools, have 4 days to make travel plans. Selection Sunday to flying to Regional site. Flight, hotel, and car rental on short notice are ridiculously high. If there were two sites (fictionally Boston and Green Bay) fans from UMD, DU, Minnesota, and WMU could safely book discounted flights, lower hotel rates, and decent car rental to attend at Green Bay RIGHT NOW. The same could be said for Boston site with Harvard, BU, Providence, and UML fans. Even those driving would get much cheaper hotel cost. This is why the old two site Regionals worked better. As someone who has sat through Regional Finals with less than 1200 “fans” it gets discouraging, no matter who you root for. I am sure people will shoot this down. especially those that don’t travel to see their team play and simply open a cold beer and watch on ESPNU/ESPN2. Those fans that spend to money to watch in person, will probably like this plan.

    • I think your idea has lots of merit, but I think some people might complain about losing bracket integrity (at least what is left of it). For instance if the top 4 teams in the pairwise are from the West, is it fair that the top 4 teams are placed in the same 2 Regionals and a 6th or 7th ranked team gets a #1 seed in one of the East Regionals?

      • I like your, “what is left of it”. It is certainly not “fair” now and attendance is a farce. Anything that takes the NC$$ out of it is much better, in my opinion. I am tired of flying east and paying businessman “expenses”. I can you a perfect example of how bad it is now. If UMD and DU remain #1 and #2, and Western Michigan drops to 12th, you will have #2 DU travel east, and possibly Harvard or BU travel west. My option sound a little better now?

          • WMU will go Cincinnati as a “driving distance” team. If UMD finishes higher than DU, they will go to Fargo. If WMU goes to Cincinnati as a #4 seed, DU cannot go as a #1 seed, since playing intra-conference first round games is frowned upon. So DU will get sent east, making Harvard or BU going to Cincinnati a real possibility. How ridiculous does that sound?

          • Fargo is going to be weird because it all depends on where the Sioux finish. If they are a #4 seed, Duluth or DU wouldn’t be there if either was a #1 seed. Could go a lot of different ways.

          • Kind of nuts, needs to change. How about your, and my scenario, both coming true? You would have UND in Fargo, WMU in Cincinnati, and both UMD and DU in Providence and Manchester. Also, BU and Harvard possibly in Fargo and Cincinnati.

          • Very tough to say what they should do with it. Seems any way has a lot of pros and cons. I think the cost thing is the biggest piece, for me at least. Regional in St. Paul is great, its a 40 min drive. Fargo and Sioux Falls would work, as well as Omaha. But only if your team is the host and you know where you’re going. After that, way too tough. Have never done much research into how much flights are 4 days in advance, but cant imagine they are cheap, especially to places like Manchester, NH.

          • For someone who wants to dramatically change the tournament, you sure don’t know much about the current situation. If DU is a 1 seed in Cinci, and WMU falls to a 4 seed, WMU won’t go to Cinci. Denver gets placed 1st, then they move things around based on what works – and in that case WMU to Cinci wouldn’t work. And for the record, yes, it is the NC$$ that says no alcohol sales at tournament games.

    • I’d go to more regionals, but the cost 4 days before hand, like you said, is crazy. Nothing says expensive than trying to find a car 4 days in advance.

    • Why not just change a couple of minor items RIGHT NOW? Like selling beer, lowering ticket prices, and placing teams in regionals that will attract more fans regardless of who is playing there? The cost of attending a regional based solely on the price of a ticket is literally twice as much as it is the weekend before to attend the conference tournament. For cryin’ out loud start selling beer at these NCAA games.

      • Beer idea is great. Something tells me attendance would definitely increase. Something needs to be done about ticket prices as well. I remember looking a couple years ago, cant remember if it was Manchester or Providence, somewhere out east, all three games was like 65 bucks. St. Paul or Fargo, easily double that. Pretty ridiculous.

      • I don’t know who decides on selling alcohol, probably not NC$$. I know beer and mixed drinks were sold at World Arena and Pepsi Center (Denver) in both Regionals and Frozen Four. You have a good point on how ticket prices vary, definitely needs to be consistent. Truthfully I really never noticed how costly ticket prices were, since I paid so much just to travel to sites.

          • I bought beer and got my wife mixed drinks at World Arena and Pepsi Center. They also sell both at every game at Magness.

          • I knew about regular season games at a lot of places. The Ralph serves both for games. I had just thought regionals and the FF were booze free, unless you were in suites. I wonder if they changed that recently since that Colo Springs regional and FF in Denver were like 7-8 years ago.

          • Good point. Can’t remember beer in Providence, not sure about St. Paul last year. Usually, both of us couples just have drinks with our meals before the games, not really at the games.

          • I’m still torn on 4 regional sites vs 2, basically on the fact that it could be bad for some really good teams if they play other teams from say the west that are ranked high but are staying in the west. If they ever change anything, I’m sure they will screw it up like normal.

          • If the legal drinking age in MN is 21, I’d think that the host school and/or Xcel/Wild management might be afraid of getting caught selling to minors. There would certainly be more student-age fans in the building than would be the case for your average Wild game.

          • It’s no different than going to a restaurant, liquor store, etc. Check an ID with sale. I’m sure there are plenty of places where someone of age buys for an underage.

          • Perhaps, but the point may be moot. I saw elsewhere that “no alcohol sales” is a UMn school policy, so it makes sense that policy would be enforced by anything sponsored by the school. I would presume that the school did *not* sponsor the NSCC (please correct me if I’m wrong), thus allowing sales there.

          • I have been to St Paul for an NCAA regional twice in the past 8 seasons and for the Frozen Four in 2011 and no form of alcohol was for sale unless you were in a private box.

  5. You know this regional discussion is a real difficult situation and no matter what you do, change or not, whatever change you make, there is not a good solution. It,s not going to be packed, face it, super regional or not. It might be better if you gave a rink( such as Green Bay) a 5 year deal and after a while fans would start planning to go more often, but it would be tough the first few years.
    Personally, most of the regionals are about as good as you’re going to get regardless and the midwest is the only one that’s struggling.

    • It will certainly have more fans attend with 2 regionals, and you don’t need long-term deals with any city. As long as fans know where their team will go, by the beginning of the year, they can make plans to travel at discounted costs. Another plus is that there will be fans from eight teams at one site. This alone will ensure greater attendance. “As good as your going to get”, just doesn’t cut it. The Regional Finals, in its’ current format (with the exception of Fargo), will still have more empty seats than full. Even letting fans sit in the lower bowls for TV, doesn’t help when the shots pan out. Something needs to be done, CH needs a boost in the arm.

  6. You know this regional discussion is a real difficult situation and no matter what you do, change or not, whatever change you make, there is not a good solution. It,s not going to be packed, face it, super regional or not. It might be better if you gave a rink( such as Green Bay) a 5 year deal and after a while fans would start planning to go more often, but it would be tough the first few years.
    Personally, most of the regionals are about as good as you’re going to get regardless and the midwest is the only one that’s struggling.

    • It will certainly have more fans attend with 2 regionals, and you don’t need long-term deals with any city. As long as fans know where their team will go, by the beginning of the year, they can make plans to travel at discounted costs. Another plus is that there will be fans from eight teams at one site. This alone will ensure greater attendance. “As good as your going to get”, just doesn’t cut it. The Regional Finals, in its’ current format (with the exception of Fargo), will still have more empty seats than full. Even letting fans sit in the lower bowls for TV, doesn’t help when the shots pan out. Something needs to be done, CH needs a boost in the arm.

  7. I wouldnt be opposed if they went with a 12 team bracket with the 5 – 12 teams playing a play in game / best of 3 series to make it to the final 8. That way the 1-4 seeds get rewarded with a bye week for their seasons. The 5 – 8 seeds would host in their own arenas. From there have the final 8 play a best Of 3 series in 2 regionals one east and one west to determine the frozen four teams that will play single elimination. Have boston and St. Paul be permanent hosts for the regionals until other destinations become sure fire hits with fans… I would be curious to see if a
    Series would draw better because you’re guaranteed to see your team play at least twice win or lose… I could see that being a reason people flake out on buying tix. Maybe in their mind it isn’t worth it to travel to another city to see your team only play one game possibly. And I think it’s time we bring a series to CH playoffs make it more like the NHL

    • You’re in favor of only having six at-large bids AND introducing campus sites to the mix? Talk about making the tournament more boring….

      • Id venture to say that only 3 of the 6 auto bids would be taken by teams out of the top 12 in the pairwise on average which should please fans of underdogs/cinderallas

        • How would this please fans of underdogs? This would just mean that you’re actually making it harder for teams to earn at-large bids, because there are fewer of them. Now I’m not saying a tournament shouldn’t be the best anyway, but in the case you described you’re excluding 1-4 teams that could actually be “more worthy” of going all the way than the three low auto bids.

      • campus sites would more than likely sell out and make for a great atmosphere whats wrong with that haha? and its only for one weekend of the playoffs then teams are off to St Paul/ Boston

        • What’s wrong with it is that college hockey is known for being particularly hard to win on the road. You want the away team to have to do it twice in a weekend? Might as well just eliminate the three road teams and go back to 8 under your model.

    • NC$$ would never go for campus sites hosting. Check capacity for Princeton (2100), Union (2225), Merrimack (2249), and Harvard (3095). All these teams would have a reasonable chance of hosting, NC$$ would have a fit.

      • I do agree there will be instances like that but to the point of others it sucks having regionals with only 1500 people in a 12000 seat arena,makes for a lackluster atmosphere. For every time theres a small arena hosting a bigger one will even it out. Plus if the two regionals in boston and st paul sell good maybe the NCAA doesnt care as much about the few small venues…

      • 2016 5-8: Michigan, BC, Denver, Lowell (Average capacity: 6700)
        2015: Mich Tech, Duluth, Omaha, Denver (6000)
        2014: (4300)
        2013: 7000
        2012: 5600
        2011: 4200
        2010: 6500
        2009: 6600
        2008: 6800
        2007: 6500
        2006: 5500
        2005: 7300

      • Obviously there are down years but id say thats pretty solid ticket sales hypothetically since home sites should sell good… the NC$$ probably wouldnt agree with actually selling tickets though haha

  8. I wouldnt be opposed if they went with a 12 team bracket with the 5 – 12 teams playing a play in game / best of 3 series to make it to the final 8. That way the 1-4 seeds get rewarded with a bye week for their seasons. The 5 – 8 seeds would host in their own arenas. From there have the final 8 play a best Of 3 series in 2 regionals one east and one west to determine the frozen four teams that will play single elimination. Have boston and St. Paul be permanent hosts for the regionals until other destinations become sure fire hits with fans… I would be curious to see if a
    Series would draw better because you’re guaranteed to see your team play at least twice win or lose… I could see that being a reason people flake out on buying tix. Maybe in their mind it isn’t worth it to travel to another city to see your team only play one game possibly. And I think it’s time we bring a series to CH playoffs make it more like the NHL

    • You’re in favor of only having six at-large bids AND introducing campus sites to the mix? Talk about making the tournament more boring….

      • Id venture to say that only 3 of the 6 auto bids would be taken by teams out of the top 12 in the pairwise on average which should please fans of underdogs/cinderallas

        • How would this please fans of underdogs? This would just mean that you’re actually making it harder for teams to earn at-large bids, because there are fewer of them. Now I’m not saying a tournament shouldn’t be the best anyway, but in the case you described you’re excluding 1-4 teams that could actually be “more worthy” of going all the way than the three low auto bids.

      • campus sites would more than likely sell out and make for a great atmosphere whats wrong with that haha? and its only for one weekend of the playoffs then teams are off to St Paul/ Boston

        • What’s wrong with it is that college hockey is known for being particularly hard to win on the road. You want the away team to have to do it twice in a weekend? Might as well just eliminate the three road teams and go back to 8 under your model.

    • NC$$ would never go for campus sites hosting. Check capacity for Princeton (2100), Union (2225), Merrimack (2249), and Harvard (3095). All these teams would have a reasonable chance of hosting, NC$$ would have a fit.

      • I do agree there will be instances like that but to the point of others it sucks having regionals with only 1500 people in a 12000 seat arena,makes for a lackluster atmosphere. For every time theres a small arena hosting a bigger one will even it out. Plus if the two regionals in boston and st paul sell good maybe the NCAA doesnt care as much about the few small venues…

      • 2016 5-8: Michigan, BC, Denver, Lowell (Average capacity: 6700)
        2015: Mich Tech, Duluth, Omaha, Denver (6000)
        2014: (4300)
        2013: 7000
        2012: 5600
        2011: 4200
        2010: 6500
        2009: 6600
        2008: 6800
        2007: 6500
        2006: 5500
        2005: 7300

      • Obviously there are down years but id say thats pretty solid ticket sales hypothetically since home sites should sell good… the NC$$ probably wouldnt agree with actually selling tickets though haha

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