Three things: Playoff field set

Three things from the final weekend of play in the WCHA:

1. Playoff field set

Coming into the weekend, only five of eight playoff spots were actually decided — the five teams on the bottom half of the bracket were fighting for three playoff spots. By the time Saturday rolled around, it was three teams fighting for two spots. In the end two teams — last place Alaska Anchorage and ninth-place Alabama Huntsville — were eliminated. Both teams were swept this weekend — UAA by Alaska and UAH by Bowling Green — so even if they could have gotten help from teams ahead of them, neither team helped itself.

The race for the final spots weren’t the only ones over the weekend, however. Michigan Tech and Minnesota State were battling for the No. 2 playoff seed — one which was ultimately won by the Huskies, who beat Northern Michigan Saturday at the same time that the Mavericks lost to first-place Bemidji State. The fourth and final home ice playoff spot eventually went to Bowling Green, who came into the weekend tied for the spot with Ferris State. The Bulldogs will visit the Falcons in the first round next week. Alaska (sixth), Lake Superior State (seventh) and Northern Michigan (eighth) round out the playoff field.

2. Nanooks win Governor’s Cup, again

It was a strange scene late Saturday night in Anchorage: All eight WCHA playoff spots had already been decided, and league points absolutely didn’t matter for Alaska’s in-state grudge match with archrivals Alaska Anchorage. Alaska had wrapped up the No. 6 seed already, and the Seawolves had already found out they weren’t qualifying for the postseason. On the line, though, was the coveted Governors’ Cup. Because of the way things had played out previously, UAA needed an outright 3-point win in order to claim the cup from UAF for the first time since 2009 (UAF vacated titles from 2010-2012, but UAA hasn’t won it officially since 09). Hence why, with the score tied 1-1 and just 61 seconds to go in overtime, Anchorage head coach Matt Thomas pulled goalie Rasmus Reijola for an extra attacker. The Seawolves had to win in 5-on-5 or else they weren’t going to win the cup. Tayler Munson delivered the dagger, scoring a rare overtime empty netter to give the Nanooks a 2-1 win with 19.2 seconds left and another Governors Cup. The Nanooks now take a four-game unbeaten streak into their first-round matchup with Minnesota State next weekend in Mankato.

3. Mayhew wins scoring race, Bitzer goaltending champ

The end of the WCHA season also meant that the conference’s leaders are official. Ferris State senior forward Gerald Mayhew won the league’s scoring race, finishing with 30 points (15 goals, 15 assists) in 26 league games. He just edged Minnesota State’s Marc Michaelis (13g-15a-28pts) for the title. Overall Mayhew had 33 points (17g, 16a) in 33 games.

Bemidji State junior Michael Bitzer took the league’s goaltending title. Bitzer finished the season with a 1.40 goals against average — a record for conference games — along with a .940 save percentage and a 20-5-2 overall record in 27 league games.

12 COMMENTS

  1. THE DIV 3 NCAA formmat is stupd , time to get with the times, it should be 16 teams , 1 from each conference and 6 at large teams. Just like D1. 4 campus regional sites. It will take 2 weekends and make the conference plyoff intense and meaningful.

  2. Before you dismiss Salem out if hand take a really close look at the numbers and tell me why they should not be in the discussion on Selection Sundae.

  3. Who have they beaten that’s good? I looked at their schedule it looks like they have not faced one tough out of conference team.

    That being said, I agree DIII needs a bigger playoff. If D3 has 20 more schools than DI there is no reason to have a much smaller play off.

    Every big conference should have a AQ and then at least 4 pool C qualifiers.

  4. Good to see Chris still hanging around Div III…. Plattsburgh has had the most bizarre season I’ve ever seen: 6-0-1 against ranked teams outside of SUNY. 10-7 against teams in SUNY, including 1-3 against ranked teams. They are certainly capable of beating everyone in this tournament. I’d obviously love to see them get in…

    joecct, which ranked team has Salem St. played out of conference? Adrian fans will be happy to share why Salem St. is not in the discussion this year….

    • OOC Schedule
      Colby — won 6th NESCAC
      Babson – won 5th East
      So Maine – ot loss 7th east
      NEC – won 9th east
      Wentworth – won <– necessary for ECAC-NE comparison purposes.

      Now let's take Neumann
      Geneseo x 2 0-1-1 2nd SUNY
      Curry – win
      Cortland x 2 2-0-0 did not make playoffs
      Brockport x 2 1-0-1 did not make playoffs
      Morrisville x2 1-1-0 5th place SUNY

      Not exactly the Green Bay Packers there.

  5. How is Hobart be out of contention?

    -They are 10-2-1 out of their conference. That includes three wins over teams that won their conference’s regular season title (Oswego, Hamilton and Curry).
    – They are #3 in the country for strength of schedule and still have 15 wins.
    – Over half their games were against ranked teams
    – 7 of their 9 losses came against ranked teams
    – They have beaten 5 of the 8 teams from the East that Lerch picks for the tourney….the other three they didn’t play.

    I am not saying Hobart should get in for sure, but if they win the ECAC West tournament how couldn’t they at least be considered? They match up very well in the PWR against most teams in contention.

  6. No love for the WCHA Player of the Year in Cody Kunyk? JPL was a second-team honoree. The conferences leading scorer has 16 points in the last 9 games, leads the nation with 7 game-winning goals. Alaska and MSU both torched Motte for 9 goals. Ferris State, like other WCHA teams, just haven’t faced the competition.

  7. It seems pretty silly to favor UW’s goalie over MN’s when the Gophers have been the #1 team for the vast majority of the season – and clearly would not be there without Wilcox. He regularly bails out his team’s occasionally shoddy defense.

  8. How about no love for Goumas who is 5th in the country in scoring with 50 pts and can not even be considered because he was never on the ballot to begin with.. Ooo and his teams 21 wins would only be 9 if you took away his points.. thats how many close games they have won, with out his points they would have either lost or tied 12 of those games.

  9. The biggest thing that Wilcox has going for him is not his top 3 SV% or GAA, but the fact that he did it while playing the #1 toughest SOS.

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