Three takeaways from Michigan Tech’s 3-2 overtime win over Bowling Green

Here are my three takeaways (from afar) from Michigan Tech’s 3-2 victory over Bowling Green in the WCHA title game.

1. Instant classic

Maybe it’s cliche, but that’s the only way to describe this game. It was the first overtime game in the WCHA championship since North Dakota defeated Denver 3-2 in OT in 2001. Like that game, this one didn’t disappoint. Tech had a 2-0 lead going into the third period, but the Falcons made it a game with back-t0-back goals midway through the final frame. BG actually dominated the third period, outshooting Tech 11-2, and held the Huskies to without a shot on goal until there were 3:34 to play. However, Tech survived to take it into overtime, and from there it was an entertaining, back-and-forth game, with both teams getting chances to win. The Falcons nearly scored with seconds left in the first overtime period on three point-blank scores but Angus Redmond closed the door. That opened the door for Shane Hanna in the second overtime. Matt Roy found Hanna open with an outstanding outlet pass from blue-line to blue line. The defenseman buried it past Chris Nell for the win.

2. Grade A ‘Beef’

Redmond, the Huskies freshman goaltender, made 36 saves to help backstop Tech’s win. The two goals he gave up didn’t look great — the game-tying goal from Matt Pohlkamp, especially, he’ll want back after watching the video — but overall he made the saves he needed to get the win. The best might have been a glove save on Pohlkamp with eight minutes left in the first OT. If Redmond is playing like he was in the first two periods (and two overtimes), the Huskies will be a tough out for any potential No. 1 seed.

3. Home site playoffs a big win

This game is exactly what the WCHA had in mind when they decided to go to home sites for the first round of the playoffs this season — an engaged home crowd, packed to the rafters in a classic rink, on the edge of their seats with every play. Tech students camped out before the game and the line stretched all the way around the arena. Even BG brought a strong contingent of fans. Attendance was announced at 4,466. For comparison’s sake: 4,080 watched last year’s Final Five title game at a neutral site in Grand Rapids, Mich. Another comparison: Today’s Atlantic Hockey finals had a total of 650 fans watch Air Force beat Robert Morris in the finals. Say what you will about the WCHA, but from a “fan engagement” standpoint, moving the title game to home sites was a home run.

13 COMMENTS

    • No, the ECAC is not the favorite for the title. The ECAC is always a wild card. With so many crappy teams, you never know if the top 2 or 3 there are overrated or very good until tournament time. It adds a very interesting dynamic.

      • When you look for conferences loaded with “crappy” teams, don’t look East. The NCAA 16 team playoffs have been loaded with non-East teams because of the very imperfect selection process. However, the champions and runner-ups for the last several years have come from either HE or the ECAC.

      • not so many crappy teams just evenly matched – yeah qpac is overrated – sure – are you paying attention or just staring east out into the ocean – you clearly don’t know them if you think they’re overrated – but when ecac schools you guys again and reigns once more you’ll get your history lesson – the only way providence won was by stealing an ecac coach

        • I think you missed the point. I’m not saying that QU (or Yale) is overrated, I’m saying that with the ECAC you never know until tournament time. With a team in HE, NCHC, or Big10 (because of the long non-conference schedule against quality opponents), you know who is good and who is bad: because they’ve played 15+ games against quality opponents. (in the ECAC, they only schedule a couple of quality NC games, then conference play only has a couple of tough opponents)

          Put Minnesota in the ECAC and they finish with a great record (since their quality non-conference opponents are replaced with ECAC cupcakes). They would go to the tourney as a 2 or 3 seed, and get exposed as overrated. But since they had a long non-conference schedule with quality opponents, they were exposed as shit and rightly left out of the tournament.

  1. “[the NCHC] got six in but when the smoke cleared they didn’t have anything to show for it,”

    What a stupid comment. Getting a high number/proportion of your conferences teams into the tournament is a testament to the depth of the conference. It means nothing more than that.

  2. Jack – were any of the other WCHA schools besides Tech on spring break during the playoff period? Tech had home ice for the first two rounds, but the students were mostly out of town for both weekends. They were back for the final, but that wouldn’t have done Tech any good had Bemidji won and retained home ice. I was in Houghton for the semis, and the building was only half full (or less) all three nights. Fortunately Tech still won, but might this have been a factor in Bemidji’s loss? From the box scores, it appears that they might’ve been in the same boat (2,162 and 2,210 in a 4,700-seat building).

    Rhetorical question: What’s the difference between a half-full campus site and a half-full neutral site?

  3. Love the WCHA playoff format change this year to team sites versus a neutral site . . . it gives a well deserved reward to teams with the best records during the regular season and allows fans of these teams to more easily support their teams in the playoffs. Best two of three in the first two rounds, followed by a single game championship is also the best format.

    Unfortunately, as at Michigan Tech, some campuses are on spring break in the midst of the playoffs, which is a situation for which there appears to be no easy solution, other than some students staying on campus for a few additional days to support their teams in the playoffs.

    • Tech average attendance was about 2,270 per game vs Minnesota State during Spring break – but had 4,466 for the Champioship Game against BGSU. Bemidgi had similar attendance. I was in Grand Rapids at the Van Andel arena in 2016 for the WCHA Final Five (four) and the attendance per game was around 4,000 per game. Had the games been held at any other time then spring break, thr MacGinnes Ice Arena would have been packed.
      I like the playoffs either way but this years format was awesome for Tech fans.

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