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… Happy Second Half! I’m not sure how much the play of CCHA teams in holiday tournaments and other nonconference play taught us about the hockey yet to come, but it was an interesting few days. Here are three things that stay with me from the most recent games.

The Great Lakes Invitational is a great tournament. Okay, so this sounds ridiculous coming from someone who’s covered it for years, but I’ve never much liked the GLI — partly because of the monotony of familiarity with three perennial participants and partly because the attendance can be so spotty, affecting the atmosphere in Joe Louis Arena. This year, though, with an improved Michigan Tech, very different Spartans and Wolverines from years past and the addition of Boston College, the field was riveting. Attendance — which topped 15,000 the first day and 17,000 the second — was so good that the only game that lacked a large and enthusiastic audience was the third-place game between BC and MTU. Every game was good, the officiating was good, the crowds were enthusiastic and the outcome was in question from the moment the Eagles lost to Michigan. I’ve heard mixed rumors about whether or not this tournament will endure after the realignment becomes reality in 2013-14, but I hope that it continues.

Overrated? Underrated? Who knows? The CCHA went 6-6 against nonconference opponents, and three ranked teams — No. 8 Western Michigan, No. 11 Ferris State, No. 16 Lake Superior — lost to unranked foes from other conferences. WMU needed overtime to get by St. Cloud State in the second game of their series after dropping the first. FSU was swept, losing to RIT and Vermont. LSSU beat Vermont and lost to RIT in the title game of the Catamount Cup. But two CCHA teams — Michigan and Notre Dame — beat sound Hockey East opponents, Ohio State beat Robert Morris and Northern Michigan beat the talented Russian Red Stars in exhibition. What does this all mean? We’ve been talking about parity within the CCHA all season, but the reality is that it’s everywhere in college hockey this year. Look at Air Force over Colorado College, Harvard and North Dakota tying, Quinnipiac and Nebraska-Omaha tying.

Midseason heroes. There’s something about the holiday games — especially tournament games — that shines a spotlight on lesser-known players. Look at Notre Dame freshman Garrett Peterson, whose second career goal was the first go-ahead goal against Boston University; ND sophomore Jeff Costello also had his second of the year, the game winner, and freshman Peter Schneider helped set up both of them with his third and fourth assists of the year. Ferris State sophomore Justin DeMartino notched his first career goal in FSU’s 4-2 loss to Vermont. Ohio State sophomore defenseman Curtis Gedig netted his second career goal in OSU’s 4-2 win over Robert Morris. Even better-known players sometimes elevate their games for big events. How else can you explain Michigan junior forward A.J. Treais, who had both game-winning goals for the Wolverines in last year’s GLI tournament and the game winner against BC this year? Then there’s Michigan State senior goaltender Drew Palmisano, whose 90 saves in two games is a new GLI record, one more save than what Colgate goaltender Geoff McMullen recorded in 1969. His teammate, freshman Tanner Sorensen, scored his first collegiate goal in the title game loss to Michigan.

  • JJFP

    Garrett Peterson had the 2nd ND goal.  Jeff Costello scored the GWG in ND’s victory over BU. 

  • streaker

    No secret in past seasons that Paula hasn’t liked the GLI- be it the terrible press facilities, half empty arena or spotty brand of hockey. BUT, I have to agree that this tourney was pretty compelling and the attendance was solid- especially with the championship match-up. Last year wasn’t bad with CC there, either. 

    As far as the rumors about the GLI- This is still Tech’s tourney. Michigan and MSU think this is a very important part of their schedule and will have plenty of non conference space to accomodate it once in the B1G conference. Besides, it will give the non-Yost Michigan fans and the Spartan fans in the metro area a chance to see both teams since the B1G Ten Tournament will most likely move away from Detroit. Finding a fourth team has never been a problem. The biggest question mark is the reduced tv coverage which has been disappointing.  

    • Paula Weston

      The TV coverage was VERY disappointing.  I do wonder how the new Big Ten will factor into this.  

      I also wonder where the Big Ten championship tournament will be held.  Haven’t heard yet.

  • Aygwm2

    “LSSU rebounded with a win over Vermont after losing to RIT.”Actually, LSSU beat Vermont and then “rebounded” by losing to RIT.

    • Paula Weston

      You are, of course, correct.  Fixed — thanks.

  • Mike Olson

    I have followed the GLI since my sophomore season at MSU  in 1967.It is thee Holiday College tournament.It’s longevity and attendance is second to none.The other 5 holiday tourneys this past week drew a total of 22,600 for their Championship night.T that is an average of a little over 4500.I have seen every minute of every game during  3 out of the past 4 years.Coach MacInnis of Michigan Tech stated this tournament in 1965 to showcase the great game of college hockey,and nobody does it better than THE JOE at the GLI.My dad and I travel 420 mi from Peoria, Il. to Detroit to attend this tournament,and we will continue to do it each year.I would like to see Western Michigan be the 4th team in 2 years.That would give you 2 Big  Tens,a WCHA,AND a National team for the 2013 GLI.Mike Olson,MSU 1966-1970.

  • Bloomy18018

    Screw the Gophers….. UMD should be the host team, Defending NCAA Champs should get the recognition they deserve.. if they worked hard all year to get in the Regional close to home, keep em in it. Higher seed, Better record, send the lower seed PACKING!!!!!!  

    • After Further Review

      Maybe UMD should try to host and your problem would be solved.

    • Jason

       Try getting a arena that fits more than 6,000 and change, and then maybe the NCAA will consider it.

      • Guest

        Without opening up more SRO tickets, Amsoil seats 6,600.  If your going to make a point about it being to small of an arena, at least get your numbers right.

        • Jason

          wait…is 6000 and change (what I said) somewhat equivalent to 6,600? some would say yes. Sorry I didn’t please you with a specific number.

      • Joe C

        Actually, attendence at the NCAA Regionals is usually far smaller than the conference championship weekends or the Frozen Four. The reason is logistics.

        For the Frozen Four, there are many people that buy the tickets and plan the vacation a year in advance. The schools that make it to the Frozen Four have nearly two weeks to make their plans. Not to mention, being one of four teams that could win it. There is a trophy handed out at the end of the weekend.

        For the conference championship weekends, most schools are either a long drive to the arena or travel well in any case. Those teams that fail to make it to the weekend sell tickets to the teams that do. There is a trophy handed out at the end of the weekend.

        For the regionals, there is typically five days from announcing the field to dropping the puck. Your team might be playing 1,500 miles east/west in an AHL-size rink in a medium-sized city hours away from an airline hub airport, meaning connecting flights. No offense to Worcester, Albany, Grand Rapids, Green Bay, etc. but these are not glamour destinations with major airport hubs.

    • UofMGoldenChokers

      I love how it seems like every year that the goophs are hosting a regional. Who schedules these things? They suck at it. I think that D bad Maturi has something to do with it.

    • UofMGoldenChokers

      I love how it seems like every year that the goophs are hosting a regional. Who schedules these things? They suck at it. I think that D bag Maturi has something to do with it.

    • UofMGoldenChokers

      I love how it seems like every year that the goophs are hosting a regional. Who schedules these things? They suck at it. I think that D bag Maturi has something to do with it.

    • Slambammy

      I hate to say this but I agree.  I am a Gopher fan but if this plays out like this to the end UMD should host in St Paul.  They should also put the Gophers in the other game in St Paul so there is an opportunity for UMD to play the Gophs.  They would sell out the first two games and if UMD did end up playing the U of M…oh man would it be an awesome crowd.  There would be 6 people at the Lowell / N Michigan game.  How does that make sense?

      But of course we know they are really wiping out any chance of a WCHA Frozen Four.  That is what it is really about.

      • After Further Review

        Then maybe you need to speak with UMD about trying to host one.  They can’t just be made the host now and the Gophers already did their work and are hosting.
        And, not that it will stay this way, but if you look, there couldn’t be an all WCHA Frozen Four because there would only be 3 teams in.  Also, by putting two of the top WCHA teams in the same Regional, you just decreased your chance of an all WCHA FF, because one of them would have to lose, so your logic is backwards.

        • Slambammy

          Honestly…this is a fantasy schedule.  Do you not think there is even a remote possibility there will be more than 3 WCHA teams in the tourney?  Lasts weeks had 5.  Not really all that backwards.  All I am saying is if there are enough WCHA teams…they will do anything they can to keep a WCHA Frozen Four from happening.

          Hosting does not necessarily mean the game would be in Duluth.  It just means they would be the home team at the Xcel.  What makes more sense.  Eight thousand people up at the DECC or 17000 at the Xcel?

          • After Further Review

            But it has absolutely NOTHING to do with deserving to host, it’s a very simple process that some teams actually do their homework, put in the paperwork and try to host a good regional… others do not.

          • After Further Review

            Oops, that was sent a while ago to another post, not sure why it went here… anyways, no, I agree with you that there will be more than 3 WCHA teams by the end of the season.  I am not so sure that they intentionally would not allow another all WCHA FF to happen, but in this scenario, 2 of the top WCHA teams together means one would have to lose.  I was strictly talking about this scenario.
            I agree, UMD could host in St. Paul, but they need to get that straightened out well ahead of time, not now.  U of M is the host and that is the way it is.  I wish more teams would want to host and go through the process, then we could have more areas and schools hosting instead of the same ones over and over.

          • Slambammy

            Totally understand.  I just remember the last all WCHA FF and the other conferences being…well…upset (diplomatically speaking).  What I confused about in your post is what if MN puts in the paperwork to host and does not make it?  Isn’t the host the highest ranked team in the region versus who petitioned for it?

          • After Further Review

            I remember that as well and even though I am not a WCHA fan, I go to all of them and was there, it was a fun tournament.  We know things will change a ton in two months.
            MN would still be the host and the closest (geographically) #1 seed would be placed in that regional. Although, they would not have to place the closest team there, more than likely, they would.  In this case, it would be UMD.  If MN makes it, their seed can be anywhere from #1 to #4 and they would still host.  That would be the point where they would have to move a “better” team out to prevent intra-conference match ups or having a high seed having to potentially play a host team.  I don’t think it’s the best set up, but since hockey doesn’t have the following that basketball does, it makes the most sense for them to make money.  Just another reason it would be nice to have other schools try to get involved and wanting to host.

          • Slambammy

            What do you think about the single elimination knowing that Pro Hockey goes 7 games?  I know there isn’t the fan base/TV for it but I am interested in hearing peoples thoughts on at least a three game NCAA series (probably just at the FF and final game level)

          • After Further Review

            I think it would be great, if it could be done.  Unfortunately, I don’t know if it’s realistic to expect fans to be able to be away from home and at the games for an extended period of time like that.  I also don’t think hockey has the following that they could draw good crowds for 6 days of FF play.  I don’t like the one and done format, but I don’t think there is a choice.

          • Slambammy

            6-7 days in Tampa FL this year might be easier to swallow though.  :)

          • After Further Review

            Agreed!

          • Joe C

            In this week’s bracketology, BU and BC have a potential 2nd round matchup in Worcester, with the winner heading to the Frozen Four in Tampa. Should we realign the brackets to prevent this? This BU Alum says no. That game in the DCU would be EPIC!

            The criteria to place teams (and then adjust the placement) is defined. The host instituion rule is just that, a rule, which could be changed. Personally, I would prefer that the leagues act as hosts, Northeast and East being Hockey East, ECAC and AHA in a rotation. West and Midwest being CCHA and WCHA in rotation, changing to a rotation of NCHC, WCHA and BTHC in 2013.

            Does the host situation mess things up? In 2009, BU played UNH in Northeast Regional final, then played Vermont in Frozen Four semi-final. They might have played Northeasten in the final. No one I know complained about any of that, teams just played the bracket where they were placed.

            There seems to be a lot of bruised egos and conspiracy theorires about brackets and “shutting out” leagues, except when the opposite happens and then we get “the committee wanted an all-X conference Frozen Four”

            Do schools with playing their biggest rivals in the championship make for a great story? Sure. So did Duluth-Michigan and BU-Miami.

          • After Further Review

            I totally agree with conferences hosting, not schools, but it seems like that is not happening either.  It is a rule that can be changed, but doesn’t seem likely to be changed in the near future.
            They really only split up first round match ups anyways, not looking so much at the second round.  The past 2 times UNH has hosted it has been a very weak #3 and #4 seed, so there certainly wouldn’t be any reason to move anybody out because UNH had a strong team.  Also, many years the WCHA and HE have enough teams that a possible 2nd round match up is inevitable.
            A BU/BC match up in Worcester would be fun, but unless BC finds and sticks with a goalie, they won’t have to worry about it… fading fast!

  • Just a prediction, but look for Miami and Ohio State to make big moves before the season ends!

  • streaker

    It’s a little early to be getting knickers bound up. Let’s see where Miami ends up in March. And if you think 7 CCHA schools will be there also…. 

  • Guest

     This bracketology is a complete crock, IIn what regional are the University on North Dakota Fighting No Names?

  • Jason

    LOLOLOL 7 CCHA teams going to the NCAA. Everybody knows the WCHA is and has been the best conference in the nation. The only reason why you don’t see anymore teams in right now is because we beat up on each other. 

    Also since when do you determine conference leaders by winning percentage? Last time I checked it was by who had the most points, having the Gophers in first place. Even if you did do it by winning percentage how are ties worked in? And make certain that if more WCHA teams make it in, which they should, the NCAA will make sure they match them up for there isn’t a possibility of all 4 teams in the Frozen Four being WCHA teams, like it happened in the early 2000’s.

    • yougotschooled

      Also since when do you determine conference leaders by winning percentage?

      When it’s the middle of the season and not everyone has played the same number of games.

      Even if you did do it by winning percentage how are ties worked in?
      Ties count as half a win.  

      The only reason why you don’t see anymore teams in right now is because we beat up on each other.

      No, it’s because the WCHA as a group did not perform as well out of conference this year.  It’s that simple.

  • Leroilaw

    Didn’t you forget to put in a team from the Atlantic Hockey conference in the mix?

  • cmlobue

    Am I the only one who thinks they should lock in the Worcester regional now and just play for the other 12 spots?  A rematch of the incredible 2009 final in the first round, and the possibility of BU-BC in round two?  Leave Ferris as a possible Cinderella and I can;’t think of a better setup for a regional.

  • ChrisBiceFanClub

    Question. Doesn’t the committee guideline state: “Conference matchups in first round are avoided, unless five or more teams from one conference are selected, then the integrity of the bracket will be preserved” – and I’m sure it does since I just cut and pasted it? If the tournament were picked today, with 7 CCHA teams, doesn’t that mean that there is no need to split up the three first round matchupsthat result from the first run through the pairings? Or that only the Gopher-Bulldog game must be broken? Or am I missing something.

  • Lhth2000

    The Gophers are ranked 3rd and are a 4th and UMD is ranked number 1 and are the defending national champions and yet are not the number one overall seed. What a total joke of a ranking system.

  • Mr Hockey

    Correction all 5 conference leaders didn’t change this week! Minnesota has been on top of the WCHA all year!

  • CyanWinters

    Minnesota-Duluth, eh? We’ll go Catamount Cup Champs on them!

  • Anonymous

    For the second straight week you ignore a rule.

    “Conference matchups in first round are avoided, unless five or more teams from one conference are selected, then the integrity of the bracket will be preserved.”

    If the season were to end today, CCHA would have six teams in this tournamen. Therefore, Ferris State vs. Northern Michigan stays!!!

  • Anonymous

    I don’t expect UMass Lowell to stay where they are. They have a tough schedule to round out the season. 2 with BU, 3 with Merrimack, 1 with Maine and by the time the play Providence on the last weekend, Providence may be playing for their playoff lives and they’ve already lost to Vermont this year so I don’t count those games as gimme’s either. Should be alot of movement in Hockey East before this is over.

  • uhhuhbub

    The NCAA has a really tough job in selecting the field, so much so that USCHO can do it by using the pairwise rankings…does the committee even gather anywhere or just use the updated rankings? I do not feel sorry for them however, this tournament should be played based on how you finish not where your fans are coming from…the D1 basketball committee would send Duke to California in a second if that is where they deserved to be sent based on the rankings!! The NCAA has really screwed the pooch with the effort to take college hockey everywhere!! The Final excuse me Frozen Four is in St. Petersburg Florida!! So now we are trying to say attendance is a worry in the regionals…they have set a site in which Ohio State or Notre Dame is the closest school in the 16 team field to the site of the Frozen Four!! Thats roughly 1200 miles and 19 to 20 hours distance away!! Why they do this is beyond me…and they worry about attendance, your product should sell itself, you are leaving it up to coaches to find players from warm climate states but because the NCAA has a hockey tourney there isn’t going to add another 10 division 1 players in the next 20 years!! That is the insane part…look at the locations by state of the top 10 tournament teams this week…Minnesota (2) Mass (4) Michigan (2) Maine and Ohio!!! If they are so worried about attendance and having regionals mainly in those areas then what in the world are they doing when it comes to the Finals!! Teams are dropping programs left and right the University of South Florida is not adding a program because of the finals being down the street!! If the NCAA is worried about the attendance over the integrity of the whole tournament when it comes to seedings they may want to look big picture.  Don’t tell me the economy was so good when they chose Tampa for this years finals!! Fill an arena for your sports biggest events that are live on national TV, and we wonder why college hockey is fighting for tv contracts…Do an estimate of the cost for 2 people to see the Frozen Four this year!! I live in south Florida and the dates of the finals are still at peak season for travel here!! So airfare $400 per person AVG Hotel is going to be $90 a night and not you need a car or taxi the entire time and to eat!! The NCAA needs to wake up…Boston, New York City, Detroit, Minnesota and even Columbus need to be cycled around rotate a Colorado city once every 4 years and a place like DC into the mix, Lake Placid!! Maybe try a trip to Montreal,Toronto,Quebec or Ottowa!! 60% of players seem to be from north of the border and heck they love the sport there and that is still a reasonable drive from the mid west and east!! But to keep this Anahiem and Tampa deal up is insane the NCAA is shooting itself in the foot when it comes to location and ticket sales and going head to head with the economy!! So I dont feel bad that they may have a regional that teams may not bring fans, so sorry NCAA that you would put a tourament together and the 1,16,8 and 9 seeds would be in different brackets rather then the same because you need more revenue!!

    • guest

      Please explain how a trip to NYC is cheaper for a fan than Tampa.

    • WCHA fan

      I would like to see what kind of attendance Omaha would get for a regional.  Most current WCHA teams are all within driving distance.

  • Mesteveo

    East Coast Biased every year. You know it, i know it.

    • WCHA fan

      East coast biased.   Look at next years toournament sites.

      East – Providence
      Northeast – Manchester NH
      Midwest – Toledo OH
      West – Grand Rapids. MI.

      OK Toledo as a MW host I can see as MW.  But there is no way I would consider and site in the Eastern Time zone as being West.

  • Michigan 2011

    Go back to regionals hosted by highest seed.  There I solved your problem.  And just made the regular season a lot more interesting for the top 10. 

  • Anonymous

    Don’t think teams should be able to host regionals and get the favorable essentially home-ice advantage.  There is no reason regionals couldn’t be hosted by a league – Hockey East, ECAC, etc. – with no seeding gaurantees.

  • GB Puck Fan

    moving the Northern Michigan game to Green Bay would also help any attendance concerns, but I can’t see a #1 seed such as UML being moved here in that pairing… I hope the Ferris State people would make the trip across the lake. Former Gamblers at Notre Dame and Ferris State might help attendance.

  • austinsmith4hobey

    For those commenting on the empty seats at the regionals… check the figures from last year at Bridgeport. Packed house on Friday night and Saturday (7,816…capacity 8,412) Small crowd relative to what they get out in the West at Xcel Energy Center, but the atmospehere is great in that smaller building. Great spot for a regional in my opinion, they do a good job.