Ferris State Leads CCHA Surge Into NCAA Tourney

by Eric Lacy

The Central Collegiate Hockey Association may be disbanding in 2013, but this year, five of the 16 teams in the NCAA Tournament are eager to showcase the league's relevancy.

Ferris State, Michigan, Michigan State, Western Michigan, and Miami (Ohio) all punched tickets to an NCAA Tournament that could generate lots of drama.

Ferris State, the No. 2 seed in the Midwest, faces No.3 seed Denver at 3:30 PM MT Friday in Green Bay. The Bulldogs definitely have something to prove.

Ferris State climbed to the No. 1 ranking in the nation this season, won the CCHA regular season title and were a No. 1 seed in the CCHA tournament before losing in the quarterfinals.

News of the CCHA's postseason rise — four teams earned bids last season — comes a year before the Big Ten launches its six-member conference in 2013-14.

"I can't tell you I'm cheering for the teams in the CCHA," Michigan coach Red Berenson said. "But I respect the fact that we're a good conference and that we belong in the Tournament."

Berenson said the CCHA's representation in the Tournament, which announced its bracket Sunday, is bittersweet because the 41-year-old conference appears at its best as the end nears.

"It's too bad," said Berenson, in his 28th season at Michigan. "The conference is as strong as it's ever been, and it's going to disappear after one more season."

The five CCHA teams in the NCAAs is the most since 2004.


dggoddard said...

Placing five teams from one conference in the Tournament shows the importance of non-conference games on the Pairwise Rankings.

The CCHA got off to a great start in their non-conference games in the first few weeks of the season while the WCHA teams struggled.

DU's three non-conference losses to Huntsville, BU and Miami almost put the season in jeopardy. As it turned out DU needed to win the playoff series against Wisconsin and Final 5 game against Michigan Tech just to sneak in under the wire.

ScottA said...

Padding your schedule with non-conf tomato cans doesn't work in college hockey. You have to play good non-conf teams and you have to beat them. The computer knows all....