College Hockey Conference Championships

Last week I previewed the quarterfinal rounds of the college hockey conference tournaments. I did pretty well in my picks as I picked 16 of 21 teams that would advance to the semifinals that began last night with the WCHA Final Five, but will really kick into gear tonight as the other conferences play semifinal games.

The conference I totally missed the mark on was College Hockey America, where Alabama-Huntsville won not only the last CHA tournament championship but the school’s last hockey conference title as they will compete as an independent next season.

Since I ran out of time to complete the story and just named teams that will advance in Hockey East, Atlantic Hockey, and ECAC, I’ll preview those conferences first before previewing the CCHA and WCHA.

Hockey East

Boston College will take on Vermont in the first semifinal. These two teams love to meet in even-numbered years as they have faced each other in the Hockey East tournament in 2006 and 2008. BC has won each meeting, including the 2008 championship. Although Vermont is the #8 seed as they shocked New Hampshire last week to advance this far, Vermont has taken two of the three meetings against BC this season. Vermont is ranked 14th in the latest poll, so it won’t be a easy game for BC which is ranked #4. Vermont needs to win the conference tournament to get the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. In Hockey East, a #8 seed has never played in the title game and I see that drought to continue.

The second semifinal features Boston University and Maine. This is a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal series, in which the Terriers won 2-1 en route to the national championship. The Terriers also took the season series 2-1 over the Black Bears. I sense another 2-1 happening Friday night, and that’s a 2-1 victory by the Terriers. As consolation to the Black Bears though, is they have some of my favorite uniforms in all of college hockey.

Championship Pick: Boston University over Boston College

Atlantic Hockey

The first semifinal from Rochester, NY will put top seeded R.I.T. playing against Canisus. R.I.T. cruised easily to the regular season title and in their first round series versus Connecticut. These two teams should be quite familiar with each other, as the only meeting between the two schools occurredthe last week of the regular season. R.I.T. won bothgames by a combined total of 13-4, a 8-0 drubbing and a closer 5-4 game the second night. R.I.T. looks like a serious contender for the NCAA tournament, but they still need to take care of business as they only way they will get in is by winning both games this weekend.

Sacred Heart will take on Air Force in the second game. Both teams are evenly matched as only a couple points separated the two teams during the regular season. The teams are so evenly matched, that not only did the home team win each of the four meetings, but each game was at least a three goal game. Not really sure who’s the favorite in this game, but I’m confident the Falcons will find a way to beat the Pioneers and advance to the championship.

Championship Pick: R.I.T. over Air Force


Can lightning strike twice for Brown? As the 11th seed, they upset top-seeded Yale. This time they will have to take on #2 seed Cornell. Cornell looks very strong this season and as the last ECAC team to play in the Frozen Four in 2003, the Big Red has big expectations and big weight on its shoulders. The Bears have to play the game of their lives to play for a championship, and I think it will be too much to overcome.

The second game from Albany, NY will feature St. Lawrence and Union. The Dutchmen is enjoying the best season the school has ever had, and they have owned the Saints this season as they scored four goals in both victories between the teams this season. It’s times like these where the cream usually rises to the top, and that cream is located at a school located 20 miles away from where tonight’s game will be played. A season Union is having is very similar to a school that lost the 2003 CCHA tournament final and where yours truly decided to attend college.

Championship Pick: Cornell over Union


The first semifinal is a game where I will be in attendance where Ferris State will be taking on Northern Michigan. The Wildcats took five of six points from the Bulldogs in Big Rapids thisseason. But dating back to 2006-07 with a 3-2-1 mark. This is Ferris State’s first return to Detroit since 2003 when they qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time. The Wildcats have been to the semifinals for the third straight season. In each of the last two season, NMU has lost the semifinal before winning the third-place game. Northern Michigan has two options: will a team be hungry enough to win a game at Joe Louis Arena, or will they play like the Finland Olympic hockey team and win the consolation game? (Finland has taken the bronze medal in three of the past five Olympics.)

The second game looks like it could be the best game of the weekend as the best team in the nation takes on a team that’s hanging by a thread to make it in the NCAA tournament for the 20th consecutive season. Miami suffered a little jolt when it was almost upset by Ohio State last week. Miami looks like the obvious pick in this game, but I’ve seen Michigan play four times  in the 2010 calendar year. Last week against Michigan State, they looked like a team that was the home team and not someone playing on the road. Michigan has to win the tournament to get the automatic bid because Alabama-Huntsville getting the automatic bid in CHA. There’s not a lot of at-large bids remaining mathematically between the team that were essential locks not winning their conference tournaments. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Michigan will win the CCHA, which could squeeze Alaska out of a NCAA bid. Rematch of the 2003 title game? Yes please!

Championship Pick: Michigan over Ferris State


The Final Five actually began last night as NorthDakota defeated Minnesota-Duluth. Now, the fifth-ranked Fighting Sioux will take on the best team in the nation: Denver. The Pioneers are even more of a deadly team than the CCHA’s Miami Redhawks. The WCHA is the best conference in the nation as all four teams remaining make up the top six teams in the nation. Not to mention, the WCHA had all four of the Frozen Four finalists in 2005. Although North Dakota can pull the feat of winning three games in three nights, I don’t think they can get past Denver.

The second game from St. Paul, Minn. features Wisconsin and St. Cloud State. I got to see the Badgers at the Camp Randall Classic in February and they looked really good against Michigan. They will have a challenge against the Huskies because St. Cloud State is no pushover. The season series was a split, with the Huskies winning the Friday game, but the Badgers took the Saturday game of each weekend series. You would think this game being played Friday night would go in favor of the Huskies, but not so fast my friend… I believe the Badgers will the ones coming out with a victory Friday night.

Championship Pick: Wisconsin over Denver


  1. Well, you got the CCHA winner corect, albeit against a different opponent than predicted. But who cares
    about that? You picked a #4 seed and they won.
    Ballsy pick !!!!!!!!!

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