UND likely to get Niagara first

There are a few different bracket projections out there:

College Hockey News

USCHO

Western College Hockey

Grand Forks Herald

There are differences in each of them, but every single one has UND playing Niagara in the first round no matter what happens in today’s CCHA championship.

So, what do we know about Niagara?

1. Goaltender Carsen Chubak is a Hobey Baker Award finalists.

2. Forward Sam Alfieri might ring a bell to people around here. He played at Shattuck with guys like David Toews, Jordy Murray and Derek Stepan (and was one of SSM’s top scorers, too).

3. Niagara actually did not get the auto bid from Atlantic Hockey. The Purple Eagles have earned their way in through an at-large bid, a first for an Atlantic Hockey team.

Also, if history tells us anything, Atlantic Hockey teams have not been easy outs in the NCAA tournament. Here’s a quick breakdown of their performances recently.

2012 – Air Force (2-0 loss to BC). The Falcons played BC tougher than anyone in the NCAAs last year. The game was 1-0 with two minutes to go.

2011 – Air Force (OT loss to Yale). The Falcons had two power plays in the third period with a chance to win it, but couldn’t do so and lost in OT.

2010 — RIT (Reached Frozen Four). RIT upset Denver and New Hampshire en route to the Frozen Four, where it fell to Wisconsin in the semifinals.

2009 – Air Force (Beat Michigan, lost to Vermont in 2 OT). The Falcons nearly earned a trip to the Frozen Four, but were knocked out on the bizarre, through-the-net goal.

2008 – Air Force (OT loss to Miami). The Falcons lost to the top-seeded RedHawks in OT.

2007 – Air Force (4-3 loss to Minnesota). The Falcons had a lead in the third period but squandered it.

2006 – Holy Cross (Beat Minnesota, lost to UND). The Crusaders pulled off the stunning upset of the Gophers in the first round.

2005 – Mercyhurst (5-4 loss to Boston College). Mercyhurst had a power play in the final 3:40 of the game with a chance to tie it up.

2004 – Holy Cross (3-0 loss to UND). Zach Parise and Brandon Bochenski led UND past the Crusaders.

So, in the eight seasons since UND beat Holy Cross, Atlantic Hockey teams are 3-5 in the first round with four of those five losses coming by a goal. The only one that was by more than a goal was the BC game last year, which was 1-0 with under two minutes to go.

Even though Atlantic Hockey isn’t a powerhouse conference, it has proved to be more than capable on the big stage in recent years.

13 thoughts on “UND likely to get Niagara first

  1. Brad who do you trust when it comes to predicting brackets? CHN and USCHO have some real differences

  2. It really does not matter who the Sioux play. The question is: “can they play consistent, at their top level, for 4 games?”

  3. My only question about the brackets is how they can have a WCHA team in each regional? I thought they decided they didn’t want to ever have a all WCHA Frozen Four, so they don’t want to have a team in each regional. Of course, the problem is there are so many eligible WCHA teams this year.

  4. When was the last time we played Niagara? I seem to recall at least one Panzer rolling Niagara at a regional (2001?) at Mariucci arena.

  5. Brad,
    The debate on other hockey sites continues to be bracket integrity and the problems that are posed when a “host team” must play in the region they are hosting. I’m wondering if in the future that NCAA and college hockey conferences, in general, can correct some of this by changing how host sites are bid. Instead of a school making a bid and hosting, the conference serves as the host. That happens in other sports, and has happened in hockey. By having a conference host a regional, that gives flexibility when it comes to a team being placed in a regional. Perhaps, there could be a conference rule that the highest NCAA seeded team from that conference is the team selected at that site.
    This would be perfect if there was a regional site for each conference, but there is not. But that could be solved by having a rotation. Three “western conferences” (NCHC, WCHA, Big 10) and the three “eastern” conferences (ECAC, Hockey East, Atlantic Hockey) have a rotation as to which team hosts the respective regions in the West and Midwest, and East and Northeast. One year, the WCHA and Big 10 host the region sites. The next year, the NCHC and Big 10; and then the third year, the NCHC and the WCHA.
    Same concept for the three eastern conferences and two region sites out east.

  6. The uscho guy always talks about bracket integrity. Funny how they seem to throw integrity out the window just to attemp to improve attendance. Funny that the attendance thing never works out. If the Sioux end up at the number 8, there is no reason we shouldn’t be in the same regional as quinnipiac. They say they want to protect the overall number one but all they really focus on is lining their pockets more.

  7. Nothing will be funnier in my world than the gophs having to play the hottest team in the country in their backyard……the whining and excuses would be deafening!

  8. I think they need to stop spreading out the regionals over 4 cities. The attendance is never very good but its something the NC$$ considers every time they make the brackets.

    Instead, they should select 2 cities and send 8 teams there. There would still be 2 separate regional tournaments in the arena (Fri/Sat, Sat/Sun) but it would be easier to seed teams with “bracket integrity” as we’ll as get more than 3000 people in attendance.

  9. Yea. Enjoy the 2500 at Toledo. It’s obvious outside the little cult no one cares about hockey or und Canadian hockey, plus you are 21-19 and get in tournament?

  10. Anyone else find the irony in the regionals this year? All four sites are in eastern time, yet two of them are the west and midwest regionals. All of them are east of Chicago.

  11. I really dont see Niagra being able to deal with the Sioux’s speed at all (as long as the forwards convert their chances). I am sure the plan will be to play a muckety-muck game, and hope Chubak stands on his head. They were only 1-3-3 against non Atlantic teams this year, and their only win was a squeaker against a rebuilding Clarkson. I watched second-to-last in the ECAC Colgate thump them by 8 goals, and they looked like their legs were made of cement. I’m sure they will still come and play hard, but I’ve had my doubts about the strength of that Niagra team in the Pairwise all year……..

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