#3 Ferris State and #4 Northern Michigan will meet in the first semifinal with the winner advancing to the championship game against either Miami or Michigan.
Miami and Michigan have faced each other twice already this season with Miami sweeping the Wolverines in Ann Arbor 3-1 and 5-1. But, as they say, that was then, this is now.
These Wolverines are 6-2 over their last eight games and just completed a two game sweep of arch rival MSU in East Lansing to earn a berth in the finals weekend. By most accounts, the Wolverines must win the tournament to keep their 19-year streak of NCAA tournament appearances alive. They are playing fast. They are playing smart and strong in front of walk-on goaltender Shawn Hunwick who is 5-1 since taking over for the injured Bryan Hogan. But, Hunwick has yet to face a team as talented as Miami and certainly not under the hot lights of Joe Louis Arena.
Meanwhile, Miami enters tonight’s game secure. They are in the NCAA tournament, but they’d like dearly to hold onto either the #1 overall seed, or at worst, #2 by performing well this weekend. Plus, Miami has never captured the Mason Cup, a feat this team wants badly to accomplish.
Miami has talked about three championships all season. They have the first, the CCHA regular season title. The second is two wins away and the third begins next weekend. Can they do it?
Here’s what College Hockey News had to say about the weekend. Miami has never fared well against Michigan, nor in Joe Louis Arena. I’m optimistic, but won’t be surprised either way.
I’m out. Heading for Detroit.