Miami v. Denver for the NCHC Championship
If at the beginning of the season you said that Miami and Denver would play for the first ever NCHC tournament championship, no one would have been surprised. However, if the same question were posed about a month ago, it would certainly have elicited curious looks.
But, that’s how quickly a season can change.
Eighth seeded Miami will face sixth seeded Denver with the winner earning both a championship trophy and a trip to the NCAA tournament. With St. Cloud firmly in the field and Miami or Denver earning an automatic bid, the NCHC will have at least two teams represented. But, if North Dakota can rebound and defeat Western Michigan in today’s third place game, UND may have a shot to get in if they get help.
If Miami prevails tonight, that would mean playing in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati where the RedHawks are the host institution. After a regular season that saw Miami finish last in their new conference, the magnitude of their current four-game winning streak was not lost on head coach Enrico Blasi.
“I was thinking on the bench, you know, sometimes you got to have a little bit of faith in your team. About a month ago, I don’t think any of you guys would have picked us to be here in this position. I always say everything happens for a reason. Guys stayed with each other. They played hard. They practiced hard. They stayed positive and we’re going to the championship game tomorrow night.”
Miami has gone 2-2 against Denver this year and has had a pretty good run of success against the Pioneers over recent years. With the way the RedHawks are playing, nothing would surprise me. And, if the Miami team that showed up last night against North Dakota is there tonight, I think it’s reasonable to believe Miami will live to play on next weekend in Cincinnati. If not, at least this late season run breathed some life into an otherwise lackluster season.
Rise and Prevail! Let’s do this!