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<< Sports >>

College Hockey News

Tuesday, 26 March, 2013 5:01 PM

Notre Dame Wins Last CCHA Title

Miami and Western Michigan to Join New NCHC Next Year

Photo courtesy of the Rolco Sports Network

Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson, a Roseville, Michigan native son, will be taking his team to the 2013 NCAA Midwest Regional at the Huntington Center Arena in Toledo, Ohio. The Fighting Irish won the last CCHA Playoff Championship at Joe Louis Arena with a 3-1 win over Michigan.

 

by Raymond Rolak
AmericaJR.com Web Team

 

 

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DETROIT -- The NCAA men’s ice hockey championship playoffs won’t have Michigan for the first time in 23 years. Notre Dame won the final CCHA title at Joe Louis Arena with a thrilling 3-1 win over a never-quit Wolverine squad.

For Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson, this CCHA championship was his seventh. He had four previously with Lake Superior State and now three with the Irish. That ranks him third all-time behind Ron Mason (13) and Red Berenson (9). “This one is extra special to me,” said Jackson.

“The first team I ever coached as a head coach in college hockey (Lake Superior) in 1991 won this tournament and this will be the last opportunity to win one a CCHA tournament, added Jackson.”

Notre Dame and Miami were the only CCHA teams to advance to a NCAA Regional. They will both play in the NCAA Midwest Regional in Toledo.

Jackson said post-game after the CCHA Championship, “Well, obviously we are thrilled. It’s a great weekend for us. The team did everything that we asked of them and beyond. I thought it got us just about ready for (the NCAA tournament). You know, paying the price and putting it on the line, and doing what they had to do to be successful against two good teams. We’re just proud to be able to raise another banner at the Compton Center. So, I’m happy for these guys.”

Notre Dame’s victory ended Michigan’s season and prevents the Wolverines from participating in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1990. That breaks a string of 22 straight NCAA appearances.

After this 42nd year of the CCHA there will be a host of new college conference makeups next season. The Big Ten Conference will restart with Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State from the CCHA. Wisconsin and Minnesota will leave the WCHA and Penn State will be the sixth team.

Miami and Western Michigan will join the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference and Notre Dame will join Hockey East. Alaska-Fairbanks, Bowling Green, Northern Michigan, Ferris State and Lake Superior State will join the new WCHA next year.

With great sincerity Michigan coach Red Berenson said, “It has been the only college league that I coached in. The CCHA can be proud of all the team members, the championships, the great players that they’ve produced, and the great people they’ve produced as student-athletes and not just NHL players. It has been a great league; it’s just too bad it’s over.”

In the final game, both teams got great goaltending. Notre Dame from Steven Summerhays and Michigan’s Steve Racine both played strong and gave both sides a chance for the win.

Berenson alluded that this may have been Racine’s best game of the season. Coach Berenson added, “Well it was a good tournament obviously; there were four really good teams. It came down to a 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon game where you are a little concerned about which team will be really ready and which team might not be. Obviously, Notre Dame got a great start, and even though the game was tied, they were right there, and they were all over us. They didn't give us much, and we didn't get much, and that is how the game went on. Even after two periods, I thought our team would bounce back in the third, and they tried. But that first goal in the first shift -- goals were precious tonight -- we knew there would not be many of them, so giving up that goal was a tough one, and we just couldn't get it back.”

Underclassmen Named to Last CCHA All-Tournament Team

The Irish had three players named to the 2013 CCHA All-Tournament Team - junior center T.J. Tynan, sophomore right wing Austin Wuthrich and junior defenseman Stephen Johns. Michigan had three players honored and all were all freshmen - forward Andrew Copp, defenseman Jacob Trouba and goaltender Steve Racine.
The CCHA has placed two teams in the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship. CCHA Regular Season Champion Miami and CCHA Mason Cup Playoff Champion Notre Dame will play in the Midwest Regional at Toledo, Ohio. The event is hosted by Bowling Green.

Jackson added, “It doesn’t really matter because when you go to a regional, you’re going to play good teams. “We’re playing the WCHA regular season champion, so there are never any slouch teams in the tournament and you have to be prepared, regardless of whom you draw.”

The four regional winners will advance to the Men’s Frozen Four in Pittsburgh, Penn., on April 11-13. The championship playoff format involves four predetermined regional sites with four teams assigned to each site. The four regional winners advance to the Men’s Frozen Four. The entire championship uses a single-elimination format.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish (26-12-3) are the No. 1 seed at the Midwest Regional and will face off against No. 4 seed St. Cloud State (23-15-1) of the WCHA in the 1:30 p.m. eastern time game on Saturday, March 30th. The Irish are making their sixth NCAA Tournament appearance, and first since 2011 when they advanced to the Frozen Four.

The Miami RedHawks (24-12-5), making their eleventh NCAA Tournament appearance overall, are the No. 2 seed at the Midwest Regional where they will meet No. 3 seed Minnesota State Mankato (24-13-3) of the WCHA in the 5:00 p.m. eastern time game on Saturday, March 30th. The RedHawks are appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the eighth consecutive year.

Automatic qualification privileges are granted to the postseason champions of five conferences. The remainder of the field is selected at large.
The University Michigan is the NCAA host school for the West Regional in Grand Rapids on March 29-30. Minnesota, Yale, North Dakota and Niagara will participate at Van Andel Arena.

Midwest Regional, March 30-31
Huntington Center, Toledo, Ohio

Saturday, March 30, 1:30 p.m. - No. 1 Notre Dame (25-12-3) vs. No. 4 St. Cloud State (23-15-1) - ESPN Syndication/ESPN3
Saturday, March 30, 5:00 p.m. - No. 2 Miami (Ohio) (24-11-5) vs. No. 3 Minnesota State Mankato (24-13-3) – ESPN Syndication/ESPN3
Sunday, March 31, 4:00 p.m. - Midwest Regional Championship - ESPNU/WatchESPN

National Championship

Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Penn.

Saturday, April 13, 7:00 p.m. – ESPN
All times Eastern

Related Stories: 2012 CCHA Crown Goes To Western Michigan; Michigan defeats Notre Dame, 4 - 2 in CCHA Third-Place Game; WMU surpasses Michigan, 5 - 2 in CCHA Semifinal Game 2; Miami (OH) beats Notre Dame, 6 - 2 in CCHA Semifinal Game 1; Andy Miele named 'Player of the Year' at 2011 CCHA Awards

 

Logo credit: CCHA

The league will disband after this 42nd year of operation.

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

Notre Dame and Western Michigan will join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) next year.

 

 

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