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Multiple mitten teams make men’s college hockey NCAA tournament

The flurries have settled and we can now begin the road to the Final Frozen Four.

The college hockey regular season officially wrapped up on Saturday with a multitude of conference tournaments coming to a close. Many automatic qualifiers were up for grabs, including in the WCHA where a pair of in-state rivals in the mitten’s upper peninsula battled it out for more than just bragging rights.

As it turns out, the mitten will have two representatives in this year’s NCAA tournament.

MICHIGAN TECH HUSKIES

Michigan Tech (22-16-5) captured their second straight WCHA Tournament crown on Saturday with a 2-0 win over rival Northern Michigan in Marquette. The Huskies’ Grayson Reitmeier scored the official game-winner early in the second period before Joel L’Esperance added an empty-netter with under a minute to go to put the game away. And Tech goalie Patrick Munson stopped all 21 shots he faced.

This latest ticket punched will make it three trips to the NCAA Tournament in the last four seasons for Michigan Tech, which comes after failing to make the big dance in any of the 33 years prior. First-year head coach Joe Shawhan, who was promoted from within after head coach Mel Pearson left to take the same position at Michigan, collects 22 wins in his first year with Tech. It’s the first time the Huskies have won 20+ games in four straight seasons since 1972-76 when they made three straight Frozen Four appearances and won a national championship in that span.

MICHIGAN WOLVERINES

Meanwhile, for Michigan (20-14-3), they earn one of three at-large bids from the Big Ten after an impressive finish to the regular season and surviving through a tough non-conference slate. Prior to their loss in the conference semifinals to rival Ohio State, the Wolverines had gone 12-3-1 over those 16 games, which helped bolster not only their standing in Big Ten Hockey but their overall resumé as well.

This is the second NCAA Tournament in three years after a brief three-year absence from the dance for Michigan. Overall, it is their 37th appearance as a program, which puts them in a tie with Minnesota for the most all-time by any school. The Wolverines’ nine national championships are the most in Division I.

THE FIELD

Here is a look at the first-round matchups for both Michigan and Michigan Tech.

Michigan is heading up to Worcester, Massachusetts where the No. 3 overall seed and regional 1-seed Cornell sits. The 2-seed Wolverines will take on the 3-seed Northeastern (23-9-5) out of Hockey East.

It’ll be just the seventh meeting all-time between Michigan and Northeastern, with the series tied 3-3.

As for Michigan Tech, they will head for Bridgeport, Connecticut for a regional led by No. 2 overall seed Notre Dame (25-9-2). The Huskies will take on the Big Ten newcomer, regular season and conference champion Fighting Irish.

This will be the 64th meeting between the Huskies and the Irish, with Tech leading the all-time series, 36-25-2.



This post first appeared on Detroit Sports Nation | Giving The Fans A Voice, please read the originial post: here

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Multiple mitten teams make men’s college hockey NCAA tournament

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