The CCHA Championship Weekend is Set

What a weekend of hockey. I'm feeling as giddy as a kid on Christmas (or Hanukkah for our Jewish friends). It was an exiting weekend of hockey, and after the dust settled, we have 3 expected teams and a huge shocker heading to the famous Joe Louis Arena next weekend. We had 3 games go into a total of 4 overtimes, and some beat downs in other games. Now let's look back at the four series to see what went down.

Notre Dame @ Michigan - The only non-MAC series started out pretty normal: a double OT game. Ok, so I'm joking, but with hockey like this, who can blame me? Luke Glendening scored 68 seconds into the game for the Wolverines, after an Anders Lee goal mid-way through the 3rd, we saw up and down action all the way until Chris Brown nailed home the winner 3 minutes into the 2nd OT.

In the Saturday's game, it was fairly quiet from my side of the board. I was busy covering the Bronco game, so I couldn't catch any of it on Comcast Sports. Phil Di Guiseppe had an assist on the first UM goal with 1:07 left in the 1st, then scored the game winner 5:33 into the 2nd. Both teams would score 19 seconds apart with 8 minutes to go, but ND would never get closer than 2 after the Di Guiseppe goal. Michigan advances to Detroit yet again, and I believe they have never NOT made it.

Other series after the jump............

Michigan State @ Miami - The only series I got 100% right was pretty much dominated by the RedHawks. This series was tied for a total of about 24 minutes out of 120, with a good portion of that (17:45) being tied 1-1 in game 2. Miami scored just 12 seconds in on Friday, and opened the floodgates in the 2nd, as they won 6-0. Jimmy Mullin had 4 points (2 g, 2a), and Connor Knapp stayed hot in the shutout.

The Saturday game was a little more sane. Reilly Smith and Torrey Krug, both are CCHA Player of the Year candidates, both scored in the first, and a Chris Wideman PP goal gave the RedHawks a 2-1 lead. Miami would score 41 seconds apart at the 12:30 mark, and the RedHawks are going back to Detroit to defend their CCHA Title from last year.

Lake Superior State @ Western Michigan - Lake State came out the aggressor on Friday, and scored a rather strange goal 3 minutes in: after winning a face-off, Colin Campbell threw a changeup that split Frank Slubowski's legs as he was trying to find the puck. Nevertheless, the Broncos would get goals from Dane Walters and Ian Slater (with 14 seconds left in the 1st) to take a 2-1 lead after weathering the storm. A Mike Leone redirect goal from Kyle Okane was the winner, and Slater added another on the empty net to secure a 4-2 win.

In Saturday's game, Western came out the aggressor, with Luke Witkowski scoring his first career goal at Lawson in the 1st period. After Lake State came out dominating the action in the 2nd, the Broncos took a timeout to regroup, and scored 3 goals in 4 minutes (including 2 in a 62 second span) to put the game at 4-0 after 2. Kyle O'Kane would score his 2nd goal of the night to make it 5-0, and that was pretty much it. The Lakers would score 17 seconds later, but would only get another goal on an extra attacker goal with the 5 Bronco seniors (all forwards) out on the ice late in the game. Said O'Kane, "We started our careers getting scored on, and now we end it getting scored on".

This was the senior skate after the win, not quite like last year's near riot celebration, but still pretty exciting:

WMU Senior Lap 2012 (via fitz49031)

Bowling Green @ Ferris State - Wow. Just wow. That's all I have to say. The other 2 OT games came in this series, and Ferris State has to feel bad because of what just happened. Never has the 11-seed made it to Detroit, well come Friday that will officially be over. Bowling Green is this year's VCU, so you bracket pickers can stop picking your underdog.

On Friday, Bowling Green had two goals from Cam Wojtala in regulation, including the game-tying goal with 2:51 to go in the 3rd and Ryan Carpenter had the game winner 17:18 into the OT period to give the Falcons a 1-0 series lead with a 3-2 OT win. Andrew Hammond had 54 saves as well. Brick. Wall.

On Saturday, BGSU had a 1-0 lead after the 1st thanks to a Connor Kucera goal. But then FSU scored 3 times in the 2nd, and it was 3-2 after 2. Dan DeSalvo decided to wake up, sometime around there, and got the assist on the lone Falcon goal that period (which tied the game at 2). He would score 21 seconds into the 3rd to tie the game at 3, but Ferris exploded for 4 goals over an 11 minute span starting around the 6 minute mark, which included the game winner, a shorty from Kirzinger. Desalvo would add another goal with 2:35 to go, giving him 3 points on the night (2 g, 1 a), and setting the stage for a huge game 3............

Ferris came out to play in the 1st, scoring 3 goals (one from mid-ice) and giving themselves a 3-0 lead. Bowling Green came out firing in the 2nd though. They would only get one goal (Carpenter from Sullivan and DeSalvo), but a 3-1 game is better than 3-0. In the 3rd, DeSalvo basically put himself in the spotlight, scoring twice: a breakaway and the game tying goal with 4:06 to go. Neither team would score, and we would go to OT. It only took 2:38 to end this game, and who else would score the game winner, but DeSalvo. A Hat-Trick. 11-seed going to Detroit. Ultimate upset. Time to celebrate

Bowling Green highlights 3/11/12 (via DomHennig)

And with that, we have our CCHA Final Field of Four:

#11/#4 Bowling Green vs #2/#1 Michigan 8:05 pm
#4/#3 Miami vs #3/#2 Western Michigan 4:35 pm


Tickets are available via ticketmaster. Or you can check with your local MAC school's ticket office to avoid the $7/ticket service fee. I'll be back this week with the Pairwise Predictor tool (yay, new toys), then I'll (hopefully) be back on Friday and Saturday LIVE from the Joe!

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