It's that time of the year again! The regular season has ended but the battle for the Mason Cup as well an automatic entry into the national tournament are up for grabs.
The Miami RedHawks have dominated the regular season with only two regular losses in conference all year, allowing only 39 goals in 28 games. They don't have to win the Mason Cup to be in the national tournament, but they want to finish what they started.
But this season, they are the only true "lock" to get into the tournament. As I type this, based on the PWR Rankings, 4 other CCHA teams would get in. But for Michigan State, Ferris State, Northern Michigan and Alaska, they are each right on the bubble.
MSU, Ferris and Northern will each get to wait a week before seeing their opponents, not making it to the Joe could very well be the difference between a shot at the national title or watching from home.
For Alaska, they will get to face one of the two bottom dwellers in Western Michigan. But even with head coach Jim Culhane out, the Broncos would love to play spoiler.
For Nebraska-Omaha, they are on the outside looking in. Getting to the final might sneak them in before they leave the CCHA. Standing in their way first the other bottom feeder in Bowling Green, looking to keep the faintest hopes alive.
For Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Lake Superior State, the last chance is now. It is strange, only a year ago it was Notre Dame hoisting the Mason Cup, earning a #1 seed in the national tournament along with Michigan. Now, each is down to their last strike. Michigan will face the Lakers, Ohio State will face Notre Dame.
Let the fun begin! Who will take home the Mason Cup? Which of the bottom 4 (if any) will make the big upset? How many teams will make the big dance? (2? 3? 4?) Place bets now.
(And, because I am slightly biased, GO BULLDOGS!)