Tag Archives: WCHA

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference – A Super League Is Born

Editor’s Note: For purposes of full disclosure, J-Dub is an alum of the University of North Dakota and is a fervent Fighting Sioux hockey fan. In fact, that’ s his real fat ass all Sioux-ed up. For Christ’s sake, the man has a Fighting Sioux shower curtain.  We mention this only for purposes of stating up front this article may be written with a bit of a bias. If you disagree, feel free to comment, or start your own blog. Either way, you’ve been warned.

College football isn’t the only sport in the NCAA experiencing a tectonic shift in it’s conference alignments.  Two of its oldest and most storied leagues are breaking up and re-forming a college hockey world that will look very different from the way it does today.

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) will celebrate its 60th anniversary this fall. The Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) turns 41. However, it is these two leagues which will be the most effected by the announcement yesterday that the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) will begin play in 2013-14 with some of the game’s most powerful programs as charter members.

Perennial power North Dakota, defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth, along with Denver, Colorado College,and Nebraska-Omaha are leaving the WCHA for the new league.  These five schools have combined for a total won 17 national championships.  Miami (Ohio) is departing the  CCHA for the NCHC.

For those of you unfamiliar with college hockey, if such a shift were to happen in college football, it would be the equivalent of  (current sanctions notwithstanding) USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State all announcing they are leaving their current conferences and forming their own.

“The WCHA has changed pretty dramatically over the years,” Colorado College athletic director Ken Ralph said. “As we look at the institutions that are most like us from a hockey perspective, the institutions our fans like seeing and the institutions that are providing national media for us, it became a pretty defined group.

Such a shift was inevitable once the Big Ten sponsored men’s hockey as a league sport.  Once Penn State added hockey, the Big Ten had the needed six teams to form a conference once it gained Minnesota and Wisconsin from the WCHA and Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State from the CCHA.

This re-alignment will leave the WCHA with only five members: Alaska-Anchorage, Minnesota State, Bemidji State, and charter member Michigan Tech.

“Obviously, it’s a tough day for the WCHA and a sad one for me personally, and it’s not one that is easy to put into perspective,” WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod said. “We wish everyone well, but make no mistake, the WCHA is not going away. . . The WCHA has a short-term plan that we will implement immediately. In the long-term, we will formulate a strategic approach that will ensure the well-being of this Association and its members for the long run.”

The CCHA fares a bit better…for now. As it stands now, the league will have seven remaining schools, the most notable being Notre Dame. However, their is a strong possibility the Fighting Irish will join the Fighting Sioux in the new conference.

The league, which intentionally didn’t define itself with one region of the country, may expand by the time it starts. The National, as it was called by coaches and athletic directors at Wednesday’s introductory press conference, covets adding Notre Dame as a seventh team. If the Irish come aboard, an eighth team is possible as well.

The thing that all college hockey fans must remember that such big shifts are not new.  Set the Wayback Machine for 1982 when Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Northern Michigan all bid farewell to the WCHA for the CCHA. Two years later,  Boston College, Boston University, Maine, and New Hampshire were the vanguard of what became a seven-team defection from Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) to form Hockey East.

I know you are all wondering…what does does J-Dub, North Dakota alum and fervent Fighting Sioux fan think of this?

First of all, everybody thought 1982 was some sort of apocalypse; everybody thought all those teams leaving the WCHA (more importantly, the split of the North Dakota/Michigan rivalry) was the death knell of the WCHA. In fact, the opposite was true. North Dakota and Michigan continued to be the pre-eminent programs in the game, and both the WCHA and CCHA flourished as conferences.

We weren't kidding...the man has a Fighting Sioux shower curtain.

The same held true for Hockey East. People thought it was bad for college hockey when Hockey East was formed and it strengthened the game in the East. Look at how many times Boston Fucking College has beaten the Sioux in the Frozen Four lately. That didn’t happen 20 years ago.

Not to mention, this will be good for the development of new programs. At the outset, we get a new Penn State program (fun for me, as I did some post-grad work there, and the Beaver Stadium experience is what hooked me on college football).  Since I literally now live spitting distance from the Purdue campus, you know I’m going to be doing whatever I can to get them to move hockey from a club sport up to the level of competing with the big boys; I sure as hell don’t want to have to keep get my college hockey fix in South Bend or via satellite.

But beyond my myopic needs, this could bring the college game into a growth period. The calculus works like this: a period of more conferences smaller in size instead of the double-digit alignments of today means six-team conferences like the  Big Ten and the new NCHC have slots for new programs. If I can get Purdue to pick up hockey, they are a no-brainer for the Big Ten. The non-regional nature of the new NCHC means it is rife with possibilities, ranging from adding members from existing, yet struggling conferences to welcoming newcomers.

Either way, the future of college hockey is at the same time different and bright.  I for one look forward to it.

Now That Your Hoops Bracket Is Busted, Try Some College Hockey Instead

As a fan of college hockey, I realize that I am a lover of a sport that has exactly nine other fans. Every year at this time, I try to expand that number into double-digits by allowing all of you college basketball fans a chance to double-dip on brackets.

That’s right…the NCAA Men’s Hockey tournament field has been announced, and thanks to the good people at SiouxSports.com, there is now a clickable on-line bracket that will allow you to double your tournament misery (registration required – It’s free, but approval may take up to 24 hours). You can also expect a high pro-North Dakota Fighting Sioux bias; the name of the website ought to be a solid clue…

The Official Dubsism Bracket

“But Dubsism,” you say, “I don’t know anything about college hockey.” Suck it up and fill out a bracket, Muffin. Know that girl in your office who will win your basketball pool?  She’s going to win based on a strategy of picking teams based on what color their uniforms are or because they have a cute mascot. Meanwhile, you as “Mr I-Watch-College-Basketball-And-I-Have-Pittsburgh-All-The-Way” is using his bracket as slightly uncomfortable toilet paper.

In a nutshell, here are the basics of college hockey.

  • As a North Dakota guy, I am completely and unabashedly biased.
  • That doesn’t change the fact that North Dakota is the best team in the best conference, the Western College Hockey Association. Out of the sixteen teams in this field, four are from the WCHA (North Dakota, Colorado College, Denver, and Minnesota-Duluth), and a fifth (Nebraska-Omaha) will be joining the WCHA next season.
  • The WCHA can be best explained by comparisons to characters from the Simpsons (the two new members for next season are explained here).
  • North Dakota’s style of play is likely very reminiscent of the movie “Slap Shot“…the evidence just piles up, again, and again, and again, and again.

Even if you decide you don’t have the pucks to fill out a bracket, at least find this upcoming tournament on your cable package this weekend and enjoy some of the best sporting action and/or sheer brutality you’ve likely never heard of.

The Results Are In! Your New Representative WCHA Simpsons Characters Are…

If you recall, in an effort to give you, the blog-reading public, an insight into the best sports league you’ve never heard of, we here at Dubsism penned a primer comparing the members of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) to characters from The Simpsons.

The trouble came when the WCHA was the first big college conference to expand. Last year, the conference announced that it was adding two members who would begin play in the conference in 2011. Last spring, Dubsism ran a poll to determine representative Simpsons characters for the new members.  Well, as Maury Povich would say, “The Results Are In!” Here are the vote results…

In The Case Of Bemidji State University:

  • Chief Wiggum: 58%
  • Otto the Bus Driver: 17%
  • Princess Kashmir: 8%
  • Waylan Smithers: 8%

In The Case Of the University of Nebraska-Omaha:


  • Principal Skinner: 56%
  • Groundskeeper Willie: 22%
  • Milhouse Van Houten: 11%
  • Rich Texan: 0%

Since the puck drops on the College Hockey season in a scant 9 days, it’s time to strap on the skates and enjoy the tooth-shattering bliss that is the WCHA. After all, NHL fights are okay, I guess, but in our estimation it isn’t a real fight until the cops get involved.

They Can Handle a Blue Line; Green Not So Much

Usually, one expects hockey players to be able to handle collisions. Or course, usually one also expects them not to collide with a light-rail vehicle, which by the way, aren’t really that light. But when you win a championship, sometimes the parties get out of hand, and next thing you know, a Jeep becomes just a wad of metal stuck on a knuckle coupler.

It seems last week three lads from Boston College’s NCAA hockey championship squad thought it might be a good idea to play chicken with a Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) Green Line train. Obviously, the three lads, Parker Milner, 19, Patrick Wey, 19, and Philip Samuelsson, 18, and the Jeep lost. Luckily, none of three or the four other people in the Jeep were seriously hurt, and nobody on the train was hurt.

Being in Boston, they could have called Aerosmith, who would have told the hockey players the "Train Keeps A' Rollin'."

Too bad you likely won’t be able to say the same for their wallets, as all seven passengers face charges of being minors in possession of alcohol after it was determined Ol’ John Barleycorn was a factor in the crash.  According to the operator of the MBTA train, three of the passengers allegedly tossed what looked like alcohol containers out the window.  It doesn’t help that an MBTA spokesman also said a bottle of vodka was found in the Jeep. It also doesn’t help that three of the seven people in the Jeep fled the scene.  And it certainly doesn’t help that MBTA has announced they will be seeking restitution for the damage to the Green Line vehicle, as well as the cost of running buses while the line was out of service. 

While the three hockey players are likely to be suspended to start next season, all face some stiff legal and possibly financial issues stemming from the criminal charges and the possible restitution for the damage to the train. the more pressing matters are the impending legal ones. All seven teens have been charged with being minors in possession of alcohol, and could pay a hefty sum if it’s decided that they have to pay restitution to the MBTA. 

All this begs a simple question: How the hell does the WCHA keep losing to a team that gets the only hockey players in the world who can’t handle their liquor?

Congratulations to the Boston College Eagles, 2010 NCAA Hockey Champions

The BC Eagles managed to drive yet another nail in my sporting coffin last night by knocking off the Wisconsin Badgers 5-0, thus denying the WCHA the title for the fifth year in a row. So, rather than fulment about how BC has driven me, a faithful Fighting Sioux fan, crazy in the past few years, I will just raise a toast, offer congratualtions on a job well done, and plan to take your scalps next year.

Oh, and in case your are curios, here’s what a completely destroyed Frozen Four bracket look like…

East Region: Albany, New York Frozen Four Detroit, Michigan National Champion
#1 Denver #1 Denver

#4 RIT

#1 Denver

#4 RIT

#1 Denver


#1 Wisconsin

#2 North Dakota

#1 Boston College

#4 Rochester Institute of Technology
#2 Cornell #2 Cornell

#3 New Hampshire

#3 New Hampshire
West Region: St. Paul, Minnesota
#2 St. Cloud State #3 Northern Michigan

#2 St. Cloud State

#1 Wisconsin
#3 Northern Michigan
#1 Wisconsin #1 Wisconsin
#4 Vermont
Northeast Region:Worcester, Massachusetts
#1 Boston College #1 Boston College #2 North Dakota

#1 Boston College

#2 North Dakota

#1 Boston College

#4 Alaska-Fairbanks
#2 North Dakota #2 North Dakota

#3 Yale

#3 Yale
Midwest Region: Fort Wayne, Indiana
#1 Miami (OH) #1 Miami (OH) #1 Miami (OH)
#4 Alabama-Huntsville
#2 Bemidji State #2 Bemidji State

#3 Michigan

#3 Michigan

Vote For The Simpsons Character to Represent the Two New Members of the WCHA

Previously, here at Dubsism, we embarked in an attempt to educate the blog-reading public as to the joys of the best sports league that may be largely unknown to those of you living south of the Arctic Circle, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).  The idea was to liken the member schools of the league to something with a bit more universal appeal; a representative character from The Simpsons.

While we are currently in the midst of the NCAA Tournament, there is a pressing future concern at hand. Beginning with the 2010-2011 season, the WCHA will expand from it’s present ten members to an even dozen, when Bemidji State University and the University of Nebraska-Omaha become members.

In order to continue the effort to broaden the understanding of this wonderful league, not only do we need to find representative Simpsons’ characters for these new entrants, but its really necessary to do so as to avoid confusion. See, the trouble is this league already sports two teams having the same moniker, the St. Cloud State Huskies and the Michigan Tech Huskies. Now that Nebraska-Omaha is becoming a member, it will share the Maverick mascot with Minnesota State.

This is where you enter the picture. Once half the staff at Dubsism was hospitalized brawling over what the new characters should be, we decided through wired jaws to open the decision to a vote. With that, here are the nominees for each school.

Bemidji State:

1) Waylon Smithers – The geographic proximity between Bemidji, Minnesota and Grand Forks, North Dakota (the home of Mr. Burns) is a pretty solid metaphor for Smithers’ incessant need to be close to Mr. Burns. Smithers’ obsession with Burns is also reflected in BSU’s copy-catting UND’s green and white colors, and there are many rumors, unsubstantiated as they may be, that Bemidji State is home to a massive Malibu Stacy collection.

2) Princess Kashmir – While she may be one of the more obscure characters, the fact that can’t be ignored is BSU’s team nickname is…ummm…the Beavers.

3) Chief Wiggum – Bemidji State is home to a substantial law-enforcement program, and frankly the WCHA could use some cops. In addition, Wiggum’s vast waistband is representative of the girth of the average northern Minnesotan, as is his general duncery.

4) Otto the Bus Driver – I have it on authority from more than one Bemidji State alum that the isolated nature of this school in the hinterlands of northern Minnesota combined with its annual 14 months of uninhabitability winter climate are major contributing factors in making BSU a shining beacon of, shall we say, recreational chemistry…

Nebraska-Omaha:

1) Milhouse van Houten – Much like the time Milhouse moved to Capital City and transmogrified from nerd to the veritable apex of uber-cool, UNO is hoping for the same type of metamorphasis. They really are banking on the switch in conferences giving them the status of a rock star, because nothing would make all those jerks back in Springfield the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) have to suck it.

2) Groundskeeper Willie – If one were to pick two places in America where people have piss-your-pants funny accents that make them nearly impossible to understand, it would be hard to ignore Minnesota and Texas. Honestly, Nebraska is really like a bastard child of the two. So why not have this school represented by the single-most hilarious and undecihperable character available?

3) Rich Texan – First of all, see the aforementioned likeness of Nebraska and Texas. Second of all, UNO is a school hiding behind the bravado of the Bull mascot in a manner identical to how the Texan uses his six-guns to cover his “inadequacies.”

4) Principal Skinner – Sure, Nebraska is a state, but it isn’ t much of one. If there were a state you could picture still living with its harridan mother at age 45, it would be Nebraska. Being bordered by such hotbeds of sheer excitement like Iowa and South Dakota gives Nebraska the ability to actually believe school field trips and individually-wrapped fruit cups are the stuff that makes life worth living.

UPDATE 9/21/10:  The results are in!

The Road to the Frozen Four: Welcome to My Wreckage

Apparently, now you can't spell Cinderella without RIT.

To really comprehend what happened to my bracket, it is key to understand the term “catastrophe.”       

From Merriam-Webster Online:  

Main Entry: ca·tas·tro·phe   Pronunciation: \kə-ˈtas-trə-(ˌ)fē\  Function: noun  Etymology: Greek katastrophē, from katastrephein to overturn, from kata- + strephein to turn  Date: 1540  

  1. the final event of the dramatic action especially of a tragedy
  2. a momentous tragic event ranging from extreme misfortune to utter overthrow or ruin
  3. A: a violent and sudden change in a feature of the earth, or  B : a violent usually destructive natural event (as a supernova)
  4. utter failure : fiasco <the party was a catastrophe>
  5. letting me fill out a bracket for any sport at anytime

How sad is it when the best thing I can say about my basketball bracket is it isn’t my hockey bracket? Where the hardcourt heartbreak fills with the Syracuses and Georgetowns of the world, merely shifting to the ice doesn’t change the fact that one really doesn’t have much hope for winning when the teams slated for the finals in your bracket gag in the first round.  On the floor, the Big East became the Big Least, and on the ice, the Western Collegiate Hockey Assocation (WCHA) simply forgot to show up.  

As a conference, the WCHA led the tourney with four teams seeded, including two #1 selections. Throughout the season, the WCHA had several teams rated in the Top 20. Throughout the season, the WCHA was regarded as the best conference in the nation. Leave it to the post-season to bring about that violent and sudden change in a feature of the earth, as the tournament has created a tectonic shift away from the WCHA’s dominance.

In the past decade, a WCHA side has won the national championship 6 times, but hasn’t hoisted the trophy since the Wisconsin Badgers did it in 2006. In 2005, the Frozen Four was a WCHA-only affair when Colorado College, Denver, Minnesota, and North Dakota all advanced. Having the final four in any NCAA tournament all being from the same conference has never happened before or since, but shouldn’t be shocking considering the WCHA has placed as many as six teams into this sixteen-team field on multiple occasions. But it certainly seems the rest of the hockey world has caught up to the west.

Mr. Burns Loses to Yale:

Yes, I get the irony of North Dakota losing to the eggheads from its representative Simpsons character’s alma mater. Frankly, other than the burst through the WCHA Tournament, North Dakota’s play this season has been as flat as the Red River Valley it calls home. While the Sioux made a living off Game Two comebacks, that strategy doesn’t play well in a one-and-done format.

Grimey Grabs the Wires:  

A #4 seed has only ever beaten a #1 once, and that upset victim also came from the WCHA. In other words, now Denver now knows how Minnesota feels. I want to picture Denver head coach George Gwozdecky sitting in a dark room crying, a bottle of Jim Beam in one hand and Don Lucia on the phone.  

GWOZDECKY: “I…I just can’t believe it happened that way. Rochester seemed so nice.

“LUCIA: “That’s how it happens George. One minute they are charming and buying you drinks, and the next they are on top of you, and you can’t get away.”  

GWOZDECKY: “It…it all happened so fast…”

This leaves us with the Rochester Institute of Technology playing giant killer, just like Holy Cross did to the Gophers a few years ago. If you are of the correct age, you remember exactly where you were when man landed on the moon.  

Ahhh, memories...Eat me, Minnesota.

Being first to slay a giant gave Holy Cross a “man on the moon” moment, but just because somebody else planted the flag doesn’t lessen the accomplishment. In fact, RIT has taken “one giant step” a step further by advancing to the Frozen Four, where it will test its ability to kill Badgers. Besides, it gives me another chance to break out one of my favorite graphics of all time, which I will use every chance I get because as we all know, Minnesota sucks. 

Lisa Simpson Finally Loses Her Cherry:

One of the few bright spots for the WCHA came when perennial “one and done” St. Cloud State broke through the barrier by finally winning a tournament game. But one bright moment supernovas into another, as the Huskies’ run ended at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers, who advance to be the sole WCHA side still skating.    The rest of the bracket heading into the Frozen Four at Ford Field in Detroit is shown below.

East Region:  Albany, New York Frozen Four  Detroit, Michigan National Champion
#1 Denver #1 Denver#4 RIT #1 Denver #4 RIT   #1 Denver          #2 North Dakota
#4 Rochester Institute of Technology
#2 Cornell #2 Cornell#3 New Hampshire
#3 New Hampshire
West Region: St. Paul, Minnesota  
#2 St. Cloud State #3 Northern Michigan#2 St. Cloud State #1 Wisconsin
#3 Northern Michigan
#1 Wisconsin #1 Wisconsin
#4 Vermont
Northeast Region:Worcester, Massachusetts  
#1 Boston College #1 Boston College  #2 North Dakota#1 Boston College        #2 North Dakota
#4 Alaska-Fairbanks
#2 North Dakota #2 North Dakota#3 Yale
#3 Yale
Midwest Region: Fort Wayne, Indiana  
#1 Miami (OH) #1 Miami (OH) #1 Miami (OH)
#4 Alabama-Huntsville
#2 Bemidji State #2 Bemidji State#3 Michigan
#3 Michigan

If you are a fan of the WCHA, don’t stare at it too long…it isn’t going to get any better.

Don’t Worry, There’s Always Another Bracket You Can Collapse

It's a good thing the Gophers went out in the first round; Minnesota has already had its share of collapses.

If you are like the rest of America today, you woke up noticing those giant, smoldering piles of rubble everywhere. Once you realized those were merely the remains of everybody’s NCAA Basketball bracket, you pretty much went on with your day. If you bothered to do the crash-scene investigation, you might have noticed what killed everybody.

Kansas losing shouldn’t shock anybody. The fact that so many ignored the “Rock-Chalk-out in the 2nd round” recent history of the Jayhawks should (myself included…expletive deleted.) It was as if somehow the memory of Bucknell and Bradley suddenly faded from our collective sports psyches. But even as big as it is, Kansas is only one team. All year long, college basketball fans have been treated to a never-ending cacophony about the Big East being the best conference; that fact being reflected in the Big East getting 7 teams into the tournament. Only one (Syracuse) remains; as many as the unusually terrible Pac-10. Meanwhile, the allegedly weak Big Eleven Ten sees its three regular-season co-champs all advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Toss in the fact your bracket isn’t likely one of the three out there with Northern Iowa, Cornell, and St. Mary’s still alive and it should become clear that it is time to focus on a bracket that hasn’t crumbled yet.

To talk about the NCAA Hockey Tournament seeding means talking about this past weekend’s Western Collegiate Hockey Tournament (WCHA) Broadmoor Trophy action. North Dakota took the trophy once again, and the top four seeds in the WCHA were all selected into the sixteen-team field, with both Denver and Wisconsin getting top spots in the national tournament.

Top spots not withstanding, it is now official. The Dave Hakstol tradition at North Dakota is to have a terrible start, then play like the best team in the country in the second half of the season, then steamroll through the conference tournament, collect the hardware and get a #2 seed in the national tournament.

Undoubtedly the favorite album of Hakstol and the selection committee.

It also is apparently a key part of this tradition is the Sioux heading east for a potential match-up with Boston College.

East Region:Albany, New York Frozen FourDetroit, Michigan National Champion
#1 Denver #1 Denver #1 Denver #1 Denver   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2 North Dakota

#4 Rochester Institute of Technology
#2 Cornell #2 Cornell
#3 New Hampshire
West Region:St. Paul, Minnesota  
#2 St. Cloud State #3 Northern Michigan #1 Wisconsin
#3 Northern Michigan
#1 Wisconsin #1 Wisconsin
#4 Vermont
Northeast Region:Worcester, Massachusetts  
#1 Boston College #1 Boston College   

 

#2 North Dakota

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2 North Dakota

#4 Alaska-Fairbanks
#2 North Dakota #2 North Dakota
#3 Yale
Midwest Region:Fort Wayne, Indiana  
#1 Miami (OH) #1 Miami (OH) #1 Miami (OH)
#4 Alabama-Huntsville
#2 Bemidji State #2 Bemidji State
#3 Michigan

But, the three big questions are: Is this the year the Sioux can finally get past the BC Eagles? How long will it take this bracket to be so much wreckage? More importantly, will you have the guts to try a bracket of your own?

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament – The Final Five

The first round of the mayhem known as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) is a best-of-three series, but some teams didn’t get the memo, deciding instead to require a bit of extra hockey on Friday night. Both of the extended games went as expected, with St. Cloud State continuing its overtime woes, and Colorado College finding yet another way to not get it done on the road. The rest of the opening night slate went per expectations, with the higher-seed prevailing on home ice.

Oh, and follow this link if you still need an explanation for the Simpsons characters…

Friday Night’s Results:

  • #10 Comic Book Guy (Michigan Tech)  1, #1 Frank Grimes (Denver)  2
  • #9 Nelson Muntz (Alaska-Anchorage)  1, #2 Homer Simpson (Wisconsin)  4 
  • #8 Carl Carlson (Minnesota State)  5, #3 Lisa Simpson (St. Cloud State ) 4  –  OT
  • #7 Barney Gumble (Minnesota)  0, #4 Mr. Burns (North Dakota)  6 
  • #6 Ned Flanders (Colorado College)  2, #5 Lenny Leonard (Minnesota-Duluth)   3   –  OT

Saturday Night’s Results:

The recently departed Edward Woodward could have been the guest spokesman for Saturday’s slate, as the night proved to be an Equalizer in 3 out of 5 series, thus ensuring a slate of Sunday action. The top two seeds kept things going per expectations while St. Cloud State, Minnesota, and Colorado College kept their faint national tournament bid hopes securely connected to life-support for at least another day.

  • #10 Comic Book Guy (Michigan Tech)  2, #1 Frank Grimes (Denver)  4  – Michigan Tech eliminated
  • #9 Nelson Muntz (Alaska-Anchorage)  2, #2 Homer Simpson (Wisconsin)  7  – Alaska-Anchorage eliminated
  • #8 Carl Carlson (Minnesota State)  2, #3 Lisa Simpson (St. Cloud State)  3  – Series tied at 1
  • #7 Barney Gumble (Minnesota)  4, #4 Mr. Burns (North Dakota)  2  – Series tied at 1 
  • #6 Ned Flanders (Colorado College)  5, #5  Lenny Leonard (Minnesota-Duluth)  3  – Series tied at 1 

Sunday Night’s Results:

The rich get richer…even though Minnesota State took their series into overtime twice, all the top seeds advance to St. Paul.

  • #8 Carl Carlson (Minnesota State)  2,  #3 Lisa Simpson (St. Cloud State)  3 – Minnesota State eliminated
  • #7 Barney Gumble (Minnesota)  1, #4 Mr. Burns (North Dakota)  4  – Minnesota eliminated
  • #6 Ned Flanders (Colorado College)  0, #5 Lenny Leonard (Minnesota-Duluth)  4  – Colorado College eliminated

With the first weekend of carnage in the books, it is time to look to the matchups for the Final Five. This is like the bonus round on a game show, except with a lot more violence. Let’s be honest, name a game show that wouldn’t be improved with some ass-kicking…

#5 Lenny Leonard (Minnesota-Duluth) vs. #4 Mr. Burns (North Dakota)

The battle between the schools separated by a mere letter (UMD vs. UND) and one seed. In all honesty, the difference between these teams is bit greater than those little alpha-numeric bits. Expect North Dakota to continue its tradition under head coach Dave Hakstol to overcome a slow regular-season start by pulverizing all that dare stand before them in the conference tournament.

Advances to face #1 Frank Grimes (Denver): North Dakota Fighting Sioux

#3 Lisa Simpson (St. Cloud State) vs. #2 Homer Simpson (Wisconsin)

Is there anything more enjoyable than a good, old-fashioned father-daughter beat-down? This is the perfect scenario for a St. Cloud State side coming off two tough overtime wins to be exposed for the weak #3 seed they are. You can shake the magic 8-ball all you want; it’s still going to come up “Wisconsin Wins.”

Advances to Championship Game: Wisconsin Badgers

#4 vs. #5 Winner vs. #1 Frank Grimes (Denver)

If this game features the anticipated matchup of North Dakota and Denver, we should be treated to a bloodbath not seen since the Battle of the Somme. These two teams are not only the two best playoff performers in the conference, they also share a bitter rivalry that has erupted into fisticuffs on more than one occasion. As much as it pains me to say this, this just seems like Denver’s year; look for their high-octane offense to flat outscore the T-Rex style defense employed by the Sioux. North Dakota will have to settle for taking out its frustrations in the third-place game, with St. Cloud State likely being the victim of the Big Green Rampage.

Advances to Championship Game: Denver Pioneers

Projected Championship Game: #2 Homer Simpson (Wisconsin) vs. #1 Frank Grimes (Denver)

Like I said before, this just seems like Denver’s year. While in my opinion Wisconsin has played far above expectations all season, the over-achieving likely ends here, as I just don’t think Frank Grimes is going to grab the high-voltage lines this time.

Broadmoor Trophy Winner: Denver Pioneers

The 2010 Western Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament – The Definitive Preview

It’s time once again for the Battle for the Broadmoor Trophy, awarded annually to the winner of the Western College Hockey Association (WCHA) tournament. Because college hockey is a decidedly regional sport, the WCHA may be the best sports league you’ve never heard of.  To help foster an understanding of this league, consult this article comparing the league’s  members to a better-known college football team and a representative character from The Simpsons.

Now that you have an understanding of what these teams are all about, it’s time to move on to a preview of this weekend’s best-of-three matchups.

#10 Comic Book Guy (Michigan Tech) at #1 Frank Grimes (Denver)

Denver has lived up to the pre-season expectations, capturing the MacNaughton Cup (awarded to the team with the best regular-season record) and generally dominating the league. Michigan Tech also fulfilled expectations, securing what is becoming it’s traditional spot at the bottom of the table. MTU is the only #10 seed in the history of this tournament to knock off a #1 when they upset Colorado College in 1994, but the Huskies are as close to a sure bet as there is to go down whimpering this time.

Advances to Final Five: #1 Denver Pioneers

 

#9 Nelson Muntz (Alaska-Anchorage) at #2 Homer Simpson (Wisconsin)

In my opinion, Wisconsin has defined the term “overachiever” this year, but that doesn’t change the fact they have played solidly throughout this season. Coupled with the fact they destroyed UAA twice at home earlier this year, the odds are pretty long against Wisconsin dropping two games in Madison.

Advances to Final Five: #2 Wisconsin Badgers

 

#8 Carl Carlson (Minnesota State) at #3 Lisa Simpson (St. Cloud State)

Time for a comparison to this past NFL season. Much like the Philadelphia Eagles blew their final regular season game in Dallas costing themselves a bye and a home playoff game, these two teams faced each other in the regular-season finale last weekend, with St. Cloud State gagging on an opportunity to clench the #2 seed. Almost all the numbers point to St. Cloud State advancing (like Minnesota State can’t win the close ones, going 0-4-2 in overtime games). However, the one that doesn’t bodes badly for the St. Cloud State – Minnesota State owns them, to the tune of a 7-1-1 mark in their last nine games in St. Cloud. Even though the Mavericks are the lower seed, expect them to dominate the Huskies who will continue their annual tradition of being stocked with talent and going home early. Sort of like the Minnesota Vikings.

Advances to Final Five: #8 Minnesota State Mavericks 

 

#7 Barney Gumble (Minnesota) at #4 Mr. Burns (North Dakota)

 While Monty Burns and Barney don’t really much care about each other, the same cannot be said for the UND Sioux and the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Their rivalry is college hockey’s answer to Michigan-Ohio State or the Yankees-Red Sox. Forget the standings, fuck the statistics and just make sure your chin strap is buckled when these two teams take the ice.  The aptly named Fighting Sioux come into this series feeling disrespected due to their slow start, but they are also bringing their long tradition of “Hanson Brothers“-type play (as evidenced here, here, here, here, here, and most like “Slap Shot” here), meaning they will both outskate Minnesota and leave the ice littered with Gopher buck teeth.  

Advances to Final Five: #4 North Dakota Fighting Sioux 

 

#6 Ned Flanders (Colorado College) at #5 Lenny Leonard (Minnesota-Duluth)

Not too long ago, both these squads found themselves at the top of the league standings and were looking very much like teams headed for an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament. However, that was before both of these teams dissolved, with UMD going 4-8-0 in their last 12 games. while CC sputtered to a second-half mark of 6-10-0. Home ice will likely prove to be the difference, as Colorado College’s “okely-dokely” style of play tends to get their lack of depth exposed on the road. 

Advances to Final Five: #5 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs

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