The sixth-place Northern Michigan University hockey team will host last-place Bowling Green State University in the opening round of the CCHA playoffs on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:35 p.m. The two sides will play again on Sunday at a time yet to be determined if necessary in the best-of-three series.
Tickets will go on sale for the series starting Monday at 8 a.m. at the Berry Events Center, Superior Dome and all other NMU ticket locations. Cost is $15 for adults and $5 for any college or grade-school students. Season ticket holders have until Thursday to claim their tickets.
Michigan claimed the top seed in the CCHA tournament via a 5-0 win over NMU on Saturday night and a 2-0 loss by Notre Dame. The Irish finish second in the league after falling at home to Western Michigan. Miami had third place locked up coming into the weekend and will be the Wildcats destination should they get by BGSU.
The Broncos finished fourth in the league with their upset of the Irish and will host fifth-place Ferris State in the second round.
In other first-round series, No. 7 Alaska will host No. 10 Michigan State and No. 9 Ohio State travels to No. 8 Lake Superior State. The highest remaining seed travels to Oxford to play the Redhawks while Michigan will get the lowest-seeded team.
Anyone who thinks a trip for NMU to Miami is a given should be reminded about the Wildcats struggles against BGSU this season, specifically in Marquette.
NMU lost at the Berry Events Center to the Falcons on Nov. 12, 2-1, before rebounding for a 5-1 win on Nov. 13. Just over a week ago now, NMU lost a shootout at BGSU after blowing a 2-0 lead via a pair of penalties in the third period. NMU then squeaked out a 3-2 win on Saturday.
Had NMU taken care of business in November and swept the Falcons, then stayed out of the box a week ago at BGSU, the Wildcats would have a week off and be hosting Western Michigan in two weeks.
The road back to Joe Lewis Arena will be difficult for NMU. The Wildcats were swept in Oxford, 4-0 and 9-1, in October and the Redhawks appear to be playing their best hockey of the season now after routing LSSU, 8-1 and 4-1.
But first NMU must get by BGSU to even start thinking about a trip to the Motor City, something that is by no means easier than it sounds.