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Northern Michigan still alive for NCAA tournament at-large berth

Wildcats’ fate rests in hands of ECAC, Western, RIT

March 17, 2012
By MATT WELLENS - Journal Sports Editor ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - The Northern Michigan University hockey team's chances of getting into the NCAA tournament took a hit on Friday via a victory by Western Michigan against Miami, however, victories by Harvard and RIT helped keep the Wildcats' slim hopes alive.

To receive an at-large bid when the field of 16 is announced at noon on Sunday on ESPNU, the 'Cats need No. 4 Colgate to upset No. 2 Cornell in the consolation game of the ECAC tournament. No. 1 Union must also take down No. 3 Harvard for the ECAC title.

The other scenario that could put NMU into the field of 16 involves No. 3 RIT winning the Atlantic Hockey title, Western defeating Michigan for the CCHA title and Union winning the ECAC title.

RIT topped No. 2 Niagara 2-1 in overtime in the AHA semifinals while Air Force beat No. 4 Mercyhurst 5-2.

Cornell lost 6-1 to Harvard on Friday in the ECAC semifinals amd Union beat Colgate 6-2.

Michigan rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Bowling Green State in double overtime, 3-2, ending the Falcons' Cinderella run that included victories over No. 6 NMU and No. 1 Ferris State.

Andrew Hammond made 55 saves for BGSU in a losing effort while Luke Moffatt scored the game winner 1:04 into the second OT.

The Broncos routed the RedHawks, 6-2, in the first CCHA semifinal on Friday at Joe Louis Arena via three power play goals on nine man-advantages, plus a shorthanded goal.

The RedHawks took 11 penalties for 25 minutes, including six in the third period, while only posting 21 shots on WMU netminder Frank Slubowski.

CCHA Goaltender of the Year Connor Knapp was chased from the Miami net in the second period after giving up four goals on 19 shots.

Northern bowed out of the CCHA playoffs in the first round after losing a best-of-three series to BGSU in Marquette, 2-1.

NMU has not played a game since its March 4 loss to BGSU in Game 3 and after taking the following week off for spring break, the Wildcats returned to the Berry Events Center ice for practice this week in hope of playing next weekend in an NCAA regional semifinal.

For a complete look at how NMU can reach the NCAA tournament and an updated NCAA hockey bracketology post, visit the Inside 1401 Sports blog on at



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