2017 League Playoff Champion To Face Denver In The Midwest Regional
- Michigan Tech Carries WCHA Banner into NCAA Tournament: Following a double-overtime win in an epic league championship game, Broadmoor Trophy champion Michigan Tech will represent the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) in the 2017 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championship.
- The Huskies (23-14-7) are the tournament's 16th overall seed (fourth in the Midwest Regional) and will face top-seeded Denver (29-7-4) Saturday at 1 p.m. ET in the opening semifinal at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio (ESPNews/Watch ESPN).
- The winner of the MTU-DU game will advance to the Midwest Regional Final, to play the winner of the second semi, which pits regional No. 2 seed Union vs. third-seeded Penn State. The Final is set for Sunday at 6 p.m. ET (on ESPNU/WatchESPN).
- Huskies in the NCAAs: After enduring a 34-year drought between trips, Michigan Tech is back in the NCAA tournament for the second time in the last three seasons under head coach Mel Pearson (also in 2015). This is Tech's 12th overall appearance in the NCAAs.
- The Huskies advanced to at least the national semifinals in 10 of their previous 11 appearances (1956, 1960, 1962, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1981), including winning national championships in 1962, 1965 and 1975. Michigan Tech is 13-10 (.565) all-time in NCAA tournament play.
- Broadmoor Trophy Champions: Michigan Tech earned the WCHA's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament following a 3-2, double-overtime victory over Bowling Green last Saturday in the 2017 WCHA Championship.
- Senior defenseman Shane Hanna scored 6:35 into the second OT, lifting the Huskies to the Broadmoor Trophy in front of a sold-out crowd of 4,466 at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena in Houghton, Mich. Angus Redmond made a career-high 36 saves, as Tech won the first single-game, on-campus WCHA playoff championship since 1965.
- Bitzer for Hobey: Bemidji State junior goaltender Michael Bitzer, the 2016-17 WCHA Player of the Year and the nation's leader in both goals-against average (1.71) and shutouts (six), has been named a top-10 finalist for the 2017 Hobey Baker Memorial Award.
- 20 x 4: For the second consecutive season, the WCHA has produced four, 20-win teams. Michigan Tech enters the NCAA tournament with 23 victories, while Bemidji State (22), Minnesota State (22) and Bowling Green (21) all reached the plateau.
- At 23-14-7 entering the NCAA tournament, Michigan Tech has reached the 20-win plateau for three-straight campaigns, marking the first time the Huskies have done so since a stretch from the 1980-81 through 1982-83 seasons (including the final two years of John MacInnes' Hall of Fame tenure in Houghton).
- Bemidji State, which concluded its MacNaughton Cup-winning campaign at 22-16-3, won 20 games for the first time since posting 20- and 23-win seasons, respectively, in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
- Minnesota State (22-13-4) has reached 20 wins in all five years under head coach Mike Hastings, marking the longest stretch in the Mavericks' D-I history and equaling the longest in program annals (legendary bench boss Don Brose also had a five-year run between 1978-79 and 1982-83).
- With a final 21-18-2 record, Bowling Green has won at least 20 games for three-straight seasons, a first for the Falcons' program since a nine-year run under Jerry York between 1981-82 and 1989-90.
- Tradition Starts Here: Three (3) of the nation's top-15 winningest teams since 2013-14 play in the WCHA -- matching the NCHC for the second-highest representation among that upper 25% of any conference since realignment (Hockey East has four teams, Atlantic Hockey and ECAC Hockey have two apiece, and the Big Ten has a single program).
- Minnesota State is tied for third nationally with 98 wins, Michigan Tech is tied for ninth (89) and Bowling Green is 13th (84).
By the Numbers (Michigan Tech Edition)
- 1.76: Goals-against average for freshman goaltender Angus Redmond, second-best nationally and tops among all netminders playing in the 2017 NCAA tournament.
- 19: Michigan Tech's rank in this week's USCHO.com poll, as the Huskies are back in the top-20 for the first time since Jan. 9.
- 23.26: Tech's NCAA-leading average for opponents' shots-per-game. The Huskies are fifth nationally by allowing 2.16 goals-per-contest.
- 44: Games played by Michigan Tech this season, most in the nation.
- 89: Wins by MTU's seniors, tied for ninth-most nationally over the last four years and the most by a Tech group since the class of 1984.
- 162: Career games by senior defenseman Shane Hanna, most in the country. He has not missed a game over his four years in Houghton.
- .833: Michigan Tech's winning percentage this postseason, as the Huskies went 5-1 in the WCHA Tournament en route to its first league playoff title since earning the 1981 co-championship (Tech's last solo crown prior to this year came in 1965). Tech outscored its WCHA tournament opponents by a 26-9 margin.
The Week in Review – 2017 WCHA Championship
The 2017 WCHA Championship proved to be an epic showdown between two of the league's top teams, with tournament No. 2 seed Michigan Tech outlasting fourth-seeded Bowling Green, 3-2 in double-overtime in front of a sold-out, standing room-only crowd of 4,466 at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena in Houghton, Mich.
Capping a night that will be forever remembered in Huskies' and WCHA lore, Michigan Tech senior defenseman Shane Hanna scored at the 6:35 mark of double overtime, a goal that gave MTU the Broadmoor Trophy and sent the Houghton community into euphoric frenzy. Freed on a breakaway by a beautiful outlet pass from fellow blue-liner Matt Roy (who received the puck after Michael Neville won a battle along the boards at neutral ice), Hanna calmly buried a wrist shot that ended the game and gave Michigan Tech an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Earlier in the evening, it looked like heroics would not be necessary for the host Huskies, who scored twice in the second period for a 2-0 lead. Joel L'Esperance opened the scoring 4:53 into the second period, finishing a nifty steal and pass from Alex Gilles. Michigan Tech doubled its lead at the 12:25 mark, with Jake Jackson scoring during 4-on-4 hockey (Neville and Hanna earned assists).
With its season on the line entering the third period, Bowling Green responded with two goals in a 24-second span. Joe McKeown got the Falcons on the board 6:34 into the frame, finishing off a passing play from Alec Rauhauser and Tyler Spezia. Less than thirty seconds later, at the 7:00 mark, Matt Pohlkamp capitalized on a turnover behind the Tech net and buried his shot while falling to the ice. Now tied, 2-2, the Falcons kept the pressure on, eventually outshooting the Huskies, 9-2 in the period. However, Michigan Tech freshman goaltender Angus Redmond stood tall over the final 13 minutes of regulation, setting the stage for a thrilling 26:35 of sudden-death, overtime hockey.
The first OT saw both goaltenders (Redmond and Bowling Green's Chris Nell) make spectacular saves, while both teams had near-winners draw iron (Tech's Alex Smith hit the crossbar with five minutes remaining; and, with 7.1 seconds left, BGSU hit the far post during a scramble in the crease).
Shots in the second overtime were even, 2-2, with the final one coming on Hanna's championship-winning goal.
Hanna's heroics earned him First Star and Most Outstanding Player honors, while Redmond (career-high 36 saves) was named the Second Star. For drawing Bowling Green even in the third period, Pohlkamp garnered Third Star accolades.
The WCHA's first single-game, on-campus playoff championship since 1965 was played before a full house, which included Michigan Tech students camping out overnight for their spot in the student section. Following the game, fans joined players and coaches on the ice to celebrate the Huskies' first WCHA playoff title since a co-championship in 1981.
Michigan Tech has now won outright WCHA playoff championships three times (1962, 1965 and 2017), along with co-titles in seven seasons (1960, 1969, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1981). A full recap, video highlights and photo gallery are available here.