Michigan jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the CCHA tournament final after one period, but the Wolverines miraculous run through the CCHA would go no farther. Notre Dame answered back with two goals to take a 2-1 lead, and despite a desperate final attack by the Wolverines, Michigan could not net the tying goal, and Notre Dame added an empty-net goal to seal a 3-1 win.
There were implications abound in this final game. Most notably, it sets the NCAA tournament field. Notre Dame's win gives Yale the final at-large tournament bid, giving the Bulldogs a new lease on life after a disappointing shutout loss in the the ECAC third place game yesterday. It also means Michigan will not participate in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1990, ending perhaps the most incredible streak in college hockey. The win also gives Notre Dame the last #1 seed in the tournament, and likely keeps them close to home in Toledo, rather than heading out east.
As a reminder, here is what our projected bracket from last night looks like with the Notre Dame winning:
East Regional: #1 Quinnipiac vs. #16 Canisius, #6 Boston College vs. #11 Minnesota State
Northeast Regional:#3 UMass-Lowell vs. #14 Wisconsin, #7 New Hampshire vs. #9 Denver
Midwest Regional:#4 Notre Dame vs. #13 St. Cloud, #5 Miami vs. #12 Union
West Regional: #2 Minnesota vs. #15 Yale, #8 North Dakota vs. #10 Niagara
The biggest storyline to watch this evening is what regional the Boston College/Minnesota State match-up, and North Dakota/Niagara match-up end up on.
Based on pure bracket integrity, and protecting the top overall seed as much as possible, UND/NU would be placed in the East Regional. But the NCAA may choose to keep Boston College close to home in Providence for both travel cost and attendance considerations, while also yielding a desirable possible second round match-up between Minnesota and North Dakota.