There Will Be More Hockey For Union
NCAA men’s hockey is a different animal then its basketball counterpart. With only six automatic bids to the field of just 16, an at large bid is hard to come by. Do the Dutchmen have what it takes to compete? Can they land their first bid school history? Where will they fall in the bracket?
The NCAA Hockey Tournament brackets are released at 11:30am on Sunday and Union will be paying close attention.
With their over time loss on Sunday to a surging Colgate team, the Dutchmen’s seeding in the NCAA tournament becomes a bit more confusing. With this week’s ECAC Final Four in Atlantic City – featuring 3 of the countries top 20 teams – as well as Colgate, the ECAC tournament is anyone’s guess. The Dutchmen are looking past that and to the next step.
The best possible outcome would be for all of the other conference tournaments this weekend to go chalk – in other words, cheer for the favorites if you’re a Union fan. I’m talking Yale in the ECAC tourney, anyone but Western Michigan in the CCHA, Boston College in Hockey East, and North Dakota in the WCHA. This would allow for the maximum amount of bids to be available. This would also allow for Union to get a better seed for their first trip to the NCAA’s. Much like basketball, the better the seed the weaker the first round opponent.
What would the Dutchmen’s seed be, you ask? I could see them getting a 2 or 3 seed in the tourney, no problem. They have a strong program and are able to beat number one teams like they did against Yale in January. This being their first trip to the Dance, Union will be made a dark horse, but it wouldn’t be the first time a mid-seeded team has made a lot of noise in the tournament. Last year, RIT made a big push and they had just turned D-I only 4 years prior.
Nate Leaman has done wonders with this club in his 7 seasons with the program. Those of us who lived in the are prior to his time in Schenectady remember how lackluster the program use to be. Coach Leaman has got the right group of guys on the ice. From senior Keith Kinkaid between the pipes, having a season that may end with a goalie of the year award. To freshmen Daniel Carr, who as been as electric and fun to watch on the ice as any player in the conference.
This team has the tools the coaching and the experience to go on and compete in the tournament, and barring the biggest snub in college hockey history – they will get the chance. I, for one, have Dutchmen fever, do you?