CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 15: Head coach Red Berenson of the Michigan Wolverines looks on from the bench while playing the Ohio State Buckeys during the Frozen Diamond Faceoff at Progressive Field on January 15, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
The 2012 CCHA tournament begins this weekend with three matchups. Five teams, including Michigan and Michigan State, don't begin play until the quarterfinals since they received a first-round bye.
For the CCHA, the college hockey season has shifted to postseason mode. The regular season was wrapped up this past weekend, and Ferris State is the 2011-12 conference champion. The Bulldogs edged Michigan and Western Michigan by four points for the title, which comes as a result of an amazing run in the second half of the season that didn't see them lose a game in regulation in 2012 until this past Saturday night.
The top five of the CCHA is as follows: Ferris State (54 points), Michigan (50 points), Western Michigan (50 points), Miami (48 points) and Michigan State (47 points). These five teams received a bye to the quarterfinals of the CCHA tournament. Miami already knows it will host Michigan State next weekend in the quarterfinals, but the other three teams have to wait for this weekend's action to find out their opponents.
There are three matchups in place for the first round of the CCHA tournament: No. 11 Bowling Green at No. 6 Northern Michigan, No. 10 Alaska at No. 7 Lake Superior and No. 9 Ohio State at No. 8 Notre Dame. Each best-of-three series has games scheduled for at least Friday and Saturday, and another game will be played on Sunday if necessary.
The lowest seed that advances will take on No. 1 Ferris State in the quarterfinals next weekend. Michigan will host the second-lowest seed that advances since it is the No. 2 seed by virtue of a tiebreaker. Finally, the highest seed that advances will head to Kalamazoo to take on No. 3 Western Michigan.
After the quarterfinals take place at Ferris State, Michigan, Western Michigan and Miami next weekend, the CCHA tournament will move to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit for the semifinals on March 16 and the third-place and championship games on March 17. The winner of the CCHA tournament will receive an automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA tournament.