CCHA Tournament 2012: Western Michigan Tops Michigan For Championship

Western Michigan held off Michigan's late rally to win the 2012 CCHA tournament title on Saturday night.

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CCHA Tournament 2012: Western Michigan Beats Michigan In Championship Game

For the first time since 1986, Western Michigan has won the CCHA tournament. The Broncos clinched the 2012 tournament title with a 3-2 victory over Michigan in the championship game on Saturday night.

Just like Friday night, Michigan found itself in a hole. The Wolverines fell behind 3-0 to Western Michigan and needed a big comeback in the third period. Unlike last night, the Wolverines didn't complete the comeback. They were able to get two goals back in the third, and they nearly scored the game-tying goal on an extended power play, but Western Michigan managed to hang on to win the game, 3-2.

For the Broncos, not only did they win the CCHA tournament, but they also clinched a trip to the NCAA tournament. They will receive the CCHA's automatic bid to the tournament, while Michigan will make the field of 16 teams as an at-large seed.

Based on the current PairWise Rankings, Michigan is actually slated to be a No. 1 seed in the tournament. Western Michigan projects as one of the No. 4 seeds along with Michigan State.

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CCHA Championship 2012: Michigan Beats Bowling Green In Double Overtime, Advances To Title Game

A week ago on Friday, Michigan beat Notre Dame in double overtime to take a 1-0 series lead. The Wolverine won again on Saturday to advance to the CCHA semifinals, where another win in double overtime was required on Friday night to move on. The Wolverines came back from a 2-0 deficit and beat Bowling Green in two overtimes to advance to the CCHA championship game.

For almost two full periods, it looked like Bowling Green's amazing run was going to continue. Despite being the No. 11 seed in the CCHA tournament, the Falcons found themselves up 2-0 and only 20 minutes and some change away from reaching the championship game. Then, with 10 seconds left in the second period, Michigan cut the lead in half on an odd goal by Jon Merrill that took a funny bounce into the net. Just like that, the Wolverines were only one goal away from tying things up with a full period left.

In the third period, Bowling Green's Andrew Hammond continued to play well in net and was keeping the Falcons on top. He couldn't do much when David Wohlberg scored the game-tying goal with less than three minutes to go in regulation, though. Derek DeBlois made a beautiful pass to Wohlberg, who was right in front of the net to bury the puck.

Neither team managed to score in the final minutes of regulation, nor in the first overtime. There were some close calls, though. Bowling Green hit the post once in overtime and Michigan drew iron twice. It wasn't until the second overtime began that Michigan closed out this game. A.J. Treais dangled his way past the Bowling Green defense and sent the puck into the crease. There was a mad scramble, and Luke Moffatt tipped the puck into the net for the game-winning goal. After 1:04 of the second overtime, Michigan won 3-2 to move on to the championship game.

In the championship game at 7:35 p.m. on Saturday night, Michigan will take on Western Michigan. The Broncos rolled over Miami (Ohio) by a score of 6-2 earlier on Friday to clinch a spot in the championship game. Bowling Green, meanwhile, will face Miami in the third-place game at 3:35 p.m.

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CCHA Championship 2012: Michigan Sweeps Notre Dame; MSU Swept By Miami

The semifinals are set for the 2012 CCHA championship. Michigan will face Bowling Green, the most surprising team in the nation right now, and Western Michigan will take on Miami (Ohio).

Michigan advanced to the semifinals by sweeping the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Yost Ice Arena. The Wolverines won 3-1 on Saturday night to finish off the sweep. That win came one day after Michigan beat Notre Dame 2-1 in double overtime to take a 1-0 series lead. On Saturday, the Wolverines didn't allow it to get that far and took care of business in regulation.

Bowling Green followed up its 3-2 overtime victory on Friday with a 7-4 loss on Saturday, forcing a third and deciding game in the series. On Sunday, the Falcons climbed out of a big hole at Ferris State to make it to the semifinals. The Falcons were down 3-0 after the first period in Sunday's game, but they battled back to tie it up and send it to overtime. In the extra session, Bowling Green's Dan De Salvo scored his third goal of the game and ended the series only 2:30 into overtime.

Because Bowling Green is the lowest seed in the tournament and Michigan is the highest remaining seed with Ferris State out, the Falcons and Wolverines will meet in the semifinals on Friday.

The other matchup in the semifinals is between Miami (Ohio) and Western Michigan. Both teams swept their respective series. Western Michigan beat Lake Superior 4-2 on Friday and 5-2 on Saturday to advance on in the tournament. Miami (Ohio) smoked Michigan State 6-0 on Friday and 4-1 on Saturday to move on to play the Broncos.

Currently, the start times for Friday's games are to be determined. One of the semifinals will take place at 4:35 p.m. and the other will be played at 8:05 p.m. If the CCHA were smart, it would put Michigan in the early game since the Wolverines' game against Ohio in the NCAA basketball tournament is at 7:20 p.m. on Friday. Doing so would avoid a conflict for fans and be the smart move. Knowing the CCHA, however, I would bet on Michigan/Bowling Green being played at 8:05 p.m.

Both of the semifinals will be shown on FOX Sports Detroit Plus. The championship game will be on FOX Sports Detroit at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The third-place game for the two teams that lose on Friday will be held at 3:35 p.m. on Saturday.

UPDATE: As expected, Michigan's game against Bowling Green will begin at 8:05 p.m. Miami and Western Michigan will play in the earlier game.

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