College Hockey America Tournament Preview
The soon to be defunct four team College Hockey America tournament takes place March 13th and 14th in Bemidji, home of the league champion Bemidji State Beavers.
Truth be told, this isn’t a good conference – at all – but a Niagara-Bemidji State final is just intriguing enough to tune in. The conference features only one team, Niagara, more than one game over .500 overall, and only one team, Niagara again, who has outscored their opponents on the season.
The favorite – Bemidji State
The league champion Beavers are 8-3-0 at home this year, which obviously will play a huge part in this tournament since Bemidji hosts the CHA tournament. The Beavers’ best win this year was a 4-2 win over St. Cloud State. With a man advantage the Beavers have been lethal this year, with a 20.9% mark that puts them 5th in the country percentage wise. Sophomore Matt Dalton has been pretty good in net this year, with a 2.32 GAA
The sleeper – Robert Morris
The Colonials just handed Bemidji State a loss in Minnesota last weekend, and they have maybe the best non-conference win in the CHA as they beat Quinnipiac back when the Bobcats were a formidable foe. Robert Morris also played Princeton tough earlier this year. Robert Morris needs Senior Chris Margott (20-22–42) to step up bigtime and carry the Governors to a league title if they’re going to win it.
The Pick – Niagara
The second seeded Purps have outscored their opponents more in CHA play than any other team, even Bemidji State. Niagara has had some drop off from from last year when they were CHA champs, but their defense has stepped up this season. Goalie Juliano Pagliero has a 2.39 GAA and .923 save percentage. I think they get by the Beavers in a squeaker to earn the autobid.