You hard-core puckheads might recall that when the revamped WCHA was first being put together, the powers that be came up with the idea that UAA and UAF should play every year in the first round of the playoffs as long as they qualified.
That was clearly a move designed to cut costs, and knuckle-headed. Saner minds prevailed after much complaining that the UAA-UAF scenario could end up penalizing those teams and any other teams that earned a better playoff seed in the regular season than they might get based on that silly UAA-UAF scenario.
The WCHA decided to do things properly -- playoff teams would play the first round according to the seeding they earned.
And after all that -- we have a UAA at UAF series in the first round.
That came about because UAF clinched the circuit's No. 3 seed with Friday's 7-2 win over UAA. UAA clinched the No. 6 seed with tonight's 3-1 win over UAF. Ergo, No. 3 entertains No. 6 in the best-of-3 first round that drops Thursday night in Fairbanks.
And the league still gets to save money. So much cheaper for UAA to fly to Fairbanks than it is to Mankato, Minn., which is where the Seawolves would have headed had they lost or tied tonight.
And don't think Northern Michigan isn't digging UAA's win. Had UAA lost or tied, the Wildcats, who swept this weekend in Huntsville, Ala., would have had to fly home to the Upper Peninsula, then made the trek to Fairbanks for the playoffs, with a Thursday opener. As it is, Northern Michigan travels to Mankato for a first-round series that opens Friday.
By DOYLE WOODY, adn.com