Bemidji State earns NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional berth
Sunday, March 19, 2006
CHA Tournament champion Beavers to tackle WCHA Tournament champion Wisconsin in first round

BEMIDJI, Minn. - The Bemidji State men’s ice hockey program has been seeded into the Midwest Regional of the 2006 NCAA Ice Hockey Championships, the NCAA Tournament selection committee announced this morning. The Midwest Regional will be held at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis. from March 25-26, 2006.

Bemidji State (20-13-3), the automatic qualifier from College Hockey America and the No. 16 seed in the 16-team field, will tackle the Wisconsin Badgers (26-10-3), an at-large qualifier from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and the No. 1 overall seed in the 2006 NCAA Tournament, in Saturday’s first Regional Semifinal contest. Opening face-off for that game is slated for 1:30 p.m. Central time.

Wisconsin tied for second in the 2005-06 WCHA regular-season race, finishing with a 17-8-3 league mark, six points behind league regular-season champion Minnesota. The Badgers swept Michigan Tech, 4-1 and 1-0, in the first round of the WCHA playoffs, lost to North Dakota, 4-3, in the WCHA Final Five semifinals then shut out Minnesota, 4-0, in the third place game.

Joining Bemidji State and Wisconsin in the West Regional are No. 2 seed Cornell (21-8-4 / 13-6-3 ECACHL) and No. 3 seed Colorado College (24-15-2 / 15-11-2 WCHA).

Cornell finished third in the ECAC regular-season race, finishing just a single point behind co-champions Colgate and Dartmouth, then dropped a 6-2 decision to Harvard in the championship game of the ECACHL Tournament.

Colorado College tied North Dakota for fourth place in the WCHA regular-season standings with a 15-11-2 conference mark and was defeated by St. Cloud State in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. The Huskies downed the Tigers, 2-1, in Game 1; Colorado College rallied to even the series with a 3-2 win in Game 2, then fell in the series rubber game, 3-1.

Cornell and Colorado College face off in the second Midwest Regional semifinal game on March 25, slated for a 4:30 p.m. Central time opening faceoff. The winner meets the BSU/Wisconsin winner in the Midwest Regional Final at 4:00 p.m. Central on March 26, and the regional champion advances to the 2006 Frozen Four in Milwaukee, Wis., April 6-8, 2006.

Bemidji State will be playing Wisconsin for the first time in the program’s history, and the contest will mark BSU’s seventh against a WCHA opponent this season. On the opposite side of the regional draw, the Beavers have posted a

BSU is making its second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth as a Division I program as the automatic qualifier out of College Hockey America. BSU tied for second in College Hockey America with a 12-7-1 league record, and earned the league’s NCAA berth by winning the CHA Tournament, held March 10-12 in Detroit, Mich. The Beavers rallied from a 3-1 third-period deficit to defeat Ala.-Huntsville, 4-3, in overtime in the CHA Tournament semifinals, and built a 3-0 lead en route to a 4-2 victory over CHA regular-season champion Niagara in the championship game.

The Beavers are the fifth representative from CHA in the league’s seven-year history to make an appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and are the first CHA program to make consecutive appearances in the Tournament. Niagara was an at-large selection as CHA’s inaugural regular-season and tournament champion in 2000; Wayne State (Mich.) advanced as CHA’s first-ever automatic qualifier by winning the CHA Tournament in 2003; Niagara earned an automatic bid as CHA Tournament champion in 2004; and Bemidji State earned the league’s automatic bid as Tournament champion in 2005. CHA programs have a 1-4 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament, with Niagara defeating New Hampshire in the first round in 2000.

The 2006 NCAA Tournament appearance is BSU’s second as a Division I program, but is its 15th NCAA Tournament appearance all-time. The Beavers made 13 NCAA Tournament appearances at the Division II and Division III levels in a 16-year period from 1983-98 which included six national championships. The Beavers won three consecutive titles and four in a span of five years from 1993-97.