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Special report: Lowell is officially in the NCAA tournament

March 18, 2012

We remember watching the selection show in 2002. That year, Lowell went 22-13-3 and had made a pretty solid case for itself as one of the best teams in the nation.

Most of those 13 losses, you’ll remember, came because the team’s three best players — Yorick Treille, Laurent Meunier, and Baptiste Amar — had spent much of January and February competing for their native France in the Salt Lake City Olympics. That team was 1-6-2 with the Frenchmen in Utah, and 21-7-1 with everyone home. Unfortunately, the NCAA didn’t make much distinction between those two factors because its ranking system is based entirely on math.

Lowell slipped to something like 12th in the Pairwise, and was muscled out of the tournament picture by MAAC autobid winner Quinnipiac, because that was the final year in which the NCAA tournament was just 12 teams, and not the 16 we see today. How very convenient it is that the NCAA held off on implementing that rule until after Lowell was eliminated, right?

But today, almost exactly 10 years later, there was no denying the River Hawks their first NCAA tournament bid since 1996. This deserving Lowell squad found out for sure that it would indeed be dancing next weekend, in relatively-nearby Bridgeport, Conn., against Miami of Ohio.

Oh? What’s that? Miami of Ohio prefers to be called simply “Miami?” Great, when the campus moves to Florida, we’ll oblige.

The point is that this is an historic day for the Lowell hockey program, and not just because it washes away the unpleasant taste of garbage programs like Vermont and Amherst having made the NCAA tourney more recently than the mighty River Hawks. Today is a day for celebrating, even if ESPN did try to rain on our parade by literally saying nothing about the team except that it would be participating.

Congratulations to the Lowell athletic support staff, coaches, players, and fans. But this is the only day for celebrating. Tonight the real work begins. Getting healthy, getting ready. Getting in the proper preparation to tear Miami of Ohio limb from limb.

Is it Friday yet?

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. brad permalink
    March 18, 2012 11:02 am

    Sounds like you guys are mocking Miami a little bit. Well all I have to say is. Out of all the teams in the east bracket only one was in the tournament last year, only one has 7 consecutive appearances in the tournament, and only one has been to the Frozen Four two out of the last three years. When that team is you, then you can start talking. To bad for you guys, but there isn’t a losers bracket. So it looks like you will have to wait another 16 years to play another tournament game.

    • RHHB permalink*
      March 18, 2012 11:27 am

      “To bad” indeed.

  2. Monty permalink
    March 18, 2012 3:06 pm

    So very happy that Lowell’s 16 year streak is now over. It’s time to break the other streak … time to make the Frozen Four. Should have a great crowd representing Lowell.

  3. 4life4america permalink
    March 18, 2012 3:36 pm

    Lowell:

    You will beat Miami … “Miami is 1-6 in the tournament against Hockey East teams all-time with the lone win being Miami’s first ever NCAA Tournament win back in 2007 over New Hampshire. The `Hawks opened the tournament with New Hampshire last year as well, falling in the first round”. http://www.muredhawks.com/sports/m-hockey/spec-rel/031812aaa.html If Union can knock off CCHA champ Michigan 6-3 then you can stomp Miami. This first round will be ECAC & HE over CCHA. You will beat Miami and Union will beat Michigan State and that is that. “Kick butt and take names” We are pulling for you.

  4. Rich permalink
    March 18, 2012 6:11 pm

    Miami of Ohio can just be called Miami when Lowell is finally recognized as the Umass hockey program, not some terrible program in Amherst. And since that isn’t happening anytime soon, get over it Miami of Ohio. Let’s go Lowell!

    • March 18, 2012 6:48 pm

      This analogy makes sense in the alternate universe where Miami University (OH) is a satellite campus of the University of Miami (FL).

      That said, begrudgingly, go Lowell, being the one non-despicable Hockey East program out of the four in the field.

  5. Monty permalink
    March 19, 2012 5:24 am

    Curious to see how/if these guys are affected by nerves at all, in their first NCAA game? Being the 3 seed, there’s really no pressure on them. Hopefully Wetmore’s able to play his normal game.

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