Like their cohorts in Men’s Division II, the teams populating the state of Michigan have dominated the ACHA DIII landscape over the past few years.
Aside from College of the Canyons’ National Championship in 2011 it has been an all-Michigan affair in the National Championship game going back to 2009-10. In fact, COC is sandwiched by a pair of back-to-back champions as Saginaw Valley State took the title in 08-09 and 09-10 with Adrian winning the last two titles. Now the onus is on Adrian. Can they become the first three-time champion in DIII history?
The North Region is all but a given to produce a finalist at the very least. A Central team has at least played for the title since 08-09 with a North Region squad taking the championship in four of those five seasons. All four Northern representatives in 2012-13 had seen a title game by the time last year’s tournament wrapped and it isn’t a stretch to think that they will follow suit again this season.
When teams like Oakland, Michigan State and others are on the outside looking in, the depth and talent is obviously abundant. Not to discount the other regions across the nation, but the competition in the North is beyond impressive.
A few names to keep an eye on outside of the North include California (PA), Maritime College, Northern Arizona, Marquette, Alabama and Central Florida. Those are just a few of the teams that not only made waves in 2012-13, but have the talent to make a run at what is becoming a Northern dominated National Final.
Personally, I’m interested to see what Central Florida will do this season, particularly if they punch a ticket to Nationals. While they’re tucked away in the Sunshine State, they draw a boatload of attention on campus and in the community and their recruiting base is strong. Obviously their schedule won’t lead them up to the Great Lakes region often, having the talent available to run with the other perennial powers might just be there.
Even if UCF isn’t the team to knock a Northern foe from the National Title perch, the civil war that is brooding between the North and the nation’s other three regions is continuing to heat up.
2013-14 Regional picks: North Adrian Hope College Davenport Michigan-Flint Atlantic Cal (PA) SUNY-Maritime Neumann Robert Morris (PA) South Central Florida Miami FGCU Alabama Pacific Northern Arizona Marquette Iowa State Colorado State ACHA Ice Chips is a recurring blog geared towards various on and off-ice topics from around the nation and will work in unison with the ACHA’s social media platforms.