Thinking out loud:
They kept flashing the graphic on the screen that the Bemidji State Beavers were the lowest-seeded team to ever advance to the Frozen Four--that it was the equivalent of the 64th team in college basketball making it. While I think the latter part is a bit dramatic, clearly this is one of the biggest surprises in the history of the NCAA Hockey Tournament.
What no one was talking about, however, is that Bemidji State might not have just been playing to make history. They might have been playing to save their program. While the WCHA voted to lift the moratorium on expansion, there was still no guarantee that they would offer membership to BSU. And with Alabama-Huntsville the only other CHA team without a home for next season, the future of the BSU program is completely up in the air.
A monumental upset of Notre Dame, and a victory over Cornell later, I have to believe that the WCHA would be crazy not to invite this team in. I mean, after all, ignoring the WCHA vs WCHA games which someone had to win, Bemidji State just matched the number of tournament victories for the WCHA as a whole over the past two seasons. They matched the number of Frozen Four appearances as well. Hard to argue that they wouldn't be strengthening the conference.
At this point, I just don't see the WCHA signing a death warrant for a program that is in the Frozen Four (and could possibly win the National Championship) and is in the process of building a new arena. They're getting a ton of national exposure here, being added to the WCHA would, I'm sure, help recruiting. And they've already won two more tournament games than St. Cloud has.
Here's hoping that the plight of the Beavers becomes a bigger story over the next couple of weeks. I'd love to see these kids win the whole damn thing. We've been discussing one-and-done hockey and how it's tough to watch when one loss ends your season. Think about what these players have been going through in the CHA Tournament and now the NCAAs. One loss could have potentially ended their program. Their accomplishment of whooping Notre Dame and making the Frozen Four was impressive enough as it is without taking into consideration the possible long-term effects.
Just another unbelievable storyline in a tournament that has had tons of them. These upsets have completely revitalized my interest in the tourney after Michigan got bounced. Normally I'd go into a shell for a couple weeks and not have the heart to watch the rest of the tournament. Man am I happy I didn't do that this year. I may not have watched as many tournaments as a lot of the people reading this, but I have a hard time believing that there's ever been one more amazing than this. We've had four games either tied or won in the last 18 seconds of regulation. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
It's too bad the hockey tournament is completely overshadowed by March Madness, because this is truly the greatest event in all of sports, in my opinion. And we might just be witnessing the greatest tournament of them all.