University of Alabama in Huntsville Chargers
4 seed vs. Miami University, Midwest Regional (Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, IN)
CHA Tournament Champion
Coach: Danton Cole
Oh there are many people who likely lament that this year's edition of Alabama-Huntsville is the argument against why the NCAA tournament automatic bid should go to the regular season champion, and not the playoff champion. We are not among them and we're not ashamed to admit why. But just as CHN's Adam Wodon has pointed out that without the bids from the CHA and Atlantic Hockey, college hockey fans would still be looking at a 12 team tournament. So let's credit the Chargers for getting hot at the right time, and winning a tough overtime game against Niagara, at Niagara. What is the Chargers' reward for this effort? An opening round date with the tournament's overall top seed; the RedHawks of Miami University. This may seem daunting, but remember, it was just three years ago, the Chargers, also coming in with a losing record, gave overall top seed Notre Dame a major scare before falling to the Irish in double overtime.
The biggest storyline of the game for UAH will be the fact that they're the last surviving remnant of College Hockey America and that they're facing a team from the CCHA, the conference which rejected their request for membership last season. They'll be an independent and they'll do their best to scrape out a living as such as an independent. USCHO suggests that you should root for them only to root for chaos, and HSR always supports rooting for chaos. Plus, well, no, it's Hockey Christmas and you do not speak of scenarios which could be beneficial to your team. Everything stacks up that the Chargers will likely have a long night ahead of them, but if you have a hot goalie (like Cameron Talbot, the CHA Tournament MVP) and a little luck, the underdog can rise up and steal one, or more. Remember, just last year, two #4 seeds won a pair of games and ended up in the Frozen Four. One was a CHA team, the other was UAH's first round opponent. It's single elimination, anything can happen.