ADRIAN, Mich. – The men's hockey team will be welcoming a familiar foe to Arrington Ice Arena on Friday and Saturday in the NCHA Harris Cup playoffs. The Bulldogs (20-1-4) earned the second-seed with a conference record of 14-1-3 and will host seventh-seeded Milwaukee School of Engineering (7-17-1) in a quarterfinal two-game (plus mini-game) series after the Raiders went 6-12 in league play.
The Bulldogs captured five Harris Cup championships in six years when they were a member of the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association (MCHA). The league adopted two new members this season in St. Norbert and St. Scholastica and formed the new Northern Collegiate Hockey Association. The other quarterfinal matchups this weekend include No. 1 St. Norbert hosting No. 8 Lawrence, No.3 St. Scholastica hosting No. 6 Concordia (Wis.) and No. 4 Lake Forest hosting No. 5 Marian.
The format this season is different from what Adrian College fans are accustomed to after years spent in the MCHA. In the NCHA, the two-game quarterfinals is nothing new to fans of the MCHA with the exception of the top two seeds advancing to the semifinals with a bye for winning each division in the past. The top eight teams all advance to the quarterfinals with the top four seeds hosting this weekend's action. If teams split the possible four points in the first two games, a 20-minute mini-game will be played. If the mini-game is tied after 20 minutes, sudden-death overtime will determine the team that advances.
Adrian College is 4-0 during quarterfinal play during the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons before the rule change of division winners advancing directly to the semifinals in the start of the 2009-10 campaign. The other difference in the NCHA is that the semifinal round is played at the two highest remaining seeds instead of a one site final four. The Bulldogs would host a semifinal on Mar. 1 at 7 p.m. if they advance past MSOE to face either St. Scholastica or Concordia (Wis.). The top-seeded Green Knights of St. Norbert have home ice throughout the playoffs if they advance including the Mar. 8 final. The winner of the Harris Cup playoffs earns the NCHA's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
MSOE and Adrian have met 30 times, most games against any Adrian opponent, with the Bulldogs holding a 25-3-2 advantage in the series. The teams have met four times in the Harris Cup, but never in the quarterfinals. Adrian defeated the Raiders, 5-3, in the 2008 semifinal in Milwaukee. Adrian defeated MSOE, 7-1, in the 2009 final. MSOE won, 4-3, in overtime during the 2012 final in Adrian. The Bulldogs took down the Raiders, 4-1, in last year's final. Adrian holds a 12-2-2 edge at Arrington Ice Arena.
Friday's game will be played at 7 p.m. and Saturday's game will start at 4 p.m. (local eastern time). Tickets are available by calling 517-265-5161 ext. 5011 in advanced or at the ticket table inside Arrington Ice Arena one hour before face-off. Ticket prices are $10 for reserved seating and $5 for standing room.