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Notebook: Four meetings with defending national runner-up await Michigan

Adam Glanzman/Daily
Freshman forward Alex Guptill crowds a Cornell forward in Michigan’s first-round loss to the Big Red last month. Buy this photo

By Matt Slovin, Daily Sports Editor
Published April 9, 2012

To conquer the CCHA in its 33rd and final season in the league, the Michigan hockey team will need to go through defending conference champion Ferris State — four times. A CCHA source confirmed Monday that the Bulldogs will be a part of the Wolverines’ “pod,” or group of CCHA teams that play four times instead of the usual two.

Ferris State is coming off unprecedented runs to the CCHA regular-season crown and the national title game. Boston College finally put a stop to the best season in Ferris State history on Saturday night with a 4-1 win in the NCAA championship game.

Michigan managed a sweep of the Bulldogs in the two teams’ lone series during the 2011-12 season. The October meetings saw the Wolverines dominate Ferris State, posting a 9-2 victory in the aggregate.

The defending national runner-up won’t be the only difficult foe in the pod, however. Joining Ferris State will be Western Michigan, Notre Dame and perennial pod mate Michigan State.

All but the Fighting Irish finished in the league’s top-five teams this season, though that’s hardly to say Notre Dame wasn’t formidable. Michigan split the series in South Bend, before needing a double-overtime thriller to help sweep the Irish in the CCHA quarterfinals at Yost Ice Arena.

Western Michigan and Michigan State joined Michigan and Ferris State in this year’s NCAA Tournament field of 16. However, both the Broncos and Spartans were pitted against No. 1 seeds and suffered first-round exits, just like the Wolverines did despite their top seeding.

During the 2011-12 season, the Wolverines were a combined 9-3-1 against the three teams they will play four times in their CCHA swan song. Michigan will depart for the Big Ten Hockey Conference following next season.

The entirety of Michigan’s schedule has not yet been released.

BIG RED REMATCH: Just over two weeks after Cornell knocked Michigan out of the NCAA Tournament, the Cornell athletic department is just a few formalities short of announcing another meeting.

Instead of a sparsely populated Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisc., where the Big Red ended the Wolverines’ season in March, the game is slated to be played at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

Though Cornell has yet to sign a finalized agreement with the venue, sources tell the Daily that the game will likely be played on Nov. 24, the Saturday following Thanksgiving. The game will potentially conflict with the Michigan-Ohio State football game, scheduled for the same day in Columbus.

NOTE: Bowling Green officially released its 2012-13 schedule on Monday. According to Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune writer Kevin Gordon’s Twitter account, Michigan will play two midweek games against the Falcons. One of the midweek affairs will take place on Nov. 21, with the second meeting scheduled for Jan. 8, 2013. The two teams were originally slated to play a series on Thanksgiving weekend, but a change was needed to accommodate the Wolverines’ date with Cornell at Madison Square Garden.