Sunday, March 3, 2013
Utica Earns NCAA Division III Tournament Berth
Utica, which finished second in the ECAC West this season, has advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time ever. The Pioneers were one of three schools that earned an at-large-bid when the selections were announced tonight, along with Norwich and Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Earning automatic bids to the national tournament were Adrian, Babson, Bowdoin, Massachusetts-Dartmouth, Oswego State, St. John's (Minn.), Wentworth, and two-time defending champion St. Norbert.
No. 9 Utica (20-5-1 overall) fell in the ECAC West semifinals in overtime to No. 14 Manhattanville, which ultimately lost to No. 12 Neumann, 3-0, in the league title game on Saturday night. The ECAC West champion, however, does not receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament. Eighth-ranked Hobart, which won the ECAC West regular-season title but fell to Neumann in the conference semifinals, was also denied an NCAA bid.
Utica will now host the winner of Bowdoin and Massachusetts-Dartmouth on Saturday at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The semifinals and championship game will be held on March 15-16 at Herb Brooks Ice Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y.