1. The final spin

For College Hockey America in this format it is. Wayne State will fold its hockey program after this season, meaning the league will fall to just four members. Talk is that Canisius and Mercyhurst are potential replacements and the league would maintain its NCAA bid by having six members, but nothing has been officially announced.

2. One bid only

Before Niagara’s loss at Wayne State last weekend, the Purple Eagles were in contention for an at-large big according to PairWise rankings. The loss eliminated any hope, however, meaning the tournament is the only way any team from the CHA will get into the NCAA Tournament. Niagara slipped out of this week’s USCHO.com top 20, but is the top team receiving votes, essentially meaning it’s the 21st team. The only other CHA team getting votes is Bemidji State, which is 31st.

3. Beware of ’dog

Although the favorites to advance to the final are Bemidji State and Niagara, nothing’s set in stone. Last year, fifth-seeded Alabama-Hunstville ran the table and sent coach retiring coach Doug Ross out on top. The Chargers enter today’s play-in game with the same fifth seed, and have steadily improved as the season has progressed. Over the second half of the season, UAH has outscored its opponents by a 17-12 margin in the third period.

4. Bemidji’s mark

The CHA regular season title went to Bemidji State and with good reason — the Beavers had a winning record against every team in the conference. Bemidji went 2-1-1 against both Niagara and Robert Morris, 4-2-0 against Wayne State and finished with a 5-0-1 mark against Alabama-Huntsville. Also, the Beavers did it with defense — Bemidji led the conference with 39 goals allowed in 20 games.

5. High-flying RMU

While Bemidji’s forte was defense, the Robert Morris Colonials put the pedal to the medal — the Pittsburgh-area school had two of the nation’s top ten scorers in Ryan Cruthers and Chris Margott. Cruthers had 22 goals and 24 assists in 36 games while Margott added 15 goals and 26 assists in 33 games. Niagara’s Vince Rocco matched Margott’s point total (41) with 14 goals and 27 assists in 34 games.

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