Michigan is No. 2 overall seed in NCAA hockey tournament, plays Cornell Friday
A smile was the last thing Luke Glendening could muster on Saturday night.
Dejected following the Michigan hockey team's loss to Western Michigan in the CCHA championship game, the senior captain talked about how he would do everything he could to avoid experiencing that losing feeling in the final weeks of his Michigan career.
Just 12 hours later, Glendening's mood was lighter. As he picked on teammate Shawn Hunwick inside of Yost Ice Arena, one thing was clear. He's moved on from Saturday's loss.
His focus is now squarely on the NCAA tournament.
The field of 16 was announced Sunday and, for a record-extending 22nd consecutive year, the Wolverines are in. The No. 2 overall seed -- No. 1 in the Midwest Regional -- Michigan will play Cornell at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis. on Friday (9 p.m., ESPNU).
The winner will play in a regional championship game on Saturday (9 p.m., ESPNU) against the winner of Ferris State and Denver. (Complete bracket)
Michigan received an at-large bid after Western received the automatic bid for winning the CCHA Tournament. The CCHA will have five teams in the tournament, with Ferris, Michigan State and Miami also receiving at-large selections.
"There weren't any surprises this year," Michigan coach Red Berenson said of the selections. "Seems like a lot of years we get thrown some kind of a twist or a haymaker or surprise, but I think it pretty much went down as expected."
Berenson said he was a bit surprised to receive the No. 2 overall seed, crediting the success of Michigan's opponents. In addition to the CCHA teams in the tournament, Michigan also played No. 1 overall seed Boston College and Union College, beating the Hockey East champion Boston College in the Great Lakes Invitational and losing to the eventual ECAC champions Union 6-3 at Yost Ice Arena in November.
"It just came down that way because our league was so strong this year and our non-conference schedule turned out to be better than expected," Berenson said. "All those teams did well and all of them had strong RPIs, that's why we are where we are.
"We always said night after night how good the other team was. Well, they were."
Both Hunwick, a Hobey Baker finalist, and Glendening, a second-year captain, came to Ann Arbor as walk-ons and are now the unquestioned leaders of the team. As they prepare for their last run at a national championship, they reflected on their previous experiences.
"I really don't know how to put it into words," Glendening said, pausing to think. "It's an interesting feeling, but it's also kind of a sad feeling. But it also makes me want to just take this as far as I can go and play as long as I can with these guys."
Hunwick said he was scared during his first NCAA tournament, and last year nervous. Those same nerves are still there, but accompanied by excitement. That excitement was only heightened as highlights from last year's overtime loss to Minnesota-Duluth in the national championship final were played during Sunday's selection show.
"I really don't like to watch those highlights anymore...those sting," Hunwick said. "Any time you can get that far and you're that close, you're one shot away from winning a national championship, it's never going to be easy to see. I think that's why we gotta win this year."