February 17, 2016
Salt Lake City, UT
The University of Utah Skatin’ Utes learned their playoff fate on Wednesday, and the Utes will be heading to the ACHA National Championship tournament for the second year in a row.
The Utes unanimously finished second in the final ACHA West Rankings, which were released on Wednesday. With that ranking the Utes earned an automatic bid to the 2016 ACHA National Championships in West Chester, PA on March 18-22, 2016.
The automatic bid is their second in a row, after Utah received an automatic bid to last year’s tournament by hosting the weekend in Salt Lake City. Utah finished 2-1 in last year’s tournament and finished 6th in the nation in the final ACHA National Rankings.
The Utes will be in Pool D at this year’s tournament where they will play against Lindenwood-Belleville, who earned the top spot in the ACHA Central Rankings. The Utes will also take on the highest seed out of the ACHA Southeast Regionals along with the lowest seed to come out of the ACHA Northeast Regionals in their pool. Those teams will be determined next weekend.
Arizona State’s elite squad was the unanimous number one team in the west and claimed all 12 of the first place votes. They will be in Pool C along with Florida Gulf Coast, who finished second in the Southeast Region.
After Utah at number three is Utah State, who will be the top seed at the ACHA West Regionals , which will be next weekend in Logan, UT. Northern Arizona came in at number four, followed by Weber State at five.
Northern Colorado, Arizona State Maroon, Boise State, UNLV, and Montana Tech finished sixth through tenth respectively and will all be going to Regionals next week. New to this season, the Regionals field was expanded to 12 teams with the bottom four teams playing in first round games on Friday. San Jose State and San Diego State took the final two spots and will play against Montana Tech and UNLV respectively on Friday. The winners of those two games will take on either Utah State or Northern Arizona on Saturday.
Denver was the first team out of the playoffs at number 13, just missing out on the final spot by one point. Texas A&M was 14th, followed by Cal State Northridge, BYU, Long Beach State, and Wyoming who all finished their seasons with a spot in the final 18. LMU, Texas, and Washington also received votes in the poll.
The 48 teams that have advanced to the postseason will be whittled down to just 16 in two weeks, when ten teams from each region will battle it out at Regionals February 26-28.
Utah finished the season 26-3-3, which set a new record for the least amount of losses in a season for the Utes. The Utes also finished the year undefeated at home, posting a 12-0-2 record at the Utah Ice Sheet.
Stay tuned for more updates as we get closer to Nationals!