-- Courtesy of Atlantic Hockey Association Media Relations
Original Release Available at: AtlanticHockeyOnline.com
HAVERHILL, Mass. – Following the Atlantic Hockey Directors' annual spring meeting, which took place in Boston on Monday and Tuesday, May 16 & 17, 2011, Commissioner Bob DeGregorio announced that the Atlantic Hockey 2012 post-season tournament will have a new format.
"The Directors have agreed to a twelve team format, with all teams seeded based on the results of the regular season standings," stated Commissioner DeGregorio. The top four teams will receive a bye in the First Round. The First Round match-ups will be the 5th seed hosting the 12th seed, the 6th seed hosting the 11th seed, the 7th seed hosting the 10th seed, and the 8th seed hosting the 9th seed. This series will be a best two-out-of-three and will take place on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, March 2, 3, & 4, 2012 (Sunday if needed).
The Quarterfinal round will also be a best two-out-of-three series, which will take place on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, March 9, 10, 11, 2012 (Sunday if needed). The top four seeds will host the four teams advancing from the First Round, with re-seeding taking place.
The Quarterfinal winners will advance to the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y., where the semifinals and Championship games will be held on Friday and Saturday, March 16 & 17, 2012. The four teams advancing will be re-seeded.
The winner of the Atlantic Hockey Championship will earn the leagues automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
"I think the new format is going to further enhance the competitiveness of the league and it will certainly place more importance on the regular season schedule and where teams finish in the standings," Commissioner DeGregorio stated.
The Atlantic Hockey Association arose on June 30, 2003, to found a new Division-I men's ice hockey conference. The league is comprised of twelve members: Air Force Academy, American International College, Army, Bentley College, Canisius College, University of Connecticut, College of the Holy Cross, Mercyhurst College, Niagara University, Robert Morris University, Rochester Institute of Technology and Sacred Heart University.
"The new Atlantic Hockey Association playoff format is very exciting and will place a great importance on where teams finish in the regular season," expressed SHU head coach C.J. Marottolo. "This will create some exciting finishes as teams will not only vie for the all important top four bye spots, but equally important seeds five through eight in securing home ice in the first round of the playoffs."
In the 2011 AHA Playoffs, Sacred Heart won its opening round contest at Bentley, 6-3, earning a spot in the quarterfinals at Air Force. The Pioneers were bested two games to none by the second seeded Falcons. By virtue of last year's playoff format, SHU was seeded 11th overall and faced the 10th seed, Bentley. The conference was split up into two geographical pods, East and West. The top two seeds in each pod, which included the overall six seed, received byes to the quarterfinals.