Michigan Hockey forced to pull out of the NCAA Tournament

Michael Caterina-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Caterina-USA TODAY Sports /

Michigan Hockey is forced to end its season prematurely due to COVID-19 protocol.

Just hours before puck drop, head coach Mel Pearson’s Michigan Hockey team was forced to withdraw from the NCAA tournament due to a positive test result within Michigan’s tier I testing group.

The No. 2 seeded Wolverines had been set to square off against the reigning National Champions Minnesota Duluth Friday but unfortunately conceded.

Minnesota Duluth will play the winner of American International and North Dakota in the semi-finals of the tournament.

Pearson explains his frustration but will respect the NCAA’s decision;

"“I’m devastated for these players. These student-athletes have done a wonderful job all year of making sacrifices to get to this point of the year,” said Graham Family Head Men’s Ice Hockey Coach Mel Pearson. “It’s unfortunate. I don’t completely understand the final decision but I have to respect it.“They’ve given so much and to get this opportunity taken away from them, it’s hard to swallow. I know it’s just a game, but it’s extremely important to these young men. It’s two years in a row now we’ve been denied an opportunity to compete in the national championship. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet.“I want to wish all the teams still playing good health, good luck and stay safe. Lastly, I want to make sure to thank the Michigan Hockey supporters. I’ve been blown away by the number of people who care deeply about and support this program. It truly means a lot to me and to our players. We’ll be back. Michigan Hockey will be back. Stronger and ready to go next year.”"

The Michigan Hockey team is not the first group to see their season cut short due to the pandemic.  The Notre Dame Fighting Irish also had to withdrawal from the tournament due to a positive test.

The Irish initially received a bid after St. Lawrence pulled out of contention following the positive test of their head coach.

Unfortunately, we never got to follow this Michigan team on their quest for a National Championship behind three potential top-ten 2021 NHL Draft prospects.

The group is headlined by the sensational defenseman Owen Power.  The 6-foot-5 towering defender is expected to be a lottery selection and possibly the first overall choice in the 2021 NHL Draft.  In 26 games with the Wolverines, Power notched 16 points, including three goals.

Next on the list is forward Matt Beniers, who has recorded a remarkable point per game pace for Michigan Hockey this past season recording ten goals totaling 24 points in as many games.

Kent Johnson is another forward coming out of Michigan that is expected to be a top ten pick after recording 27 points in 26 games.  Johnson is more of a facilitator, having recorded 18 assists in 2020-21 with the Wolverines.

Next. Wolverines advance to the Sweet 16. dark

Behind these three stars, the Wolverines had aspirations to win the Frozen Four.