West Regional Preview

No. 1 – Wisconsin (WCHA)

Record: 25-10-4

How they got there: At-Large,
Finished 3rd in Final PairWise Rankings 

Key Players: F –
Michael Davies (18-32-50), Derek Stepan (10-38-48), Blake Geoffrion (25-18-43);
D – Brendan Smith (15-30-45), Ryan McDonagh (4-12-16); G – Scott Gudmandson
(17-4-4, 2.31 GAA, .915 SV %, 2 shutouts)

Why They’ll Win:
The Badgers can put up big numbers in a hurry. With the likes of Davies, Geoffrion and Stepan leading the
charge up front, and Hobey Baker finalist Smith producing on the point, UW has
the ability to score tons of goals. Wisconsin averages four goals per game, and they will pressure no matter
the situation.  If the Badgers
advance to the Frozen Four, they will likely do so with two big games this
weekend.

Why They’ll Lose:
If UW doesn’t come out with intensity, they will struggle. In the WCHA Final Five semifinals
against St. Cloud State, the Badgers didn’t turn it on until the third period,
and by then SCSU’s Mike Lee had already gained enough confidence to shut
Wisconsin out when they did flip the switch. The Badgers will be their worst enemy in this tournament,
because they have the talent to beat anyone. But if they don’t get the other team on the ropes early,
letting the opponent settle in and get some confidence, Wisconsin will fall
short of their goal.

No. 2 – St. Cloud
State (WCHA)

Record: 23-13-5

How They Got there:
At-Large, Finished 6th in Final PairWise Rankings

Key Players: F –
Ryan Lasch (19-27-46), Garrett Roe (19-27-46), Tony Mosey (12-26-38); D –
Garrett Raboin (8-15-23), Oliver Lauridsen (6-6-12); G – Dan Dunn (12-4-2, 2.63
GAA, .912 save percentage), Mike Lee (11-9-3, 2.74 GAA, .918 SV %, 2 shutouts)

Why They’ll Win: The
Huskies want to play on their toes. 
Head coach Bob Motzko has said many times this season that he feels like
his team is better when the games are high scoring.  SCSU has speedy forwards like Lasch and Roe that give the
Huskies the ability to outscore their opponents, and it might sound ridiculous,
but St. Cloud State needs to be in 5-4 games, not 2-1 battles. If the Huskies and their opponents go
blow for blow on the scoreboard, I like SCSU’s chances.

Why They’ll Lose:
Goaltending has been a head-scratcher all season for the Huskies. Lee made 37 saves against Wisconsin
last Friday, but was pulled in the second period Saturday against North Dakota. Dunn has had games where he makes
stupid saves, but then he’ll come out the next night and let a couple easy ones
by. St. Cloud State can’t afford
to have this issue now, and if the goalies step up the Huskies will be very
dangerous. If both Lee and Dunn
continue their inconsistent play, yet another promising year for SCSU will come
to an end.

No. 3 Northern
Michigan (CCHA)

Record: 20-12-8

How They Got Here: At-Large, Finished 10th in Final PairWise Rankings

Key Players: F –
Mark Olver (19-29-48), Greg Hansen (16-22-38), Ray Kaunisto (17-14-31); D –
Erik Gustaffson (3-28-31); G – Brian Stewart (18-10-7, 2.40 GAA, .927 SV%, 4
Shutouts)

Why they’ll Win: Northern Michigan will go as far as the
their top line and goaltender Brian Stewart take them. With all three players
on the top line scoring at least 30 points this season, it’s boasted Mark Olver
into the national spotlight as the junior has made the final ten list for Hobey
Baker Finalists with a team-high 48 points. Stewart has been phenomenal between
the pipes; using all of his 6-foot-4 frame to stop .927 of the 1049 shots he’s
faced this season. If Stewart is solid and his high powered top-line come through
St. Cloud State will have an eighth straight NCAA appearance without a win.

Why they’ll Lose: While Stewart is a senior and the
backbone of the defense; he’s proven shaky in one-and-done situations before.
As the past three years Northern Michigan has made the CCHA Final Four, only to
be bounced in the semifinal before finally reaching the Championship Game this
year. If the past comes back to haunt NMU it could be a very short trip to the
NCAAs. The lack of secondary scoring could also hurt the Wildcats, as after
their top four scorers, only two other players have hit double-digits in the
goal category. 

No. 4 Vermont (Hockey
East)

Record: 17-14-7

How They Got Here: At-Large,
t-11th in Final PairWise Rankings

Key Players: F –
Braden Irwin (15-19-34), Colin Vock (11-17-28); D – Kyle Medvec (5-10-15), Drew
McKenzie (4-10-14); G – Rob Madore (13-12-7, 2.65 GAA, .907 SV%, 4 Shutouts)

Why They’ll Win:
Vermont has pulled off some crazy games already this season, including big
upsets as late as a couple weeks ago. They have the skill level and the
tenacity to play against the big players and teams that might take them for
granted. They will need Rob Madore to continue to play his heart out this
weekend and post the same numbers.

Why They’ll Lose: Things almost
spiral downhill for the Catamounts if they have an initial break in their game.
If Wisconsin gets an early goal on them, there is a chance that it could be the
end for Vermont. Even back in the first game of the Hockey East quarterfinals,
UNH was able to score four goals on Vermont in the third period to earn a 7-3
victory. Vermont has to stay composed if they are going to beat a team like
Wisconsin.

- Compiled by Zack Friedli, Sean Shapiro and Biz Jacobs

- Video featuring Tim Rosenthal and Kevin Edelson

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West Regional Preview

#1 Denver Pioneers (23-11-5)

How they got there: At-large bid

Five Key Players:

Tyler Bozak So. F (18 gp, 7 g, 14 a, 21 p)
Pat Mullen Sr. F (4, 21, 35)
Kyle Ostrow So. F (14, 14, 28)
Marc Cheverie So. G (23-11-5, 2.30 GAA, .923 SV%, 4 SO)
Anthony Maiani So. F (11, 30, 41)

What to Watch For:

Star forward Tyler Bozak will return to Denver’s lineup this weekend after missing 21 games from tearing his left meniscus in early December. Before sustaining the injury, the 23-year-old sophomore led the team with 21 points in 18 games. But junior Tyler Ruegsegger who leads the WCHA with 12 power-play goals injured his knee during Denver’s 3-2 win over Alaska Anchorage on March 13 and is not expected to return this season. Also questionable for Denver this weekend is senior captain J.P. Testwuide, with a lower body injury.

Sophomore goaltender Marc Cheverie, regarded as the Pioneers’ biggest question mark going into the season has been solid. He recorded his third career shutout last weekend in a 3-0 win over the Wisconsin Badgers.

This will be Denver’s 20th NCAA Tournament appearance.

#2 Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs (21-12-8)

How they got there: WCHA Champions (Automatic Bid)

Five Key Players:

MacGregor Sharp Sr. F (25-22-47)
Justin Fontaine So. F (15-32-47)
Mike Connolly Fr. F (12-26-38)
Josh Meyers Sr. D (10-18-28)
Alex Stalock So. G (20-12-8, 2.10 GAA, .926 SV%)

What to watch for:

Minnesota-Duluth comes into this weekend’s regional fresh off their WCHA Final Five Championship. The Bulldogs have gone 5-0 this post season, with all of the wins coming against ranked opponents (Colorado College, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Denver).

UMD has had balanced scoring from their top two lines this winter- both lines have over 90 points. Senior MacGregor Sharp and sophomore Justin Fontaine anchor the two lines. Both Sharp and Fontaine have over 40 points. Sharp is perhaps the hottest player in the nation right now, scoring five goals in his last three games. At the blue line, UMD looks to senior captain Josh Meyers to lead by example. Meyers has ten goals this year, all on the power play. He is also one of only two upperclassmen that play regularly at the point for UMD.

UMD dresses three sophomores and a freshman along with the two seniors. The biggest factor in UMD’s success is junior goalie Alex Stalock, who has been lights-out in the playoffs. Stalock has stopped 155 of 158 shots he’s seen this post season, including 31 and 20 in back-to-back shutouts in the Final Five. If UMD hopes to advance to the Frozen Four, they will need to get solid goaltending and excellent specialty teams play.

#3 Princeton Tigers (22-11-1)

How they got in: At-large berth

Five Key Players:

Dan Bartlett Jr. F (16-11-27),
Brett Wilson Sr. F (10-15-25),
Lee Jubinville Sr. F (10-11—21)
Jody Pederson Jr. D (5-14-19)
Zane Kalemba Jr. G (22-9-1, 1.74 GAA, .935 SV%) 2009 Hobey Baker Finalist

What to watch for:

Princeton comes into the NCAA tournament after a loss and tie in last weekend’s ECAC tournament. The Tigers have been streaky since flipping the calendar in January- they’ve only won nine of their last 19 games, after winning 15 of their first 17. Princeton’s scoring comes from a balanced attack, as they have seven players with 15 or more points. Junior Dan Bartlett is the team’s leading scorer, followed closely by senior Brett Wilson.

The Tigers will get a boost at forward this weekend, as junior Cam MacIntyre is expected to return after missing most of the season. MacIntyre has 49 career points in 76 games. At the point, the Tigers feature three d-men with 15 or more points. Junior Jody Pederson leads all Princeton blue liners with five goals, four of which have been on the power play.

The Tigers’ backbone is junior goaltender Zane Kalemba, a Hobey Baker finalist. Kalemba has posted ridiculous numbers this winter, saving over 93 percent of the shots he’s faced. If they can avoid running around in their own zone, stay out of the box, and get great play out of Kalemba, Princeton could be moving on to D.C.

#4 Miami (Ohio) (20-12-5)

How they got there: At-large bid

Five Key Players:

Carter Camper So F. (20 g, 19 a, 39 p)
Chris Wideman Fr. D (0, 25, 25)
Conner Knapp Fr. G (13-5-3, 2.09 GAA, .904 SV%)
Pat Cannone So. F (11, 24, 35)
Andy Miele So. F (14, 14, 28)

What to Watch For:

The RedHawks head to the NCAA tournament for the fourth consecutive season. They are the only team in the nation that has defeated No. 2 Notre Dame (and #1 seed in the Midwest Regional) twice this season. Miami’s head coach Enrico Blasi will face former head coach; Denver’s George Gwozdecky this weekend, while Miami’s assistant coach, Brian Vines was a former defenseman for DU hockey.

Compiled by Arianna Ranahosseini and Zack Friedli

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West Regional Preview

When looking at the brackets for the NCAA tournament, the West regional in Colorado Springs seems like the most difficult of them all. This field is made up of three perennial powers, Colorado College, Michigan State and New Hampshire, and one up and coming team in Notre Dame. This is the only bracket where all four teams won 20-plus games this year.

The biggest controversy of the tournament is where the teams would be placed. When the final pairwise rankings came out, New Hampshire, the best team in the east, and Colorado College were paired with each other. Although some believe UNH would be in either Worcester, MA or Albany, NY, the Wildcats’ loss to Boston College in the semifinals of the Hockey East tournament brought Dick Umile’s squad to this point.

So who will prevail in this brutal regional? Here are some thoughts for the first round match-ups as well as the predicted team that will prevail in this region.

#1 New Hampshire vs. #4 Notre Dame

Kevin Regan’s play in the Hockey East tournament was brilliant. However, the loss to Boston College led UNH to the point where they were sent West. Bobby Butler has stepped up his game as he had two goals against BC in the semis. If it wasn’t for a couple of key penalties against the Wildcats in that game, Dick Umile’s squad would probably be in Worcester.

Matt Fornataro and Mike Radja are the two leading scorers, while Jerry Pollastrone had five goals in the Hockey East tournament. The wide open play that UNH thrives upon might be a key factor in this game.

On the other end, head coach Jeff Jackson’s squad lost two games in the CCHA tournament last weekend. However, a loss Saturday night helped the Irish get in. If Notre Dame had tied that game, they might have been the last team out, even with 24 wins.

Jordan Pearce had a solid season between the pipes. The Irish will rely on him if they want to pull off the upset. Leading scorer Erik Condra is out for the rest of the year, and that could be a factor in the Irish offense.

The Wildcats have a chip on their shoulder after being sent to Colorado Springs. Expect UNH to come out victorious.

Prediction: UNH 4 – ND 2

#2 Colorado College vs. #3 Michigan State

The host team, the Colorado College Tigers were in good position to get a number one seed. However, a couple of setbacks in the WCHA tournament this past weekend put them fifth in the pairwise, one spot behind the fourth spot (top four get the top seeds).

The winners of the MacNaughton Cup, the Tigers are led by Chad Rau on offense. Jack Hillen is a good two-way defenseman, and goaltender Richard Bachman had a great freshman year. Home ice could be a factor as the crowd will be full of Tiger fans.

The defending National Champion, Michigan State Spartans were off last week after being bumped by Northern Michigan in the CCHA quarterfinals. All-CCHA goaltender Jeff Lerg has shown that size doesn’t matter in net. The 5′ 6″ goaltender has proven people wrong in the past, including last year, when he helped carry the Spartans to the National Championship.

Four players for Michigan State had 30-plus points this year. Tim Kennedy, Bryan Lerg, Justin Abdelkader and Tim Crowder all had successful seasons and will be relied upon if the Spartans want to make another run at the promise land.

Overall, home ice is a crucial factor. Colorado College will win this game then go on to defeat UNH and travel to Denver for the Frozen Four.

Prediction: CC 4 – MSU 3 (OT)

Regional Final Prediction: CC 3 – UNH 2

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