NCAA Northeast Regional Preview

MANCHESTER, N.H. | VERIZON WIRELESS CENTER
FRIDAY-SATURDAY, MARCH 29-30

Friday: UMass Lowell vs. Wisconsin, 4:30 p.m. ET (TV: NESN, ESPN3)
Friday:
New Hampshire vs. Denver, 8 p.m. ET (TV: ESPNU)
Saturday: Regional Final, 6:30 p.m. ET (TV: ESPNU)

umlNO. 1 SEED UMASS LOWELL RIVER HAWKS
Location: Lowell, Mass.
Record: 26-10-2 overall (16-9-2 Hockey East, first)
Qualified: Hockey East tournament champions
NCAA Championships: None
NCAA Appearance: Fifth (most recent, 2012)
Head Coach: Norm Bazin
Key Players: Joe Pendenza, F, Jr. (38 GP, 13-23—36); Scott Wilson, F, So. (38 GP, 15-19—34); Chad Ruhwedel, D, Jr. (38 GP, 7-15—22); Connor Hellebuyck, G, Fr. (18-2-0, 1.39 GAA, .949 save pct.)
What You Need To Know: The River Hawks closed the season by going 22-3-1 after a 4-7-1 start. Even more impressive, since freshman goaltender Connor Hellebuyck took over as UMass Lowell’s starting goaltender Feb. 12, the team is 12-1-0; Hellebuyck has a 1.31 goals against average, a .952 save percentage, three shutouts, and four other starts in which he allowed just one goal.

Burning Question: UMass Lowell is among the nation’s stingiest teams—the River Hawks enter the weekend tied for sixth in the country in scoring defense at 2.08 goals per game—but they’re not a particularly high-scoring group. UML averages just under three goals per game and while Wisconsin ranks 33rd nationally in scoring offense, the Badgers have scored 36 goals in their last nine games. If the River Hawks get down early, do they have the firepower to come back?

Most Recent UMass Lowell Line Chart
Left Wing Center Right Wing Notes
10-Ryan McGrath
16-Riley Wetmore
29-Derek Arnold
Center Riley Wetmore (15-11—26) is the only senior on the River Hawks’ roster with more than four points this season.
23–Scott Wilson
20-Michael Fallon
9-Terrence Wallin
7-Shayne Thompson
8-Colin Wright
13-Adam Chapie
18-A.J. White
14-Joe Pendenza
12-Josh Holmstrom
Defense Defense Goalies
27-Zack Kamrass
3-Chad Ruhwedel
37-Connor Hellebuyck
Jake Suter’s dad, Gary, scored 73 points in two seasons at Wisconsin before embarking on a 17-year NHL career.
4-Joe Houk
26-Christian Folin
31-Doug Carr
22-Greg Amlong
28-Jake Suter
30-Brian Robbins

unhNO. 2 SEED NEW HAMPSHIRE WILDCATS
Location: Durham, N.H.
Record: 19-11-7 overall (13-8-6 Hockey East, tied for third)
Qualified: At-large bid
NCAA Championships: None
NCAA Appearance: 22nd (most recent, 2012)
Head Coach: Dick Umile
Key Players: Kevin Goumas, F, Jr. (37 GP, 10-32—42); Trevor van Riemsdyk, D, So. (37 GP, 7-24—31); Grayson Downing, F, So. (37 GP, 15-15—30): Casey DeSmith, G, So. (18-9-7, 2.24 GAA, .924 save pct.)

What You Need To Know: After starting the season with a surprising 11-1-2 record, the Wildcats went 8-11-5 from Dec. 6 onward and won back-to-back games just twice. In 13 games after a Feb. 1 win vs. Northeastern, UNH was 3-5-5.

Burning Question: Which New Hampshire team will we see in Manchester: the one that won 11 of its first 14 games or the one that stumbled down the stretch? Perhaps the saving graces for the Wildcats are playing in front of a friendly crowd at Verizon Wireless Arena—they were 11-4-3 in the Granite State this season—and Denver, their first-round opponent, has been just as schizophrenic as UNH.  

Most Recent New Hampshire Line Chart
Left Wing Center Right Wing Notes
10-Dalton Speelman
28-Grayson Downing
3-Austin Block
Goumas scored a team-high 42 points this season; in his first two campaigns with the Wildcats, he totaled 56 points.
13-Dan Correale
27-Kevin Goumas
9-Matt Willows
19-Casey Thrush
18-Jeff Silengo
16-John Henrion
14-Maxim Gaudreault
11-Scott Pavelski
17-Jay Camper
Defense Defense Goalies
5-Eric Knodel
6-Trevor van Riemsdyk
29-Casey DeSmith
van Riemsdyk nearly had more goals (seven) than penalty minutes (eight).
2-Connor Hardowa
22-Brett Pesce
32-Jamie Regan
15-Brett Kostolansky
12-Justin Agosta
35-Jeff Wyer

du_newNO. 3 SEED DENVER PIONEERS
Location: Denver, Colo.
Record: 20-13-5 overall (14-9-5 WCHA, tied for fourth)
Qualified: At-large bid
NCAA Championships: Seven (1958, 1960, 1961, 1968, 1969, 2004, 2005)
NCAA Appearance: 23rd (most recent, 2012)
Head Coach: George Gwozdecky
Key Players: Nick Shore, F, Jr. (38 GP, 14-19—33); Chris Knowlton, F, Sr. (38 GP, 13-16—29); Joey LaLeggia, D, So. (38 GP, 11-18—29); Juno Olkinuora, G, So. (13-5-5, 2.28 GAA, .929 save pct.)

What You Need To Know: The Pioneers make their sixth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, but have managed just win their last five trips. The victory win was a 3-2 double-overtime victory Western Michigan in a 2011 Midwest Regional semifinal match in Green Bay, Wis.

Burning Question: While New Hampshire’s season featured a fast start followed by a lackluster second half, Denver’s has been one of streaks—the Pioneers won nine of their first 10, then followed with an 0-5-3 skid, went on a 6-2-1 run, and closed with a 5-5-1 mark. Is DU at the tail end of a mediocre 11-game stretch and destined to turn things around or is it locked into a season-ending swoon?

Most Recent Denver Line Chart
Left Wing Center Right Wing Notes
27-Quentin Shore
23-Nick Shore
11-Chris Knowlton
Senior forward Shawn Ostrow and sophomore defenseman Josiah Didier missed two of the three WCHA first-round playoff games against Colorado College due to injuries.
16-Zac Larraza
19-Dan Doremus
12-Ty Loney
14-Larkin Jacobson
25-Matt Tabrum
17-Garrett Allen
39-Grant Arnold
9-Gabe Levin
Defense Defense Goalies
7-Paul Phillips
2-Scott Mayfield
31-Juho Olkinuora
Denver is 17-1-1 this season when leading after two periods and 1-10-0 when trailing after 40 minutes.
8-Nolan Zajac 10-David Makowski
1-Sam Brittain
21-Joey LaLeggia
4-Josiah Didier
33-Adam Murray

buckyNO. 4 SEED WISCONSIN BADGERS
Location: Madison, Wis.
Record: 22-12-7 overall (13-8-7 WCHA, tied for fourth)
Qualified: WCHA tournament champions
NCAA Championships: Six (1973, 1977, 1981, 1983, 1990, 2006)
NCAA Appearance: 24th (most recent, 2010)
Head Coach: Mike Eaves
Key Players: Michael Mersch, F, Jr. (41 GP, 23-13—36); Nic Kerdiles, F, Fr. (31 GP, 10-22—32); John Ramage, D, Sr. (41 GP, 8-11—19); Joel Rumpel, G, So. (16-8-4, 1.85 GAA, .933 save pct.)

What You Need To Know: Not only have the Badgers been on an incredible run after an abysmal 1-7-3 start, but they’ve been terrific away from Madison. In 14 road and neutral-site games since Thanksgiving, Wisconsin is 11-1-2 with the lone loss occurring Feb. 2 at North Dakota. 

Burning Question: In spite of the team’s 21-5-4 mark from Dec. 1 forward, the Badgers still had to win the WCHA playoff title to guarantee a spot in the national tournament. Does Wisconsin have enough in the tank to take down UMass Lowell—a team that plays a similar style to the Badgers— and beat either New Hampshire or Denver to advance to the Frozen Four, or is Bucky running on fumes?

Most Recent Wisconsin Line Chart
Left Wing Center Right Wing Notes
17-Nic Kerdiles
9-Marc Zengerle
7-Tyler Barnes
Kerdiles has 5-13—18 during his current 11-game point streak and 25 points in his last 19 outings.
16-Joe LaBate
21-Brendan Woods
25-Michael Mersch
20-Ryan Little
14-Jefferson Dahl
18-Sean Little
26-Brad Navin
12-Keegan Meuer
8-Matt Paape
Defense Defense Goalies
19-Jake McCabe
27-Frankie Simonelli
33-Joel Rumpel
With F Derek Lee injured, the only seniors in the Wisconsin lineup are Ryan Little and John Ramage.
28-Kevin Schulze
55-John Ramage
30-Landon Peterson
22-Eddie Wittchow
24-Joe Faust
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