NCAA Northeast Regional Preview

WORCESTER, MASS. | DCU CENTER
SATURDAY-SUNDAY, MARCH 29-30

Saturday: Denver vs. Boston College, 4 p.m. ET (TV: ESPN2)
Saturday: Minnesota State vs. UMass Lowell, 7:30 p.m. ET (TV: ESPN3) Sunday: Regional Final, 5 p.m. ET (TV: ESPNU)

NO. 1 SEED BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES

Location: Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Record: 26-7-4 overall (16-2-2 Hockey East, first)
Qualified: At-large bid
NCAA Championships: Five (1949, 2001, 2008, 2010, 2012)
NCAA Appearance: 33rd (most recent, 2013)
Head Coach: Jerry York
Key Players: Johnny Gaudreau, F, Jr., 37 GP, 32-37–69; Kevin Hayes, F, Sr., 37 GP 24-32–56; Mike Matheson, D, So., 35 GP, 3-14–17; Thatcher Demko, G, Fr., 21 GP, 14-4-3, 2.13 GAA, .921 save pct.

What You Need To Know: The Eagles are 2-3-0 against Notre Dame this season and 24-4-4 against everyone else.

Burning Question: Coach Jerry York has guided Boston College to three national championships in the last six seasons by getting his team to peak at precisely the right time. Notre Dame proved the Eagles to be slightly mortal by beating them three times in four tries in March. Was it just a case of BC running into a red-hot opponent that matched up really well with them, or did the Eagles prematurely reach their apex?

Most Recent Boston College Line Chart
 Left Wing Center  Right Wing Notes
13-Johnny Gaudreau 24-Bill Arnold 12-Kevin Hayes Gaudreau, the leading candidate for the 2014 Hobey Baker Award, scored at least one point in all but two of the Eagles’ games this season and had a 31-game point streak snapped in BC’s 4-2 loss to Notre Dame two weeks ago.
27-Quinn Smith 18-Michael Sit 10-Dan Linell
19-Ryan Fitzgerald 23-Pat Brown 26-Austin Cangelosi
11-Chris Calnan 14-Adam Gilmour 9-Brendan Silk
 Defense Defense Goalies Team Statistics (NCAA Rank)
7-Isaac MacLeod 6-Steve Santini 30-Thatcher Demko Scoring offense: 4.05 GPG (1st)
Scoring defense: 2.27 GPG (T-8th)
Power play: 24.4% (5th)
Penalty kill: 90.5% (1st)
28-Scott Savage 5-Mike Matheson 1-Brian Billett
3-Ian McCoshen 4-Ted Doherty 30-Brad Barone

NO. 2 SEED UMASS LOWELL RIVER HAWKS

Location: Lowell, Mass.
Record: 25-10-4 overall (11-6-3 Hockey East, second)
Qualified: Hockey East tournament champion
NCAA Championships: None
NCAA Appearance: Sixth (most recent, 2013)
Head Coach: Norm Bazin
Key Players: Joe Pendenza, F, Sr., 39 GP, 13-16–29; Adam Chapie, F, So., 36 GP, 12-11–23; Christian Folin, D, So., 39 GP, 6-13–19; Connor Hellebuyck, G, So., 27 GP, 17-8-2, 1.73 GAA, .936 save pct.

What You Need To Know: The River Hawks have scored a total of 17 goals in their 10 losses (1.7 goals per game) and 94 goals in their other 29 games (3.24 goals per game.)

Burning Question: UMass Lowell doesn’t score a ton, but with sophomore Connor Hellebuyck in goal, it’s not a necessity. That said, the River Hawks draw high-scoring Minnesota State in the opening round and could face Boston College, the nation’s best offense, in the regional final. Can the country’s top defensive team stay in shut-down mode, or will the River Hawks need to outscore an opponent in order to advance?

Most Recent UMass Lowell Line Chart
 Left Wing Center  Right Wing Notes
18-A.J. White 14-Joe Pendenza 12-Josh Holmstrom Sophomore F Adam Chapie, the team’s second-leading scorer, has missed UML’s last three games with an undisclosed injury. He also leads the River Hawks in power-play goals (5) and game-winning goals (5).
10-Ryan McGrath 24-Michael Colantone 29-Derek Arnold
7-Shayne Thompson 5-Joe Gambardella 9-Terrence Wallin
23-Scott Wilson 20-Michael Fallon 8-Evan Campbell
 Defense Defense Goalies Team Statistics (NCAA Rank)
4-Joe Houk 27-Zack Kamrass 36-C. Hellebuyck Scoring offense: 2.85 GPG (29th)
Scoring defense: 1.85 GPG (1st)
Power play: 21.1% (12th)
Penalty kill: 81.3% (39th)
26-Christian Folin 3-Mike Kapla 31-Doug Carr
25-Dylan Zink 28-Jake Suter 30-Brian Robbins

NO. 3 SEED MINNESOTA STATE MAVERICKS

Location: Mankato, Minn.
Record: 26-13-1 overall (20-7-1 WCHA, second)
Qualified: WCHA tournament champion
NCAA Championships: None
NCAA Appearance: Third (most recent, 2013)
Head Coach: Mike Hastings
Key Players: Matt Leitner, F, Jr., 38 GP, 12-32–44; Jean-Paul Lafontaine, F, Jr., 40 GP, 20-20–40; Zach Palmquist, D, Jr., 40 GP, 4-19–23; Cole Huggins, G, Fr., 33 GP, 21-7-1, 1.91 GAA, .924 save pct.

What You Need To Know: The Mavericks are the oldest team in this year’s tournament field with an average age of 22.61 years.

Burning Question: Minnesota State hasn’t lost since Jan. 31 when it dropped a 5-2 decision. In the 13 ensuing games the Mavericks went 12-0-1, outscoring its foes by a 50-16 margin. However, all but two of those wins came against teams with sub-.500 records. Will the Mavericks’ dominance over weaker competition during the latter third of the season hurt them in Worcester?

Most Recent Minnesota State Line Chart
 Left Wing Center  Right Wing Notes
21-Chase Grant 18-Matt Leitner 9-Bryce Gervais McInnis (21 goals) and Lafontaine (20 goals) are the first Mavs duo to score 20+ goals in a season since Shane Joseph (29) and Grant Stevenson (27) did it back in 2002-03.
25-Zach Stepan 23-Teddy Blueger 22-Johnny McInnis
12-J-P Lafontaine 26-Dylan Margonari 19-Zach Lehrke
24-Brett Knowles 20-M. Huntebrinker 8-Max Gaede
 Defense Defense Goalies Team Statistics (NCAA Rank)
27-Brett Stern 7-Zach Palmquist 34-Cole Huggins Scoring offense: 3.23 GPG (12th)
Scoring defense: 2.33 GPG (12th)
Power play: 25.3% (4th)
Penalty kill: 86.7% (4th)
28-Jon Jutzi 6-Casey Nelson 35-Stephon Williams
11-Sean Flanagan 3-Blake Thompson

NO. 4 SEED DENVER PIONEERS

Location: Denver, Colo.
Record: 20-15-6 overall (10-11-3 NCHC, sixth)
Qualified: NCHC tournament champions
NCAA Championships: Seven (1958, 1960, 1961, 1968, 1969, 2004, 2005)
NCAA Appearance: 24th (most recent, 2013)
Head Coach: Jim Montgomery
Key Players: Trevor Moore, F, Fr., 41 GP, 13-18–31; Ty Loney, F, Jr., 41 GP, 11-14–25; Joey LaLeggia, D, Jr., 36 GP, 12-11–23; Sam Brittain, G, Sr., 38 GP, 19-13-6, 2.11 GAA, .932 save pct.

What You Need To Know: The Pioneers enter the tournament with a season-high, four-game winning streak. Prior to that, Denver had won three games in a row on one occasion.

Burning Question: Denver’s success likely hinges on veteran goalie Sam Brittain, not just for his leadership but also his play; The Pioneers are the lowest-scoring team in the tournament field, averaging just 2.68 goals per game. Can Brittain keep foes at bay long enough for his offensively challenged teammates to find the back of the net?

Most Recent Denver Line Chart
 Left Wing Center  Right Wing Notes
8-Trevor Moore 19-Daniel Doremus 12-Ty Loney The Pioneers have more freshmen on their roster (11) than any other team in the NCAA Tournament field. Incidentally, Boston College, DU’s first-round opponent, has 10 rookies on its roster.
16-Zac Larazza 9-Gabe Levin 18-Emil Romig
14-Larkin Jacobson 25-Matt Tabrum 39-Grant Arnold
26-Evan Janssen 23-Matt Marcinew 27-Quentin Shore
 Defense Defense Goalies Team Statistics (NCAA Rank)
7-Will Butcher 10-David Makowski 1-Sam Brittain Scoring offense: 2.68 GPG (36th)
Scoring defense: 2.24 GPG (T-6th)
Power play: 20.4% (15th)
Penalty kill: 86.5% (5th)
21-Joey LaLeggia 11-Nolan Zajac 31-Adam Cowley
6-Matt VanVoorhis 4-Josiah Didier
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