March 19, 2006
NCAA Tournament

East Regional Capsules | Albany, N.Y.

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Pepsi Arena
Saturday, March 25

Noon ET: No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 4 New Hampshire

3 p.m. ET: No. 2 Harvard vs. No. 3 Maine

Sunday, March 26

2 p.m. ET: Regional Final

NO. 1 SEED MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS

Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Record: 24-11-8 (13-6-3 CCHA, second)
Qualified: CCHA Tournament Champions
NCAA Championships:
Two (1966, 1986)
NCAA Appearance: 24th (most recent, 2004)
Head Coach: Rick Comley
Key Players: Drew Miller, F, Sr. (42 GP, 17-25—42); Bryan Lerg, F, So. (43 GP, 15-22—37); Jeff Lerg, G, Fr. (16-5-6, 1.95, .927); Corey Potter, D, Sr. (43 GP, 4-18—22)
What You Need to Know: Michigan State, one of the nation's bigger underachievers the past few years, is back among the elite. The last time they were a No. 1 seed a guy named Miller (Ryan, whose brother is current leading scorer Drew) led the team to the Frozen Four (at Pepsi Arena in 2001).
How They'll Advance: The Spartans are at their best when they play well defensively, get big saves from freshman goaltender Jeff Lerg, and find scoring from throughout their lineup. That's been the recipe during their 18-4-4 run since early December.
What Might Trip Them Up: They haven't won an NCAA Tournament game – or even scored a goal – since that Frozen Four trip in 2001. They'll have to overcome the most balanced region in the tournament, and be sure that someone among their many scorers steps up. In eight of their 11 losses they have been held to one or two goals.

Most Recent Michigan State Line Chart
Left Wing Center Right Wing Notes
27-D. Miller 12-D. Booth 25-J. McKenzie How's this for balance: eight forwards and nine players have at least 10 goals.
10-T. Kennedy 18-J. Abdelkader 40-T. Crowder
11-B. Lerg 19-C. Mueller 7-C. Fretter
20-C. Lawrence 22-N. Sucharski 14-Z. McClellan
Defense Defense Goalies
16-T. Howells 2-C. Potter 1-J. Lerg Howells, who can also play forward, has versatility and scoring touch (34 pts.)
4-E. Graham 24-J. Nightengale 35-D. Vicari
28-D. Vukovich 3-C. Snavely 30-S. Mnich

NO. 2 SEED HARVARD CRIMSON

Location: Cambridge, Mass.
Record: 20-11-2 (13-8-1 ECACHL, fourth)
Qualified: ECACHL Tournament Champions
NCAA Championships:
One (1989)
NCAA Appearance: 21st (most recent, 2005)
Head Coach: Ted Donato
Key Players: John Daigneau, G, Sr. (19-9-2, 2.39, .915); Dylan Reese, D, Jr. (32 GP, 4-15—19); Kevin Du, F, Jr. (34 GP, 10-23—33); Dan Murphy, F, Sr. (18-9—27)
What You Need to Know: The Crimson found their scoring touch in the playoffs and blitzed through the ECACHL Tournament. They scored 32 goals in five tournament games and have won seven of their last eight games overall, capturing the Ivy League and ECACHL playoff championships.
How They'll Advance: The scoring spike isn’t coming from just one line. Balanced offense is helping Harvard tremendously. You can’t take away just one line and that means a goal from the Crimson could come at any time.
What Might Trip Them Up: Harvard’s recent tournament history is not good. They’ve been bounced in the first round in each of the last four years. They’ll have to get off to a good start in their first-round game and keep doubt from creeping into their minds.

Most Recent Harvard Line Chart
Left Wing Center Right Wing Notes
8-D. Murphy 27-K. Du 7-R. Maki Pelle was injured in the ECACHL final and will be examined this week.
21-A. Meintel 17-T. Magura 16-S. Mandes
22-D. Watters 12-P. Dufault 11-J. Pelle
23-M. Taylor 19-C. Johnson 9-J. Fraser
Defense Defense Goalies
20-B. McCafferty 2-D. Reese 1-J. Daigneau Hafner is captain of the team and a stalwart in his own end.
5-J. Christian 3-P. Hafner 33-J. Tobe
15-T. Walsh 24-J.D. McCabe 30-M. Coskren

NO. 3 SEED MAINE BLACK BEARS

Location: Orono, Maine
Record: 26-11-2 (17-8-2 Hockey East, second)
Qualified: At-large bid
NCAA Championships: Two (1993, 1999)
NCAA Appearance: 16th (most recent, 2005)
Head Coach: Tim Whitehead
Key Players: Greg Moore, Sr., F (39 GP, 26-16—42); Josh Soares, Jr., F (39 GP, 14-23—37); Michel Léveillé, Sr., F (34 GP, 14-22—36); Ben Bishop, Fr., G (19-7-2, 2.20 GAA, .907)
What You Need to Know: Maine makes its eighth consecutive appearance, the second-best active streak behind only Michigan, after a 12-2-2 run to end the season. The Black Bears, who were 5-4-0 in Hockey East at New Year's, raced to a second-place finish behind a stingy defense, the best penalty killing in the country and the fifth-ranked power play.
How They'll Advance: Greg Moore, always a terrific all-around player, has developed into a terrific goal scorer. It certainly helps that he flanks Michel Léveillé, one of the nation's most patient passers. They provide the offense while a battalion of good skating forwards work with the D to limit opponents' chances. Ben Bishop, the 6-foot-7 goaltender, leaves shooters almost nothing to look at – and has us hoping for a second-round meeting with 5-foot-6 Jeff Lerg.
What Might Trip Them Up: The power play has been so effective that an opponent that limits penalties – or one that finds a way to defend it – could pose a problem. The Black Bear offense is better than it was last season, but still isn't what you'd call explosive, making them susceptible if an opponent jumps to a lead.

Most Recent Maine Line Chart
Left Wing Center Right Wing Notes
18-J. Soares 11-M. Leveille 15-G. Moore Quiet this year, Mike Hamilton made a big impression in the 2004 postseason.
14-B. Ryan 28-D. Damon 12-K. Johnson
22-M. Hamilton 13-K. Hopson 17-J. Hopson
29-B. Shepheard 23-J. Jankus 16-R. Bellamy
Defense Defense Goalies
2-Mike Lundin 5-T. Wright 30-B. Bishop Mike Lundin returned Friday after almost losing a finger in an on-ice incident in Feb.
4-S. Mullin 21-M. Duffy 31-Matt Lundin
44-B. Tyler 27-T. Ramsey 40. R. Shelley

NO. 4 SEED NEW HAMPSHIRE WILDCATS

Location: Durham, N.H.
Record: 20-12-7 (14-7-6 Hockey East, fourth)
Qualified: At-large bid
NCAA Championships: None
NCAA Appearance: 26th (most recent, 2005)
Head Coach: Dick Umile
Key Players: Jacob Micflikier, F, Jr. (36 GP, 16-26—42); Brett Hemingway, F, Jr. (37 GP, 19-22—41); Daniel Winnik, F, Jr. (38 GP, 15-26—41); Brian Yandle, D, Sr. (39 GP, 6-24—30)
What You Need to Know: New Hampshire returns to the dance for the fifth straight year on the strength of an outstanding finish to the regular season (7-1-3). That run was interrupted, however, by a humbling 9-2 loss to Boston University in the Hockey East semifinals that left the Wildcats on the brink of not making the tourney.
How They'll Advance: New Hampshire has some terrific top-end talent, and that's seen in its special teams – the power play ranks eighth in the nation and the penalty kill is ninth. With every power-play opportunity under a microscope in the postseason, that could give the Wildcats a significant edge.
What Might Trip Them Up: You could probably feel this "but" coming with the mention of terrific top end talent: the Wildcats lack depth, especially up front beyond the big three of Winnik, Hemingway and Micflikier. And while both goalies have shown their abilities, neither has seemed like the type who can carry a team on a long playoff run.

Most Recent New Hampshire Line Chart
Left Wing Center Right Wing Notes
12-M. Radja 27-D. Winnik 15-B. Hemingway Moving Micflikier to the second line gives the 'Cats balance, but may have broken up the nation's best line.
9-J. Micflikier 17-T. Fortney 14-J. Ciocco
8-G. Collins 28-A. Leach 21-B. Pouliot
11-J. Pollastrone 23-T. Smith 39-M. Fornataro
Defense Defense Goalies
2-J. Fritsch 33-B. Yandle 32-K. Regan Regan has three more starts in goal, but Pietrasiak has four more wins.
19-B. Flaishans 20-C. Murray 29-J. Pietrasiak
4-C. Switzer 7-J. Charlebois