East Regional Capsules | Albany, N.Y.
Saturday, March 25
Noon ET: No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 4 New
3 p.m. ET: No. 2 Harvard vs. No. 3 Maine
Sunday, March 26
2 p.m. ET: Regional Final
1 SEED MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
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.
Recent Michigan State Line Chart
||How's this for balance: eight
forwards and nine players have at least 10 goals.
who can also play forward, has versatility and scoring
touch (34 pts.)
2 SEED HARVARD CRIMSON
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,
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.
Recent Harvard Line Chart
||Pelle was injured in the ECACHL
final and will be examined this week.
is captain of the team and a stalwart in his own end.
3 SEED MAINE BLACK BEARS
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
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.
Recent Maine Line Chart
this year, Mike Hamilton made a big impression in the
Lundin returned Friday after almost losing a finger
in an on-ice incident in Feb.
4 SEED NEW HAMPSHIRE WILDCATS
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
Recent New Hampshire Line Chart
Micflikier to the second line gives the 'Cats balance,
but may have broken up the nation's best line.
has three more starts in goal, but Pietrasiak has four