NCAA Northeast Regional Preview

Here’s a closer look at the four teams in the NCAA Northeast Regional at the Verizon Wireless Arena (Manchester, New Hampshire):

Game 1: (2) North Dakota vs. (3) New Hampshire (Saturday, March 28, 2:00 p.m. ET)

North Dakota Team Profile

National Rankings: #7/#7
PairWise Ranking: #8
KRACH Strength of Schedule: 17th of 58 teams
Head Coach: Dave Hakstol (5th season at UND, 130-70-19, .637)
This Season: 24-14-4 Overall, 17-7-4 WCHA (1st)
Team Offense: 3.36 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 2.67 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 17.5% (48 of 275)
Penalty Kill: 84.4% (184 of 218)
Last Season: 28-11-4 Overall (NCAA Frozen Four semifinalist), 18-7-3 WCHA (2nd)
Key Players: Senior F Ryan Duncan (19-19-38), Junior F Chris VandeVelde (16-17-33), Freshman F Jason Gregoire (11-16-27), Freshman F Brett Hextall (12-13-25), Senior D Brad Miller (6-29-35), Junior D Chay Genoway (3-29-32), Freshman G Brad Eidsness (24-11-4, 2.47 GAA, .908 SV%, 1 SO)
NCAA Championships: 7 (most recent, 2000)
NCAA Appearance: 24th (most recent, 2008)

New Hampshire Team Profile

National Rankings: #12/#12
PairWise Ranking: #10
KRACH Strength of Schedule: 10th of 58 teams
Head Coach: Dick Umile (19th season at UNH, 443-219-71, .653)
This Season: 19-12-5 Overall, 15-8-4 Hockey East (3rd)
Team Offense: 3.03 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 2.92 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 11.5% (22 of 191)
Penalty Kill: 83.1% (152 of 183)
Last Season: 25-10-3 Overall (NCAA West Regional Semifinalist), 19-5-3 Hockey East (1st)
Key Players: Sophomore F James van Riemsdyk (17-22-39), Sophomore F Mike Sislo (18-10-28), Junior F Peter LeBlanc (12-15-27), Junior F Bobby Butler (8-19-27), Senior D Kevin Kapstad (2-22-24), Junior G Brian Foster (18-10-4, 2.63 GAA, .910 SV%, 3 SO)
NCAA Championships: None
NCAA Appearance: 19th (most recent, 2008)

What to watch for: Can North Dakota get the early start (UND is 14-1-2 when leading after one period of play)? Will the Wildcats be able to exploit North Dakota’s suddenly soft penalty kill? Is it better to miss out on conference championship weekend (as New Hampshire did) or drop two games in the postseason tournament (a la North Dakota)? Is it possible for Dave Hakstol to lead UND to its fifth consecutive Frozen Four?

Who will win: No current New Hampshire player has won an NCAA playoff game, while North Dakota’s senior class has advanced to three consecutive Frozen Fours. This game will be tight, but on the smaller rink, the Sioux have the edge. UND 3-2.

Game 2: (1) Boston University vs. (4) Ohio State (Saturday, March 28, 6:30 p.m. ET)

Boston University Team Profile

National Rankings: #1/#1
PairWise Ranking: #1
KRACH Strength of Schedule: 12th of 58 teams
Head Coach: Jack Parker (36th season at BU, 811-413-101, .650)
This Season: 31-6-4 Overall, 18-5-4 Hockey East (1st)
Team Offense: 3.85 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 1.95 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 21.8% (52 of 238)
Penalty Kill: 87.3% (214 of 245)
Last Season: 19-17-4 Overall, 15-9-3 Hockey East (2nd)
Key Players: Sophomore F Colin Wilson (15-35-50), Sophomore F Nick Bonino (16-28-44), Senior F Chris Higgins (12-28-40), Senior F Brandon Yip (19-20-39), Senior D Matt Gilroy (8-24-32), Sophomore D Colby Cohen (7-21-28), Freshman G Kieran Millan (25-2-3, 1.84 GAA, .923 SV%, 3 SO)
NCAA Championships: 4 (most recent, 1995)
NCAA Appearance: 31st (most recent, 2007)

Ohio State Team Profile

National Rankings: #14/-
PairWise Ranking: #15
KRACH Strength of Schedule: 27th of 58 teams
Head Coach: John Markell (15th season at OSU, 265-248-50, .515)
This Season: 23-14-4 Overall, 13-11-4-3 CCHA (5th)
Team Offense: 3.41 goals scored/game
Team Defense: 2.71 goals allowed/game
Power Play: 13.9% (26 of 187)
Penalty Kill: 81.8% (175 of 214)
Last Season: 12-25-4 Overall, 7-18-3 CCHA (12th)
Key Players: Senior F Corey Elkins (18-22-40), Sophomore F John Albert (11-28-39), Sophomore F Peter Boyd (13-18-31), Sophomore F Hunter Bishop (13-16-29), Sophomore D Shane Sims (7-17-24), Sophomore G Dustin Carlson (21-11-3, 2.40 GAA, .920 SV%, 4 SO)
NCAA Championships: None
NCAA Appearance: 6th (most recent, 2005)

What to watch for: Will BU start a run to the national championship and claim its sixth title of the season (after winning the IceBreaker, Denver Cup, Beanpot, Hockey East regular season, and Hockey East playoff championship)? Can Ohio State shut down the Terriers’ vaunted power play (21.8%)? Is it possible for the Wildcat and Sioux faithful in attendance get behind the Buckeyes and will them to the upset?

Who will win: Boston University has too much across the board for Ohio State, but we could have said the same about Michigan vs. Air Force or Denver vs. Miami (OH). Anything can happen, but I don’t see the Terriers dropping their opening game. BU 4-1.

Thank you for reading. I welcome your comments and suggestions. Check back after the regional semifinal games for more previews, predictions, analysis, and reaction from the NCAA tournament.

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