March 22, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. –
For the first time, the road to the men’s Frozen Four runs through South Bend as Notre Dame will play host to the NCAA’s Midwest Regional, March 28-29, at the Compton Family Ice Arena. The tournament bracket was announced this afternoon with overall number one seed Minnesota State heading to Notre Dame where the Mavericks will face RIT at 4 p.m. EDT on Saturday. Omaha will play Harvard at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday with the two winners facing off at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday.
The Midwest Regional includes three of the six conference champions, two Hobey Baker Award finalists and each of the nation’s top three goal scorers.
The games in South Bend will be only the second time that the NCAA hockey tournament has been contested in the state of Indiana, joining the 2010 Midwest Regional, hosted by Notre Dame, at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne.
It will be a rare treat for South Bend area residents to witness the national showcase event first-hand as these games mark the first time that NCAA Tournament games have been played on campus since 2009 when Minnesota played host to the NCAA West Regional at Mariucci Arena.
General admission and standing room only tickets are available now either by calling 574-631-7356 or going to UND.com/BuyTickets.
Minnesota State stands at 29-7-3 on the year after claiming the WCHA championship on Saturday night. The Mavericks are in the tournament for the fourth time overall and third year in a row, claiming an 0-3 all-time record in NCAA play. Bryce Gervais leads Minnesota State and ranks second in the nation with 27 goals on the year while Matt Leitner tops the Mavericks with both 32 assists and 41 points. Stephon Williams claims a 25-5-3 record in the net for Minnesota State, including a 1.64 goals against average, ranking second nationally, and .926 save percentage.
Omaha enters the NCAA tournament at 18-12-6 on the year. An at-large pick from the NCHC, Omaha is making its third NCAA tournament appearance, the others coming in 2006 and 2011. Like the Mavericks of Minnesota State, the Omaha Mavericks are also looking for their first-ever NCAA win on Saturday in South Bend. Austin Ortega has paced Omaha with 19 goals this year while Jake Guentzel tops the Mavericks with both his 23 assists and 35 points. Ryan Massa has seen the majority of the playing time in goal for Omaha, recording a 2.04 GAA and .934 save percentage to accompany his 12-7-6 record. Massa’s .934 save percentage ranks fifth nationally.
The champion of the ECAC, Harvard brings a 21-12-3 record to South Bend this weekend. The Crimson is making its 22nd NCAA appearance, standing at 14-29-1 all-time, a record highlighted by the 1989 national championship. Hobey Baker finalist Jimmy Vesey leads the nation with 31 goals and is tied for second nationally with 57 points. Kyle Criscuolo leads Harvard with 30 assists on the year. Steve Michalek claims a 21-12-3 record between the pipes for the Crimson, posting a 2.29 GAA and .924 save percentage.
RIT won the Atlantic Hockey Association championship and brings a 19-14-5 record into the NCAA tournament. This will be just the second NCAA appearance for RIT but the first was a memorable one as the Tigers pulled off a pair of upsets to reach the 2010 Frozen Four. Matt Garbowsky is a Hobey Baker finalist as he leads RIT with 26 goals and 53 points on the year. The 26 goals stand tied for third in the nation. Josh Mitchell tops the Tigers with 35 assists, ranking fourth nationally. Jordan Ruby and Mike Rotolo have each seen significant time in the Tigers’ net with Ruby posting a 10-7-4 record and Rotolo a 9-6-1 mark.