Miami and Notre Dame — members of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association — are among the four teams coming to Toledo this weekend to play in the NCAA Midwest regional at the Huntington Center.
■ Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
No. 1 Notre Dame (25-12-3) vs. No. 4 St. Cloud State (23-15-1)
■ Saturday, 5 p.m.
No. 2 Miami (Ohio) (24-11-5) vs. No. 3 Minnesota State Mankato (24-13-3)
■ Sunday, 4 p.m.
Notre Dame is the top seed for the regional and will play fourth-seed St. Cloud State on at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Miami is seeded second and will take on third-seeded Minnesota State in the second semifinal at 5 p.m.
The two semifinal winners will meet in the regional championship game at 4 p.m. on Sunday, which will be televised on ESPNU.
FALCON FODDER BLOG: NCAA hockey tourney teams in Toledo
The tournament includes 16 teams. Champions from the five Division I leagues — the CCHA, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, Hockey East, the Eastern College Athletic Conference, and the Atlantic Hockey Association — receive automatic bids to the tournament. The remaining 11 at-large bids are selected through a series of mathematical criteria.
This year the other three regionals will be played in Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.; the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I.; and Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H. The Frozen Four will take place in Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center April 11 and 13.
Notre Dame (25-12-3) is making its sixth appearance in the NCAA tournament and fifth in the past seven years. The Fighting Irish enter the tournament on a hot streak, having won their last six games — with four of those wins against conference foe Bowling Green — and carrying a nine-game unbeaten string.
The Irish, who beat Michigan 3-1 on Sunday to claim the CCHA tournament title, are led offensively by juniors Anders Lee (19 goals-18 assists-37 points) and Bryan Rust (15-18-33). Junior Steven Summerhays has posted a 1.96 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage in goal.
Miami is in the NCAA tournament for the ninth time and eighth season in a row after winning the CCHA’s regular season title. The RedHawks (24-11-5) lost to Michigan in the semifinals of the CCHA tournament.
Sophomore Austin Czarnik (14-28-38) was named the league’s player of the year, while freshman Riley Barber (15-23-38) was voted the league’s freshman of the year. A pair of freshmen — Ryan McKay, who has a 1.37 goals-against average, and Jay Williams, who has a 1.94 goals-against average, split the netminding duties.
Minnesota State, which is located in Mankato, Minn., will be making its second NCAA tournament appearance after qualifying in 2003. The Mavericks (24-13-3) finished sixth in the WCHA and lost to eventual champ Wisconsin in the league tournament’s quarterfinals.
Freshman goalie Stephon Williams has a 1.96 goals-against average and .925 save percentage this season and was named the WCHA’s goaltending champion as well as its freshman of the year. Offensively the Mavericks are led by sophomore Matt Leitner (17-30-47) and senior Eriah Hayes (20-16-36).
St. Cloud State, which is located in St. Cloud, Minn., will make its ninth NCAA tournament appearance, with eight of those coming since 2000. The Huskies (23-15-1) won their first-ever WCHA regular-season crown but lost to Wisconsin in the tournament semifinals.
Senior forward Drew LeBlanc (13-37-50) was named the WCHA’s player of the year as well as its student-athlete of the year, while junior Nick Jensen (4-26-30) was the league’s defensive player of the year. Sophomore Ryan Faragher posted a 2.29 goals-against average and .914 save percentage in net.
Currently only all-session tickets (packages for all three games) are being sold at $75 for adults and $65 for students. Tickets can be purchased at the Huntington Center box office, the BGSU box office, or at www.ticketmaster.com.