Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Jackson critical of atmosphere; Half-filled arena upsets Notre Dame coach

Of all the numbers, stats, and figures generated by the two hockey games of the NCAA Division I Midwest regional hosted by Huntington Center on Saturday, one was most eagerly anticipated — and hotly debated.

The number? The attendance for the two contests.

At day’s end, the announced crowd attendance for the two games — which was considered the tournament’s first session — was 2,988. That number includes 2,359 all-session tickets as well as 629 tickets sold for the day. A sellout at Huntington Center is listed at 7,431 seats sold.

PHOTO GALLERY: Notre Dame versus St. Cloud State

PHOTO GALLERY: Miami versus Minnesota State

After Notre Dame’s loss to St. Cloud State, Irish coach Jeff Jackson criticized the atmosphere.

“The game was so slow — between the TV timeouts, the ice conditions, the empty building,” he said. “Something has to be done to make the NCAA tournament exciting. …

“You know, this is the NCAA tournament. Anybody watching college basketball? It’s not like this. Something needs to be done. You have two great teams playing their hearts out, you’d think there would be a better environment.”

Minnesota State coach Mike Hastings didn’t speak about the environment, but he had nothing but praise for tournament officials following his team’s loss to Miami in the second game.

“I’d like to thank the city of Toledo and Bowling Green State University for putting on such a fine event,” he said. “As the guys have talked about, from the time that we’ve stepped into town, it’s been nothing but a class act. … They’ve really made us feel at home and we thank you.”

MULLIN HURT: Miami’s Jimmy Mullin needed to be helped off the ice following a knee-to-knee collision with Minnesota State’s Evan Mosey at 12:32 of the first period.

Mosey received a five-minute major and game misconduct for the hit, although it did not appear to be intentional.

Mullin did not return to the contest. When Miami coach Enrico Blasi was asked if Mullin would be available for today’s 4 p.m. final against St. Cloud State, Blasi said, “No idea — nothing to report.”

WALLEYE WATCH: Five Toledo Walleye had their former schools playing on their home ice.

Goalie Jordan Pearce played at Notre Dame in 2007-08 while defenseman Wes O'Neill, also a Notre Dame alum, was on hand to watch the Irish lose 5-1 to St. Cloud State. Forward Travis Novak played at St. Cloud State, defenseman Ben Youds played at Minnesota State, and forward Nino Musitelli played at Miami.

LOCKS OF LOVE: Fans who come to Huntington Center today may notice several St. Cloud State players have long hair flowing under the helmets.

The players aren’t letting their hair grow to be rebellious: they are going to donate the hair to the group “Locks of Love.” Once the hair reaches 10 inches in length, Locks of Love uses it to create hairpieces and wigs for individuals going through cancer treatment.

“We’re not a good-looking team right now, but it’s an excellent cause and it kind of tells you the type of guys we have,” St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko said. “And I like it when the story gets out why we’re doing it, so people don’t just think we look that way.”

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