Tuesday, March 22, 2011

East #3: Minnesota-Duluth

University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs

3 seed vs. Union, East Regional (Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard, Bridgeport, CT)
At-large bid from WCHA
Record: 22-10-6
Coach: Scott Sandelin

The Bulldogs got out to a hot start, losing only one of their first fourteen games. They proceeded to go on a 1-3-1 skid following that, foreshadowing an up and down final three months of the season. UMD never lost two games in a row, but only swept Clarkson, hapless Michigan Tech, and St. Cloud State in the remainder of the season. That playoff sweep of the Huskies put UMD in the WCHA Final Five, where they lost 3-2 to Bemidji State.

UMD is heavily dependent on its top line, featuring a pair of 20-goal scorers in senior Justin Fontaine (20-32--52) and junior Mike Connolly (26-23--49) and the team points leader, center Jack Connolly (16-39--55). (Note: Jack and Mike are not brothers, though Jack does have a college hockey-playing brother -- Chris, a junior at BU).

On defense, freshman Justin Faulk seems like one to watch. He's the top offensive defenseman (8-19--27) and the top defenseman in +/- (+17). Juniors Kenny Reiter and Aaron Crandall have split time in goal, with Reiter (.911 SV%, 2.36 GAA) getting about two thirds of the minutes.

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