Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hockey Previews 2013: Midwest

Huntington Center - Toledo, Ohio

St. Cloud State tied with Minnesota for the WCHA regular-season title, so seeing them as the 13th overall seed is kind of strange. But the Huskies were swept at New Hampshire and split with RPI, so that'll tank your Pairwise ranking. St. Cloud was reasonably consistent in the regular season before falling to a Wisconsin team on a mission in the WCHA tournament semifinals. Drew LeBlanc (13-37--50) and Nic Dowd (14-25--39) are both scoring at better than 1 ppg, while Jonny Brodzinski (21-11--32) is the goals leader. Ryan Faragher (2.29 GAA/0.914 SV%) is your netminder here.

Minnesota State is the contrasting case to St. Cloud: They went 1-0-1 versus RPI, beat Brown and UConn at the UConn Hockey Classic, and swept Providence to get a big Pairwise bump. Otherwise, they're in the logjam for 4th in the WCHA, tied with DU and Wisconsin. The dangermen for the Mavericks are Matt Letner (17-30--47) and Eriah Hayes (20-16--36), with Stephon Williams (1.96 GAA/0.925 SV%) handling most of the goaltending duties.

Miami won the CCHA's final regular season championship, but fell hard to Michigan in the tournament semifinal, 6-2. This edition of the RedHawks isn't quite as high-powered as years past, but Riley Barber (15-23--38) and Austin Czarnik (14-24--38) provide plenty of spark. Ryan McKay (1.37 GAA/0.948 SV%) and Jay Williams (1.94 GAA/0.924 SV%) have split time down the middle. McKay got the starts in the conference tournament, but was yanked after giving up 4 to Michigan, the first time he gave up more than 2 all season.

Notre Dame finished just 3 points behind Miami in the CCHA, and won the final Mason Cup in a textbook suffocation of a Michigan team that had caught fire at the end of the year. The Irish played an aggressive nonconference schedule, splitting with North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth earlier in the year. Anders Lee is still around (how is he only a junior?!), and leads the team with a 20-18--38 line. Junior Steven Summerhays had a couple of bumps in the road in February, but has kept everyone else to 3 or fewer goals, carrying a 1.94 GAA/0.922 SV% line.

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