Men’s D-III Quarterfinal Previews

Is parity in Division III finally here?


While there is still a big gap between the “haves” and “have nots” in D-III, this year’s playoff field suggests that there are many more teams with a shot at the playoffs. Only one team in the field, Middlebury, has won a national championship; the defending champs have six under their belt.

Five of the remaining eight teams — Geneseo, Curry, Trinity, New England College, and Manhattanville — have never won an NCAA playoff game, but at least two will this weekend.

One team, Manhattanville, is making its first NCAA appearance in just the sixth season for the program. Geneseo has been to the NCAAs before, but this is the first time since 1990.

Only four of this year’s nine teams — St. Norbert, Middlebury, St. Thomas, and Curry — are return participants.

Just three teams — St. Norbert, Curry, and Trinity — finished in first place during the regular season.

While there are some firsts in this year’s tournament, there are also some lasts. This is the last year that there will be nine teams in the tournament; next year, one at-large bid is added for a total of ten. It’s also the last season — at least until 2009 — that the final four will be played at a participating college’s campus, with predetermined sites taking the NCAAs to [nl]Elmira, N.Y., Superior, Wis., and Lake Placid.

What’s in store this Saturday? USCHO’s regional columnists preview each contest with conversations with each coach. Here’s a summary of each contest with links to the individual previews:

#3W St. Thomas at #1W St. Norbert

St. Thomas
Record: 18-5-5 (MIAC: 12-3-1, second place)
NCAA Bid: MIAC Autobid; defeated St. John’s, 2-1
NCAA First Round: defeated St. John’s, 4-1
Coach:Terry Skrypek
Previous NCAA Appearances: 11
Last NCAA Appearance: 2004; lost in first round

St. Norbert
Record: 24-2-3 (NCHA: 12-0-2, first place)
NCAA Bid: NCHA Autobid; defeated Wisconsin-Superior, 8-3
Coach:Tim Coghlin
Previous NCAA Appearances: 6
Last NCAA Appearance: 2004; finished second

Read the Preview by Ryan Mattingly

#6E New England College at #1E Manhattanville

New England College
Record: 17-11-0 (ECAC East: 11-8-0, fourth place)
NCAA Bid: ECAC East Autobid; defeated Babson, 6-4
Coach:Tom Carroll
Previous NCAA Appearances: 2
Last NCAA Appearance: 2001; lost two-game quarterfinal series

Record: 21-3-1 (ECAC West: 8-3-1 second place)
NCAA Bid: Pool B at-large; defeated Utica, 3-1 in ECAC West championship
Coach:Keith Levinthal
Previous NCAA Appearances: None
Last NCAA Appearance: First appearance

Read the Preview by Scott Biggar

#5E Curry at #2E Middlebury

Record: 19-5-3 (ECAC Northeast: 14-0-1, first place)
NCAA Bid: ECAC Northeast Autobid; defeated Mass.-Dartmouth, 6-1
Coach:Rob Davies
Previous NCAA Appearances: 1
Last NCAA Appearance: 2004; lost quarterfinal

Record: 20-4-3 (NESCAC: 13-4-2, second place)
NCAA Bid: NESCAC Autobid; defeated Bowdoin, 3-2
Coach:Bill Beaney
Previous NCAA Appearances: 10, 6 NCAA Championships
Last NCAA Appearance: 2004, NCAA Champion

Read the Preview by Tim Costello

#3E Trinity at #4E Geneseo

Record: 20-3-2 (NESCAC: 15-2-2, first place)
NCAA Bid: Pool C at-large; lost to Bowdoin, 3-2, in NESCAC Semifinal
Coach:John Dunham
Previous NCAA Appearances: 1
Last NCAA Appearance: 2003; lost quarterfinal

Record: 18-6-4 (SUNYAC: 10-3-1, second place)
NCAA Bid: SUNYAC Autobid; defeated Plattsburgh, 5-3 and 5-4 (OT)
Coach:Brian Hills
Previous NCAA Appearances: 1
Last NCAA Appearance: 1990, lost two-game quarterfinal series

Read the Preview by Russell Jaslow