A quick look at the West Regional, where North Dakota is the top seed

Brendan O’Donnell (21), Connor Gaarder (13) and Paul LaDue (6) take North Dakota into the West Regional (photo: Bradley K. Olson).

North Dakota is the host of the West Regional in Fargo, N.D., about 80 miles south of Grand Forks, so UND knew it was going to be there if it made the NCAA tournament.

On Sunday, we found out which three teams will join UND at Scheels Arena: Michigan Tech, St. Cloud State and Quinnipiac.

West Regional (Fargo, N.D.)

• Michigan Tech vs. St. Cloud State, 3:30 p.m. CDT Friday, ESPN3/WatchESPN (tape delay: 9 a.m. CDT Saturday, ESPNU)

• North Dakota vs. Quinnipiac, 7 p.m. CDT Friday, ESPNU

• Regional championship game, 8 p.m. CDT Saturday, ESPNU

Here’s a quick look at the teams in the West Regional:

No. 1 seed: North Dakota

North Dakota, making its 13th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance (the longest active Division I streak), has been one of the best teams in the country all year.

UND has a great goaltender in Hobey Baker Award finalist Zane McIntyre (2.04 GAA, .929 save percentage), a fantastic defensive corps led by Nick Mattson and Jordan Schmaltz, and a powerful, deep lineup of forwards led by Drake Caggiula and Michael Parks.

UND took a step back this weekend at the NCHC Frozen Faceoff, losing to St. Cloud State 3-1 in the semifinals after not getting anything done on offense. Then they got overwhelmed by a surging Denver team 5-1 in the third-place game.

Despite losing leading scorer Mark MacMillan for the season a few weeks ago, they’ll be ready to go next weekend.

No. 2 seed: Michigan Tech

Michigan Tech has had a great turnaround season under third-year coach Mel Pearson. Making their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1981, the Huskies finished second in the WCHA regular season standings and in the WCHA Final Five.

Goaltender Jamie Phillips has won 28 games for Tech this season, and he has a tremendous 1.71 GAA. He alone can have an impact in the West Regional. The Huskies also have a great group of forwards.

Hobey Baker Award finalist Tanner Kero leads Tech with 19 goals and 26 assists, and Tyler Heinonen has been hot lately, putting up six goals and nine points in his last six games.

No. 3 seed: St. Cloud State

A team that had been inconsistent many times during the season, St. Cloud State got it going at the right time, and coach Bob Motzko is taking his Huskies to their third straight NCAA tournament.

Despite losing to Miami 3-2 in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff championship game, St. Cloud State is playing its best hockey of the season right now. Goaltender Charlie Lindgren is only 18-17-1 on the year, but it’s because of his performance in net recently that the Huskies have won four of their last five games.

Jonny Brodzinski and Joey Benik are SCSU’s scoring leaders, and Brodzinski leads the team with 20 goals.

No. 4 seed: Quinnipiac

Even after a tough ending to the ECAC Hockey tournament by getting ousted by Harvard in the semifinals, Quinnipiac was able to sneak into the NCAA field.

The Bobcats were able to end Union’s season in three games in the ECAC quarterfinals, but they enter the NCAAs having lost three of five.

Michael Garteig has been good for the Bobcats in net this year, allowing only about two goals per game and winning 22 games. Sam Anas is Quinnipiac’s leading scorer with 23 goals and 16 assists, but his availability is in question because of a leg injury.

26 COMMENTS

  1. Probably as favorable a draw as UND could have hoped for, but they better erase this weekend from their collective memory. They’d be a clear favorite if MacMillan was in the lineup, but he’s not, so they’re not. MTU has been very good all year. SCSU is hot right now. QU is the long shot. UND being the ‘essentially home’ team might be the difference.

    • You’ve got to wonder how good Michigan Tech really is based upon the fact that they went 0-4-1 against Mankato this season and did not even play a single team from the NCHC. Their stats nationally are backed up both offensively and defensively, but they haven’t made it to this big stage since the Jurassic era.

    • UND will be fine. Danny Kristo will buy the team tons of alcohol and they’ll repress this weekend. I’ll see you in Boston!

  2. This is a tough one.

    I think MTU and SCSU are playing better than NoDak right now, but there’s no accounting for the home-ice advantage.

  3. I see my post is being held for review. Interesting, did you hold the racist, anti-Semitic people who posted on here already? Did you review the posts on Hitler, Nazis, and how North Dakota embraces Nazis? Again, just the most pathetic “national” magazine I have ever seen in my 51 years. Just know this, I am going to every other website this morning and am going to print what is showing up here. I have already copied the “comments” section, every single one, and this is going to go viral today, I can assure you of this. What a POS magazine you have become. I see you all as a bunch of young, red-neck, losers, many of whom did not attend college I can see. Your articles are filled with errors, and now you allow this garbage. Nice USCHO, right before the NT, I hope every single one of you feel proud you work for a magazine that allows this garbage to be printed. Well, every other website I know of will have a copy of this “comment” section printed verbatim. Let’s see if this has any impact on your very hopeless and immoral leadership. Just sickening.

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