Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday Morning Skate

It's the Midwest Regional edition of the skate ...

The Mavericks are set to square off against the RIT Tigers at 3 p.m. (CDT) today, making their third straight appearance in the NCAA tournament. While MSU coach Mike Hastings might not be, uh, comfortable with the choice of words, senior Chase Grant said he thinks his team is "comfortable" this year, at least when it comes to handling the weekend hype.

For MSU and its longtime rival Nebraska Omaha (which plays Harvard in today's second game), there are plenty of familiar faces, especially on the coaching staffs. Notably, former Mavericks coach Troy Jutting, a UNO assistant, is seeing his old team's success up close. Meanwhile Hastings and his old boss, Omaha coach Dean Blais, also have gotten a chance to catch up face to face.

The previous link goes to a notebook from Friday and includes comments from RIT coach Wayne Wilson on his team as well as on his team's opponent today, a very deep MSU team.

For more on Minnesota State and the other three teams in the regional, check out The Free Press' College Hockey Gameday feature.

Free Press photographer also has a photo gallery from Friday's events.

In other coverage ...

• The New York times profiled Hastings and his low tolerance for losing.

• The Star Tribune also has a feature on what the Mavericks have been doing this season.

• Upset-minded RIT has a mantra when it comes to playing the No. 1 team in the nation: Die on empty.

• Omaha stumbled into the tournament but is now much healthier than it was before postseason play began.

• The Omaha World-Herald also has capsules on each team in the regional.

• The Boston Globe writes about Harvard's Jimmy Vesey, the nation's leading goal scorer.

Regional play began on Friday, and there were some great games with some surprising results.

The NCAA field's only other WCHA team, Michigan Tech, lost a heartbreaker in overtime to St. Cloud State on an unfortunate play for a senior defenseman. Also in Fargo, North Dakota cruised to a win over Quinnipiac, setting up an all-NCHC final in the West.

In the Northeast, Boston University edged Yale in overtime, and, in the game many thought would be the most-competitive of the day, Minnesota Duluth scored three first-period goals and rolled over Minnesota. The Gophers went 1-4 against the Bulldogs this season.

There are six games today, including finals feature North Dakota-St. Cloud State and Boston University-Minnesota Duluth. There are the two Midwest regionals, of course, and in the East, Miami plays Providence and Denver plays Boston College.

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