A pair of Nashville Predators prospects will represent the franchise in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, which starts this Friday, March 25 at four regional sites across the nation and culminates with the Frozen Four at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., April 7-9.
Helping the Notre Dame Fighting Irish reach the tournament for the fourth time in the last five seasons is senior pivot Ben Ryan
. Selected 114th overall (fourth round) in the 2007 Entry Draft, Ryan and the Irish are seeded third in the Northeast Region, and will face second seed, Merrimack – seen Jan. 14-15 at Bridgestone Arena when it played Alabama-Huntsville – at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H., on Saturday, March 26 at 6:35 p.m. CT. Notre Dame enters the tournament with a 23-13-5 record, and Ryan – a 5-11, 192-pound center from Brighton, Mich. – ranks fourth on the team in assists (18) and fifth in points (24).
A sixth-round selection (166th overall) of the Predators in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, defensemen Jeff Foss and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Engineers will be making their first appearance in the NCAA tourney since 1995 as the four seed in the Midwest Region. The Engineers enter hockey’s rendition of “the Big Dance” with a 20-12-5 record and will face top-seeded North Dakota on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. CT at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis. A stay-at-home blueliner, Foss led R.P.I in plus/minus rating (+15) and ranked second in penalty minutes (44) while also posting 14 points (3g-11a) during his senior season. The Moorhead, Minn., native has never missed a game during his collegiate career, playing in 153 consecutive contests.