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Let the NCAA Madness Officially Begin!

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

As NCAA March Madness officially gets underway on the ice this Friday, be sure to make your official online destination for Blueshirt prospect updates from the CCHA, ECAC, Hockey East and WCHA tournaments.

CCHA Quarterfinals
CCHA Official Site >>

#12-Notre Dame (Mike Walsh) @ #1 Michigan (Al Montoya)
Complete Series Notes >>
· Michigan wrapped up the regular season CCHA Championship last week with a sweep of Bowling Green and heads into their first round matchup against Notre Dame having finished the regular season with a record of 26-7-3 overall and 23-3-2 in the CCHA.
· Notre Dame finished the season in last place in the CCHA, with an overall record of 5-25-6, and a 3-20-5 mark in CCHA play.
· Michigan swept the Fighting Irish in the two previous series in December (6-1, 8-0) and February (9-2, 6-3).
· This meeting marks the first playoff meeting for these two teams since the 1997-98 season, which Michigan took in a third and deciding game.
· Mike Walsh has faced Michigan seven times in his career and has netted one goal.
· Al Montoya has faced the Fighting Irish seven times, posting a record of 5-2-0 with a GAA of 2.72, a save percentage of .902, and one shutout.

#11-Ferris State @ #2-Ohio State (Nate Guenin)
Complete Series Notes >>
· The Ohio State men's hockey team (24-8-4, 21-5-2/2nd CCHA) opens up the Central Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs this weekend when it plays host to Ferris State (12-20-4, 7-17-4/t-10th CCHA) in a best-of-three, first-round series this weekend.
· Ohio State is ranked seventh in both the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine and polls this week.
· Ohio State went 1-0-1 against Miami, with a 3-1 victory in Oxford, Ohio, March 4 and a 2-2 tie March 5 in Columbus.
· Ohio State is 33-46-4 all-time in the CCHA tournament, including 12-2-3 at home. This is the third consecutive year the Buckeyes will play host to a first-round series. OSU has advanced to Joe Louis Arena the last three seasons, with a road sweep at Western Michigan in 2002 and home sweeps of Nebraska-Omaha (in Nationwide Arena) in 2003 and Bowling Green in 2004.
· The Buckeyes won the CCHA tournament last season. The squad opened the tourney with a two-game home sweep of Bowling Green in Columbus, with 3-2 and 5-2 victories. At the CCHA Super Six, the squad won three games in three days to win its first league title since 1972. At The Joe, the Buckeyes downed Notre Dame in overtime, 6-5, in the quarterfinals and beat Miami in overtime in the semifinals, 4-3, before topping No. 1 seed Michigan in the championship game, 4-2.
· The Buckeyes are 5-1-2 all-time against Ferris State in postseason action. The teams last met in the CCHA playoffs in 1998-99.
· Defenseman Nate Guenin was named a Second Team All-CCHA pick and OSU's Scholar-Athlete honoree.

#10-Western Michigan @ #3-Northern Michigan (Darin Olver)
Complete Series Notes >>
· The Northern Michigan University hockey team concluded the 2004-05 regular season last Saturday night at Lake Superior State University by winning their fifth straight game. NMU defeated the Lakers by a score of 3-2.
· The 'Cats have now won 20 or more games the past four seasons in a row as they concluded the 2004-05 regular season with a 20-9-7 overall mark and a 17-7-4 record in the CCHA.

#9-Lake Superior @ #4-Nebraska-Omaha (Chris Holt)
Complete Series Notes >>
· After finishing the regular season with an overall record of 17-15-4, and a 13-11-4 mark in the CCHA, Nebraska-Omaha earned it's first home playoff series since the 2001-02 season.
· Lake Superior ended the regular season ranked 9th in the CCHA, with an overall record of 9-20-7, and a conference record of 8-14-6.
· This series marks the first meeting for these two teams in a playoff setting.
· The Mavs of Nebraska-Omaha met Lake Superior four times during the regular season, posting a record of 2-1-1.
· UNO goaltender Chris Holt is 2-1-1 against the Lakers this season with a 2.41 GAA and a .907 save percentage.
· In his career against Lake Superior, Holt is 3-2-1 with a GAA of 2.27 and a save % of .916.

#7-Miami-Ohio @ #6-Michigan State (Corey Potter)
Complete Series Notes >>
· Michigan State enters their First Round home playoff series having finished the regular season with a 17-15-4 record overall, and a 12-13-3 mark in CCHA play.
· Miami-Ohio ended the season with a record of 15-16-5, and a conference record of 11-13-4.
· The two teams split their two regular season meetings this year
· This marks the 14th straight year that MSU is hosting a CCHA First Round Playoff series
· MSU faces Miami in the first round of the CCHA playoffs for just the third time in school history, meeting in 1984-'85 (MSU 4-3, 7-1), and most recently in 1999-'00 (MSU 4-3, 4-2)
· The last time State failed to make it past the first round was back in 1990-'91 when they dropped two games at Western Michigan
· During the regular season, Corey Potter led the Spartans in penalty minutes with 59, and ranked third with in the plus/minus category with a +12

ECAC Quarterfinals
ECAC Official Site >>

#7-St. Lawrence @ #2-Harvard (Rob Flynn, Dylan Reese)
Complete Series Notes >>
· Harvard and SLU have met 75 times, with the Crimson holding a 40-30-5 record in the all-time series. The two schools have met six times in the ECACHL playoffs, once previously in the quarterfinal round. Harvard holds a 20-10-2 record on its home ice against St. Lawrence, including five straight victories.
· Harvard is in search of its second straight ECACHL title and third in four seasons. No Crimson team has ever won back -to-back crowns.
· The Crimson, seeded second, looks for its fifth consecutive season of advancing to the League's semifinals, and looks to extend its 11-game post-season home winning streak. The Crimson is 8-0 in home playoff games over the last four seasons.
· 2005 is Harvard's eighth playoff appearance as a two seed. The Crimson is 16-6 in Tournament games in those previous seven seasons, with one ECAC Tournament title (1983).
· Harvard (18-8-3 overall, 15-5-2 conference) ended the regular season #11 (225 points) in the Poll and #11 (169 points) in the USA Today Poll.
· St. Lawrence (17-17-2 overall, 9-12-1 conference) advanced past the first round over #10 Princeton with wins of 7-0 and 4-2.

#5-Dartmouth (Hugh Jessiman) @ #4-Vermont
Complete Series Notes >>
· Dartmouth and Vermont have met a total of 65 times, including three times this season, with the Big Green posting a 2-1-0 edge.
· Dartmouth posted a 6-5-0 in 11 road games this season, while Vermont is 11-5-2 at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
· Dartmouth has posted a 4-0-1 mark over the last five games.
· Dartmouth is averaging 37.6 shots on goal per game, compared to its opponents' 25.8. The Big Green has had season-high 21 shots on goal in a period twice this year.

Hockey East Quarterfinals
Hockey East Official Site >>

#7-Providence @ #2-Boston University (Ken Roche)
Complete Series Notes >>
· Boston University ended the regular season with a 21-11-4 overall record, 15-5-4-conference record and a 6-6-0 non-conference mark.
· At home this season they were 11-4-2 overall.
· Boston University ended the regular season ranked 9th (273 points) in the Poll and 8th (242 points) in the USA Today Poll.
· BU defeated Providence in all three of their meetings this season.
· Providence ended the regular season with a 11-19-4 overall record, 6-14-4 conference and 5-5-0 non-conference mark.
· The Friars posted a 2-11-1 road record this season.

#5 UMass-Lowell @ #4-Maine (Greg Moore, Billy Ryan)
Complete Series Notes >>
· The Black Bears have now qualified for the Hockey East playoffs in 20 of 21 years in the league, and are hosting the quarterfinals for the sixth straight season.
· Maine ended the regular season 18-11-7 overall, 13-6-5 (31 points) in conference games and a 5-5-2 non-conference mark.
· At home this season they were 12-4-3 overall.
· Maine ended up ranked 12th in the Poll and 12th with in the USA Today Poll.
· Maine has enjoyed much success against UMass this season, sweeping the three-game season series.
· Lowell ended their regular season 20-10-4 overall, 11-10-3 conference (25 points) and a 9-0-1 non-conference mark. Away they were 9-5-3 overall.
· Losing three out of their last four games to end the regular season, UMass dropped to 15th in the Poll and 14th in the USA Today Poll.

WCHA First Round
WCHA Official Site >>

#9-St. Cloud State @ #2-Colorado College (Joey Crabb)
· This series will mark the first-ever between Colorado College and St. Cloud State in the opening round of the league playoffs. The teams have met three times previously in the post-season, all at the WCHA Final Five, where CC claimed victories in the third-place game in 1997 (6-0), 1998 (6-1) and 2002 (2-1).
· Friday's game marks the 59th all-time contest between the Tigers and Huskies, who split a pair of decisions at the World Arena a month ago (Feb. 11-12). The Tigers, who lost the series opener in overtime (4-3) but came back to post a 3-0 victory the next night, own a 32-23-3 advantage in the rivalry, including a 6-5-1 edge at the CSWA.
· 2004-05 MacNaughton Cup and WCHA regular season co-champions Denver and Colorado College earned the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds respectively for the opening round.
· Colorado College ended the regular season 26-7-3 overall, 19-7-2 conference and 7-0-1 non-conference.
· At home this season, the Tigers posted a 15-3-1 overall record.
· CC ended the season #1 overall in the Poll and #1 in the USA Today Poll.
· St. Cloud ended their regular season at 14-21-3 overall, 8-19-1 (17 points) conference and 6-2-2 non-conference. St. Cloud State posted a 7-9-0 record on the road this season.
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