NCAA Tournament
Northeast Regional Capsules | Worcester, Mass.

DCU Center
Saturday-Sunday, March 24-25

Saturday: Boston College vs. Air Force, 4 p.m. ET (TV: ESPNU)
Saturday: Minnesota Duluth vs. Maine, 7:30 p.m. (TV ESPN Syndication; ESPNU tape delay at 11:30 p.m. ET)
Sunday: Regional Final, 8 p.m. (TV: ESPNU)

All games available live via www.watchespn.com.

NO. 1 SEED BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES

Location: Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Record: 29-10-1 overall (19-7-1 Hockey East, first)
Qualified: Hockey East tournament champions
NCAA Championships: Four (1949, 2001, 2008, 2010)
NCAA Appearance: 31st (most recent, 2011)
Head Coach: Jerry York
Key Players: Chris Kreider, F, Jr. (40 GP, 20-21—41); Johnny Gaudreau, F, Fr. (40 GP, 19-20—39); Brian Dumoulin, D, Jr. (40 GP, 6-20—26); Parker Milner, G, Jr. (25-5-0, 1.82, .931)

What You Need to Know: The Eagles are the unquestioned favorites to advance to Tampa, entering the NCAA Tournament with 15 straight wins, the longest win streak of the Jerry York era. The Eagles seem to head into the postseason on a tear every year, but this year’s bunch has been unstoppable since late January.

How They'll Advance: During Boston College’s current 15-game winning streak, the play of Parker Milner has been critical to the Eagles’ success. Milner has a 1.20 goals-against average and a .954 save percentage during that run and stopped 68 of the 71 shots he faced last weekend at the TD Garden. His emergence ended a revolving door in goal and his continued dominance will make the Eagles very tough to beat.

What Might Trip Them Up: Realistically, Boston College could be its own worst enemy; regardless of what’s been thrown their way, be it power-play goals, coming from behind, hot goaltenders, whatever, the Eagles have had an answer over the past two months. Overconfidence could be Boston College’s biggest hurdle. If the Eagles don’t beat themselves, it’s going to take a really special performance to do them in.

Most Recent Boston College Line Chart
Left Wing Center Right Wing Notes
9-Barry Almeida 24-Bill Arnold 21-Steven Whitney Kreider, the heralded Ranger pick, is at his best with speed on the wing. He also plays the point on the power play.
17-Destry Straight 12-Kevin Hayes 19-Chris Kreider
13-Johnny Gaudreau 11-Pat Mullane 22-Paul Carey
27-Quinn Smith 18-Michael Sit 10-Danny Linell
Defense Defense Goalies
4-Tommy Cross 8-Edwin Shea 35-Parker Milner Dumoulin is the most heralded of the D but it's a balanced group with size and willingness to block shots.
2-Brian Dumoulin 6-Patrick Wey 1-Brian Billett
7-Isaac MacLeod 3-Patch Alber 30-Chris Venti

NO. 2 SEED MINNESOTA DULUTH BULLDOGS

Location: Duluth, Minn.
Record: 24-9-6 overall (16-7-5 WCHA, fourth)
Qualified: At-large berth
NCAA Championships: One (2011)
NCAA Appearance: Eighth (most recent, 2011)
Head Coach: Scott Sandelin
Key Players: Jack Connolly, F, Sr. (39 GP, 19-39—58); Travis Oleksuk, F, Sr. (39 GP, 21-30—51); Brady Lamb, D, Sr. (9-21—30); Kenny Reiter, G, Sr. (22-8-6, 2.40, .912)

What You Need to Know: Some Bulldog fans who had hotel rooms booked for Green Bay took it as a slight that, for the second year in a row, their team is getting sent east and will likely need to get past the No. 1 overall seed to get to the Frozen Four. And unlike last season’s playoff run, the guys with championship rings won’t fly under anyone’s radar.

How They'll Advance: In Jack Connolly, J.T. Brown, and Travis Oleksuk, the Bulldogs have three of the speediest and most creative offensive players in the nation spread over the top two lines. Rolling two units with offensive punch has been the team’s formula for success for the past two seasons as they double the amount of offense opponents need to stop.

What Might Trip Them Up: While the Bulldogs’ power play is very, very dangerous, their penalty kill is a mess, ranking among the worst in college hockey. Playing a long way away from home against officials they likely haven’t seen before, penalty trouble could spell immediate doom for Scott Sandelin and associates.

Most Recent Minnesota Duluth Line Chart
Left Wing Center Right Wing Notes
18-Joe Basaraba 15-Jake Hendrickson 27-David Grun Flaherty leads UMD in short-handed goals ... with one. Nobody else has scored one this year.
14-Keegan Flaherty 12-Jack Connolly 17-Mike Seidel
21-Caleb Herbert 11-Travis Oleksuk 23-J.T. Brown
25-Justin Crandall 19-Max Tardy 26-Adam Krause
Defense Defense Goalies
28-Wade Bergman 2-Brady Lamb 35-Kenny Reiter Kishel was a part-time player for his first three years but stepped in and played a bigger role as a senior.
5-Chris Casto 16-Tim Smith 31-Aaron Crandall
8-Drew Olson 6-Scott Kishel  

NO. 3 SEED MAINE BLACK BEARS

Location: Orono, Maine
Record: 23-13-3 (15-10-2 Hockey East, fourth)
Qualified: At-large bid
NCAA Championships: Two (1993, 1999)
NCAA Appearance: 19th (most recent, 2008)
Head Coach: Tim Whitehead
Key Players: Spencer Abbott, F, Sr. (38 GP, 20-41—61); Joey Diamond, F, Jr. (36 GP, 25-22—47); Will O'Neill, D, Sr. (39 GP, 3-28—31); Dan Sullivan, G, So. (22-10-3, 2.54, .910)

What You Need To Know: Maine is back in the tournament for the first time since 2007 thanks in large part to an outstanding second-half run. After standing just 3-6-2 at Thanksgiving, the Black Bears went on a 14-3-1 run to boost their postseason chances.

How They’ll Advance: Maine’s top line of Spencer Abbott, Brian Flynn, and Joey Diamond combined for 155 of the 365 points scored by the Black Bears this season and is good as any combination in the country. At the other end of the ice, goaltender Dan Sullivan made 67 saves in Boston last weekend, many of the spectacular variety. Abbott missed the Hockey East championship game due to injury, but with him in the lineup, Maine has the offensive firepower and goaltending needed to succeed in March.

What Might Trip Them Up: The concern with Maine is that they’re too dependent on that potent first line. If the Abbott-Flynn-Diamond trio doesn’t produce (or if Abbott can't go in the regional), the Black Bears will need to get production from somewhere else in the lineup.

Most Recent Maine Line Chart
Left Wing Center Right Wing Notes
13-Spencer Abbott 10-Brian Flynn 39-Joey Diamond Mangene is a bit of a wildcard, able to play forward or defense - often in the same game.
24-Mark Anthoine 22-Stu Higgins 57-Matt Mangene
11-Theo Andersson 91-Klas Leidermark 18-Jon Swavely
26-Adam Shemansky 21-Kyle Beattie 15-John Parker
Defense Defense Goalies
27-Will O'Neill 2-Mike Cornell 30-Dan Sullivan Sullivan began the season splitting starts, but has played every game since Nov. 11.
44-Ryan Hegarty 3-Mark Nemec 51-Martin Ouellette
71-Nick Pryor 16-Brice O'Connor 31-Josh Seeley

NO. 4 SEED AIR FORCE FALCONS

Location: Air Force Academy, Colo.
Record: 21-10-7 overall (15-6-6 Atlantic Hockey, first)
Qualified: Atlantic Hockey tournament champions
NCAA Championships: None
NCAA Appearance: Fifth (most recent, 2011)
Head Coach: Frank Serratore
Key Players: Kyle De Laurell, F, Jr., (38 GP, 15-23—38); John Kruse, F, Jr. (38 GP, 16-14—30); Tim Kirby, D, Sr. (38 GP, 12-16—28); Jason Torf, G, So. (8-4-2, 1.72, .928)

What You Need to Know: Air Force is a tournament regular, making its fifth appearance in six years, and has turned in upsets and near upsets that require even the top seed in the bracket to take notice. Frank Serratore's group won the Atlantic Hockey regular-season and tournament championships and boast the third-best team defense in the
nation (2.13 goals against per game).

How They'll Advance: Senior defensemen Tim Kirby and Scott Mathis play together on Air Force's top pair and eat up a lot of minutes. Between them they have four career first-team All-Atlantic Hockey selections and it's no overstatement to say they are among the nation's best defense pairs. Kirby is the conference's player of the year and a Hobey Baker Award finalist. The team's stingy defense starts with them and goaltender Jason Torf, and the Falcons boast a group of forwards who can push the pace of the game.

What Might Trip Them Up: The strength of the Falcons' top defense pair could match up well against a top-heavy lineup like North Dakota's which relies so much on one line. No such luck against Boston College, which rolls three lines that each have a 19-plus goal scorer. Air Force isn't just running into the nation's deepest team but doing so when the Eagles are at their best. The Falcons meet a juggernaut having not faced a ranked opponent since New Year's Eve, a 7-1 loss to Denver.

Most Recent Air Force Line Chart
Left Wing Center Right Wing Notes
9-Kyle De Laurell 17-Chad Demers 27-John Kruse Wonderfully named freshman Cole Gunner, who had 12 points in his first 8 GP, scored the first goal in each game last weekend.
20-Tony Thomas 16-Jason Fabian 7-Casey Kleisinger
10-Paul Weisgarber 19-Stephen Carew 22-Cole Gunner
15-Scott Holm 18-George Michalke 13-Ryan Timar
Defense Defense Goalies
23-Scott Mathis 25-Tim Kirby 29-Jason Torf Caple played the most games due to injury to Torf, who played in last year's OT loss to Yale. He's healthy now.
6-Adam McKenzie 11-Dan Weissenhofer 37-Stephen Caple
3-Eric Artman 24-Mike Walsh 39-Paul Moberg