Men's quarterfinal previews: right half of the bracket

More news about: Augsburg | Colby | St. Norbert | SUNY Geneseo

Compiled by D3hockey staff --

Lake Placid looms as we're down to four on the right side of the bracket. As is the case on the opposite side, the East Region features a fresh face or two, while the West Region features a pair that are not strangers to each other, be it in terms of this season or in past NCAA tournaments.

In the West, No. 1 ranked and top regional seed St. Norbert hosts a quarterfinal against MIAC champion Augsburg, which already topped one NCHA team in last weekend's opening round. It will mark the third straight year the Green Knights and Auggies face off in the tournament -- and the third time they face off this season.

In the East, SUNY Geneseo has been on fire and looks to make its second-straight trip to Lake Placid, while Colby is the surprise of the quarterfinals as the Mules not only pulled a surprise to win the NESCAC title but also pulled a first round surprise last week at University of New England to advance to face Geneseo.


NO. 1   ST. NORBERT GREEN KNIGHTS
(24-4-1)

 

 

 

VS

NO. 14   AUGSBURG AUGGIES
(19-9-0)

 

Saturday, March 18; 7 p.m. CT
Cornerstone Community Center; Ashwaubenon, Wis.

 

The Series: Augsburg holds a 10-9-1 edge in the all-time series, though the advantage has gone to St. Norbert lately as the Green Knights are 8-1-1 against the Auggies under head coach Tim Coghlin. The two met twice in the regular season with St. Norbert coming out on top of 3-1 and 4-0 decisions on December 8 and 9. Saturday's meeting will mark the third straight year the two have paired off in the NCAA quarterfinals. St. Norbert won both prior meetings as it notched a 6-1 win in 2016 before ekeing out a 4-3 overtime win a year ago.

About St. Norbert: The top-ranked Green Knights are back yet again as, aside from a three-game skid in late January, they've been nearly perfect on the year. Winners of nine straight, St. Norbert was last in action two weeks ago when it scored a 2-1 overtime win at Adrian to win yet another NCHA playoff title. The Green Knights hold a  28-13-1 mark in 17 prior NCAA tournament appearance and are hunting for their fifth national championship, which would be their first since 2014.

An elite defense has been the hallmark of championship-level St. Norbert squads, and this year has proven no different as the Green Knights have allowed just 1.38 goals per game, which leads the country by .3 goals per contest. Junior goaltender T.J. Black has again posted elite numbers and holds a 24-3-1 record. His 1.37 goals-against-average, .941 save percentage and four shutouts all rate as second-best in the nation. Black has also been the backbone of a penalty kill unit that has been succesful an impressive 91.7% of the time.

Offensively, senior Tanner Froese (12-17-29) leads team in scoring, and after there's been a bit of a youth movement as freshmen Keegan Milligan (11-13-24) and Peter Bates (10-14-24), along with sophomore forward Dominick Sacco (10-13-23) check in behind Froese. Production has also come from defensemen as freshman Luke Davison (5-13-18), senior Sean Campbell (2-15-17) and junior Nick LeSage (3-13-16) all have contributed significantly. St. Norbert is averaging 3.93 goals per night, which stands as 11th-best in the nation while its power play ranks 20th and has converted 21.7% of the time.

About Augsburg: The Auggies are making their third-straight and fifth all-time NCAA tournament appearance. In those appearances, they hold a 3-6-1 mark and have not won a tournament game since sweeping a quarterfinal over UW-River Falls in 1998 to advance to their second and last Frozen Four. Augburg advanced to this weekend's quarters with hard-fought 3-1 opening round win over Marian.

In the win over Marian, junior goaltender Nick Schmit was superb as he stopped 32 of the 33 shots he faced. On the year, Schmit has played in all but two games and holds a 18-8-0 mark with a 2.16 goals-against-average and .923 save percentage.

Offensively, Augsburg's 3.61 goals per game were tops in the MIAC and stand at 17th-best in the nation. Loaded with upperclassmen, the Auggies' top eight scoring forwards are either junior or seniors. At the tops are senior Nate Flynn (12-15-27) along with juniors Luke Dietsch (11-16-27) and Chandler Madry (6-21-27). Senior Drew Anderson has added 21 points on the season while juniors Lukas Gillett and Alex Rodriguez have both posted 18.

Senior Max Pernhem (1-15-16) is Augsburg's lone defenseman to crack double digits on the scoresheet, and Pernhem along with fellow assistant captain senior Will Peterson anchor a defense that has conceded 2.39 goals per game.

Ausgburg's power play and penalty kill have both been middling and check in at 18.7% and 81.3%, respectively. The Auggies are looking to become just the second MIAC team since 2005 to make the Frozen Four. 

Fast Fact: Under Coghlin, St. Norbert is 52-2-3 all-time at home against MIAC opponents.

Key to the Game: Simply put, Augsburg can't fall behind -- especially by more than a goal. It's tough enough to play from behind as it is but there is little in Division III hockey as tough as playing from behind at St. Norbert, as evidenced by the fact the Green Knights are 305-3-4 all-time at home when leading after two periods. However, Augsburg's transition style makes it prone to quick starts, as it managed in its first round win over Marian, and it also led St. Norbert 1-0 after one and 2-1 into the late stages of the second period in last season's quarterfinal loss. If the Auggies can start in similar fashion this time around...they'll have a shot.

   

NO. 5   SUNY GENESEO KNIGHTS
(19-5-3)

 

 

 

VS

COLBY WHITE MULES
(16-10-2)

 

Saturday, March 18; 7 p.m. ET
Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena; Geneseo, N.Y.

 

The Series: The lone quarterfinal pairing between relatively unfamiliar opponents, Geneseo and Colby don't play often but did meet just a season ago in an early season contest that saw Geneseo score a 4-3 overtime win. Prior to that, the last meeting between the two came early in the 2003-04 season.

About Geneseo: The SUNYAC champs are in the midst of their sixth NCAA tournament appearance where they hold an all-time mark of 5-4-2. The Knights are looking for their first national championship and third Frozen Four appearance as they also made it to the season's final weekend in 2014 and 2016.

Losers of just one game since January 5, Geneseo rolls into the quarterfinals on one of the country's best second half tears and it showed little sign of slowing down in last week's opening round as it went on the road and jumped on higher-seeded Hobart early en route to an eventual 4-2 win.

The Knights feature a prolific offense that ranks sixth in the nation with 4.43 goals per game, but they have turned things up even more lately as they have posted 46 goals in their last nine games, good for a 5.11 goals per game average. A quartet of sophomore forwards have paced the attack, and include Conlan Keenan (18-21-39), Tyson Empey (21-15-36), Andrew Romano (6-30-36), and David Szmyd (12-18-30). Empey has rung up ten power play goals on the year, which leads the team and is tied for second-most in the country. Beyond the sophomore forwards, the Knights feature three others who have tallied at least 20 points on the year, two of which are defenseman in juniors Duggie Lagrone (6-19-25) and Mitch Ferguson (6-16-22).

Junior goaltender Devin McDonald (19-3-3, 1.79, .927) has seen action in 26 games this season and has proven to be the anchor of a defense that has allowed just 2.07 goals per game, which is good enough to rank 12th nationally. Geneseo's power play ranks 13th in the country at 23.4% while its penalty kill stands at 25th (84.5%). 

About Colby: The surprise team of this year's postseason, Colby emerged from the six-seed in the NESCAC playoffs to top Amherst, Wesleyan and Trinity to win the NESCAC championship, and wasn't done there as last weekend the Mules hit the road and upended highly-touted University of New England, 4-2, to earn its first-ever NCAA tournament win and advance to the quarterfinals.

The NCAA tournament appearance is just the second for Colby, which now stands at 1-2-0 all-time in NCAA tournament play.

Colby's postseason run has largely been fueled by defense as it has conceded just five goals in its four postseason contests. Senior netminder Sean Lawrence has been superb over that span, stopping 146 of the 151 shots he has faced. On the year, Lawrence holds a 15-7-2 record with a 2.06 goals-against-average and .940 save percentage. The save percentage ranks third-highest in the nation.

Offensively, the Mules feature an extremely balanced attack as eight skaters have posted at least 19 points but none have scored more than 26. At the top are seniors Phil Klitirinos (8-18-26) and Cam MacDonald (15-9-24), along with sophomore Kienan Scott (11-15-26) and junior Nick O'Connor (11-13-24). MacDonald's 15 goals lead the team, as do his four power play tallies. Senior defenseman Michael Decker also checks in among the team leaders in scoring and leads all Colby blueliners with three goals, six assists and 19 points.

Colby has averaged 3.43 goals per game (20th) while allowing 2.39 (tie-19th), while it's power play has converted 19.3% (tie-36th) of the time and its penalty kill has succeeded at an 81.9% (tie-39th) clip.

Fast Fact: The Colby to Geneseo road trip was the longest potential trip in this year's tournament at 584 miles, easily outpacing the next-longest possible, Colby to Hobart at 534 miles.

Key to the Game: Whether Colby can slow down the Geneseo offense. The Mules have proven capable of doing so in the past two weeks as the held two strong offensive teams, Trinity and University of New England, to a combined three goals, and have allowed just five tallies in their last six outings. However, Geneseo is as hot as anyone in the country and has scored at least four goals in seven of its last nine, and it hung a seven-spot on four of those occassions.

 

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No contests today.
No contests today.
No contests today.