NCAA Northeast Region Preview

AMHERST, MA - NOVEMBER 9: Cale Makar #16 of the Massachusetts Minutemen skates against the Providence College Friars during NCAA hockey at the Mullins Center on November 9, 2017 in Amherst, Massachusetts. Massachusetts won 5-2. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

We take a look at the second Eastern region of the NCAA tournament with our NCAA Northeast region preview. There are four solid schools in the mix in the Manchester, N.H.-based region.

College Hockey Tournament: NCAA Northeast Region Preview

Where: SNHU Arena, Manchester, N.H.
When: Friday and Saturday

Massachusetts Minutemen

Record: 28-9 overall; 18-6 Hockey East conference record (won Hockey East regular-season title; lost to Boston College in conference semifinals)

Player to watch: Cale Makar, defenceman (Colorado Avalanche prospect) 15 goals, 31 assists for 46 points.

Synopsis: Head coach Greg Carvel has turned the Minutemen into a program on the rise since coming over from St. Lawrence University. San Jose Sharks prospects John Leonard and Mario Ferraro are both key components, along with Makar, of an offence that scores 3.8 goals a game. Makar is the team’s leading scorer for the whole team from the blue line.

Clarkson Golden Knights

Record: 26-10-2 overall; 13-7-2 in ECAC (Tied for third with Harvard in the regular season; won ECAC tournament over Cornell)

Player to watch: Nico Strum, forward, 14 goals, 31 assists for 45 points.

Synopsis: The Golden Knights are talented despite having only one NHL drafted prospect. (Vegas Golden Knights forward Nick Campoli). However, head coach Casey Jones has a talented squad despite losing Sheldon Rempal, Josh Dickinson and Kelly Summers in the off-season. Goalie Jake Kielly is one of the most underrated goalies in the country.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Record: 22-13-3 overall; 11-11-2 Big Ten record (second in the regular season; won tournament title over Penn State)

Player to watch: Andrew Peeke, defenceman (Columbus Blue Jackets prospect) three goals and 20 assists for 23 points.

Synopsis: The Fighting Irish are battle-tested from a tough Big Ten slate. Notre Dame has plenty of scoring balance as 13 players have double-digits in points. Cal Burke is one of the better undrafted collegiate players and is tied for first in goals with Michael Graham.

Harvard Crimson

Record: 19-10-3 overall; 13-7-4 ECAC (tied for third with Clarkson in the regular season; lost in tournament semifinals to Clarkson)

Player to watch: Adam Fox, defenceman (Carolina Hurricanes prospect) nine goals and 39 assists for 48 points.

Synopsis: Former Boston Bruins stalwart and head coach Ted Donato has the Crimson as one of the more consistent teams over the last few seasons. Harvard gets a lot of points from their defence with Fox and New Jersey Devils selection Reilly Walsh. Senior goalie Michael Lackey is just getting back from injury for the Crimson.

Prediction

This is another hard region to predict and there are interesting storylines. ECAC schools could face off in the regional final. Carvel is familiar with Clarkson from his time as St. Lawrence head coach and Notre Dame is looking to return to the Frozen Four. We’ll go with Clarkson, but don’t be surprised if UMass reaches its first national semifinal.

AMHERST, MA – NOVEMBER 9: Cale Makar #16 of the Massachusetts Minutemen skates against the Providence College Friars during NCAA hockey at the Mullins Center on November 9, 2017 in Amherst, Massachusetts. Massachusetts won 5-2. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

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