ROCHESTER, NY – The No. 4 seed RIT men’s hockey team (19-14-5) will face Minnesota State University (29-7-3), the No. 1 overall seed in the 2015 NCAA Division I men’s hockey Midwest Regional on Saturday, March 28 at the Compton Family Arena on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana at 4 p.m.
The other two teams in the regional include the No. 2 seed University of Nebraska Omaha (18-12-6) and third-seeded Harvard University (21-12-3). RIT and Minnesota State will play the early game, while the Nebraska Omaha and Harvard game is slated for 7:30 p.m. RIT’s contest on Saturday will be aired on ESPNU, while the second semifinal is on ESPN3. Sunday’s regional championship is also on ESPNU. Ben Holden and 2010 Hobey Baker Award Winner Blake Geoffrion will be on the call for all three games. Canadian viewers will be able to watch Saturday’s game on TSN3. Sunday’s regional championship will be on TSN2. All games will be be available to Canadian viewers online on TSNGO.
Saturday’s winners will meet in the Regional Final on Sunday, March 29 at 7:30 p.m., with the regional champions advancing to the NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Frozen Four in Boston, Mass., on April 9 and 11.
General admission and standing room only tickets are available now either by calling (574) 631-7356 or going to UND.com/BuyTickets.
” We are excited about the opportunity of playing in the NCAA Tournament,” said RIT head coach Wayne Wilson. “At this stage, everyone is playing well and deserves to be here. We know Minnesota State is going to be really good, they are ranked number one in the pairwise nationally for a reason. We know we are going to get their best and look forward to the challenge.”
RIT won its second Atlantic Hockey Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time as a Division I program last weekend. It is RIT’s 15th trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history (Divisions I, II, III).
RIT knocked off Canisus, 2-1 in the semifinal on Friday and knocked off Mercyhurst, 5-1 in the championship on Saturday to claim the Atlantic Hockey title. Goaltender Jordan Ruby (Tavistock, Ontario/Wellington Dukes) stopped 54 of 56 shots, while Matt Garbowsky (St. George, Ontario/Powell River Kings) was named the Atlantic Hockey Championship Tournament Most Valuable Player. Garbowsky, Andrew Miller (Chicago, IL/Chicago Steel), Brad McGowan (Langley, British Columbia/Surrey Eagles), Brad Norrish, and Matt Abt (Leduc, Alberta/Whitecourt Wolverines ) were named to the All-Tournament Team.
RIT enters the NCAA Tournament having won seven straight games, the longest current winning streak in Division I and is out-scoring its foes 30-10 over that span. The Tigers are 14-4-2 over their last 20 games, sixth in nationally in scoring (3.60 goals per game) and tied for seventh defensively (2.00) during that stretch.
Garbowsky, a Hobey Baker Award Finalist, leads Division I with 678 face-off wins, is third nationally with 26 goals, and is fifth with 53 points. He set the RIT Division I team record for points and is one goal shy of the single-season school mark. Josh Mitchell (Osoyoos, British Columbia/Alberni Valley Bulldogs) broke the RIT single-season Division I mark with 35 assists, fourth most in Division I. He is tied for sixth nationally with 50 points. Brad McGowan (Langley, British Columbia/Surrey Eagles) scored three goals over the weekend, giving him seven in his last three games and 12 over his last seven contests. He has 23 goals and 45 points overall.
The line of Garbowsky, Mitchell, and McGowan is the second highest scoring threesome in the country, having combined for 148 points (Boston University has highest with 168). That trio has combined for 53.8 percent of all RIT goals this season (64-of-119) and is a combined plus-79.
In goal, Ruby has won his last four starts and is 4-0 in the playoffs this season, having allowed just six goals in those wins. Ruby is 6-2 all-time in the postseason with a 1.59 goals against average and .948 save percentage.
RIT is 23-11 all-time in the postseason at the Division I level. In 2010, RIT made a magical run to the NCAA Frozen Four, knocking off Denver and New Hampshire in the East Regional before falling to Wisconsin in the national semifinal.
The Midwest Regional includes three of the six conference champions, two Hobey Baker Award finalists and each of the nation’s top three goal scorers. The games in South Bend will mark the first time that NCAA Tournament games have been played at an on-campus site since 2009 when Minnesota played host to the NCAA West Regional at Mariucci Arena.
Minnesota State enters the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed and top-ranked team in Division I, with a 29-7-3 mark. The Mavericks claimed the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) championship on Saturday night, 5-2 over Michigan Tech. The Mavericks are in the tournament for the fourth time overall and third year in a row, having loss the previous three games in NCAA Tournament play. Bryce Gervais leads Minnesota State and ranks second in the nation with 27 goals on the year while Matt Leitner tops the Mavericks with both 32 assists and 41 points. Stephon Williams has 25-5-3 record in net for Minnesota State, with a 1.64 goals against average, second nationally, and .926 save percentage.
Omaha enters the NCAA tournament with an 18-12-6 record on the year. An at-large pick from the National College Hockey Conference (NCHC), Omaha is making its third NCAA tournament appearance, the others coming in 2006 and 2011. Like Minnesota State, the Omaha Mavericks are also looking for their first-ever NCAA Tournament win on Saturday in South Bend. Austin Ortega has paced Omaha with 19 goals this year, including a Division I single-season record 11 game-winning tallies, while Jake Guentzel tops the Mavericks with 23 assists and 35 points. Ryan Massa has seen the majority of the playing time in goal for Omaha, recording a 2.04 goals against average and .934 save percentage, compiling a 12-7-6 record. Massa’s .934 save percentage ranks fifth nationally.
The champion of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC), Harvard enters the NCAA Tournament with a 21-12-3 record. The Crimson is making its 22nd NCAA appearance, standing at 14-29-1 all-time, a record highlighted by the 1989 national championship. Hobey Baker finalist Jimmy Vesey leads the nation with 31 goals and is tied for second nationally with 57 points. Kyle Criscuolo leads Harvard with 30 assists on the year. Steve Michalek has a 21-12-3 record between the pipes for the Crimson, posting a 2.29 goals against average and .924 save percentage.
The Tigers are 3-3-0 all-time against Minnesota State and 2-1-0 against Nebraska Omaha. RIT has never faced Harvard. RIT last played Minnesota State in 2009-10, dropping a pair of games in Mankato, 6-1 and 3-0. The Tigers last played Nebraska Omaha in 2010-11, falling 5-3 at the Maverick Stampede in Omaha.
Saturday’s RIT game will be broadcast over the airwaves on WITR 89.7 FM and will be shown online on Watch ESPN.