Friday, March 23, 2012

NCAA Tournament Underway

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Greetings from downtown Worcester, which bears a resemblance to downtown Bridgeport. Very industrial, and not a whole lot going on around our hotel.

UMD arrived via charter flight at around 9 Eastern time Thursday evening. The Bulldogs arrived at the hotel a little after 10, once they dropped their gear off at the DCU Center.

All four teams in the Northeast Regional practice on Friday, starting with Air Force and Boston College, then Maine and UMD. Teams will participate in press conferences after their practices.

I'll be at the rink for most of Maine's practice, and will attend both Maine and UMD's press conferences. I'll post notes and quotes from the day later on.

Also, since I'm apparently into shameless self-promotion, I'll be on Beyond The Pond Saturday at 10:35am. Listen on KFAN in the Cities, The Fan 1490 in the Twin Ports, or and iHeartRadio. I'm presuming that the basis for my appearance will be to talk about UMD.

A few nuggets to chew on, mostly courtesy of the NCAA media guide and weekly note packets filed by the participating leagues and teams.
  • Maine is making its first NCAA men's hockey tournament appearance since 2007, but the Black Bears have had at least one team or individual from its athletic program take part in an NCAA Tournament every year since 1986. Amazing run for a school probably not regarded as a sports powerhouse.
  • Maine won men's hockey national championships in 1993 and 1999, and played for titles in 2002 (lost in overtime to Minnesota) and 2004 (lost 1-0 to Denver). This program is not a stranger to the NCAA Tournament, though it's been a while since its last appearance.
  • The Black Bears are 7-1 all-time in NCAA games in Worcester. Boston College is 8-1, and its last three national championships have started with regionals in Worcester.
  • Maine coach Tim Whitehead is 10-6 (.625) in NCAA Tournament games. UMD's Scott Sandelin is 7-2 (.778).
Two regionals are underway Friday. In the East Regional in Bridgeport, Union faces Michigan State, and UMass-Lowell takes on Miami. Winners play Saturday in the regional final. The Midwest Regional in Green Bay kicks off with Michigan playing Cornell, and Denver battling Ferris State.

All the games in the tournament can be seen online at

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