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Midwest Regional Preview

Notre Dame is the top seed in Toledo

Notre Dame and Miami could meet in the regional final
Notre Dame and Miami could meet in the regional final
Jonathan Daniel

The Midwest Regional will take place at the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio. The first round of 16 game will take place at 1:30pm EST on Saturday afternoon, with the second round of 16 game to follow at 5:00pm EST.

Top seed Notre Dame will meet fourth seed St. Cloud, while second seed Miami will take on Minnesota State.

Here's a look at the four teams that will make up this regional:

University of Notre Dame

Nickname: Fighting Irish

Location: South Bend, Indiana

Enrollment: 11,773

Leading scorers: Anders Lee, jr, 19-18-37, Bryan Rust, jr., 15-18-33, Jeff Costello, jr., 10-18-28

Top goalie: Steven Summerhays, jr., 20-11-2, 1.96 GAA, .921 SV%

It's been a wild year for Notre Dame. The Irish came into the year as one of the favorites in the CCHA, and for the first half of the season, looked like they would live up to that hype. They dominated the first half of the season, jumping out to a big lead in the CCHA standings, and a spot among the top five teams in the country. But a disastrous month of January put the Irish on the NCAA tournament bubble. They righted the ship enough late in the season to earn their way into the tournament with a strong CCHA playoff performance, and come into the tournament with a roster talented enough to scare anybody.

There's talent all over the Irish roster. They've got two deadly scoring lines, and a very big, very mean defense. If there's a weakness for Notre Dame, it's that that offense sometimes disappears for them, and goalie Steven Summerhays can be a bit inconsistent in goal.

St. Cloud State University

Nickname: Huskies

Location: St. Cloud, Minnesota

Enrollment: 16,457

Leading scorers: Drew Leblanc, sr., 13-37-50, Nic Dowd, jr., 14-25-39, Jonny Brodzinski, fr., 21-11-32

Top Goalie: Ryan Faragher, so, 22-13-1, 2.24 GAA, .914 SV%

The Huskies were one of the biggest surprises in college hockey this year. They came into the year expected to be a middle-of-the-pack WCHA team, but surprised the league and took home the school's first ever WCHA regular season title.

The big key for the Huskies has been their ability to put together two fantastic scoring lines. The passing of fifth year senior Drew Leblanc helped turn freshmen Jonny Brodzinski and Kalle Kossila into 30+ point scorers, while the second line with Nic Dowd and Ben Hanowski is as good as any second line in the country.

While the Huskies were phenomenal in WCHA play this year, they really struggled in non-conference play this year, getting swept by New Hampshire and Northern Michigan, and splitting with RPI. Seeing some unfamiliar opponents in the tournament could be difficult for them.

Miami University

Nickname: RedHawks

Location: Oxford, Ohio

Enrollment: 20,126

Leading scorers: Riley Barber, fr., 15-23-38, Austin Czarnik, so., 14-24-38, Curtis McKenzie, sr. 10-13-23

Top goalie: Ryan McKay, fr., 1.37 GAA, .948 SV%

The RedHawks came into the season with some serious question marks, with two freshmen goalies vying for playing time, and losing a few key recruits to the OHL. But both freshman goalies were outstanding for Miami, and their top line of Barber, Czarnik, and McKenzie were dominating, and by the end of the year, they had captured the final CCHA regular season title. Miami faces a pretty big drop-off in production after their first line, but the speed of Czarnik and the finishing ability of Barber make that line incredibly difficult to stop.

Goalie Ryan McKay missed some time due to injury this year, but his numbers have been incredible when he's been healthy.

Minnesota State University

Nickname: Mavericks

Location: Mankato, Minnesota

Enrollment: 15,649

At-large bid, WCHA

Leading scorers: Matt Leitner, so., 17-30-47, Eriah Hayes, sr., 20-16-36, Jean-Paul LaFontaine, so., 9-26-35

Top goalie: Stephon Williams, fr., 21-11-2, 1.96 GAA, .925 SV%

Minnesota State is making their second ever trip to the NCAA tournament, and first since 2003. The Mavericks experienced a bit of a renaissance this year, brought about by first year head coach and WCHA Coach of the Year Mike Hastings.

Minnesota State relies on a fast and deep group of forwards, and an excellent power play for their offense. Defensively, they make up for a lack of high end skill on the blue line by playing a safe, conservative style of hockey, and have received excellent goaltending from WCHA Rookie of the Year Stephon Williams.

(WCH's Jeff Cox also contributed to this post.)