The Northeast Regional will take place at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire. The first round of 16 game will take place at 4:30pm EST on Friday afternoon, followed by the second game at 8:00pm EST later that day. The regional final will take place at 6:30pm EST on Saturday evening.
Top seed UMass-Lowell will take on fourth-seeded Wisconsin, while second seed New Hampshire will take on third seed Denver.
Here's a look at the four teams that will make up this regional:
University of Massachusetts-Lowell
Head Coach: Norm Bazin (UML '94)
Location: Lowell, MA
Automatic Bid - Hockey East Champions
Leading Scorers: Jr. Joseph Pendenza (13 goals and 23 assists), So. Scott Wilson (15 and 19), Jr. Derek Arnold (12 and 16), Sr. Riley Wetmore (15 and 11), Jr. Josh Holmstrom (12 and 12)
Top Goaltender: Fr. Connor Hellebuyck (18-2-0, 1.39 GAA, .949 sv. pct)
UMass-Lowell got off to a tough start in part due to a tough early schedule, but also because the team really didn't gel until around Christmas time. The emergence of freshman Connor Hellebuyck in goal certainly helped the Riverhawks.
Norm Bazin tries to even out the lines, but UML has six very skilled forwards led by sophomore and Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick Scott Wilson. Leading scorer Joseph Pendenza has come on strong as a junior. Josh Holmstrom, Riley Wetmore and Derek Arnold are key figures up front.
Junior Chad Ruhwedel is one of the best defensemen in the country. He really does all the little things well and logs a lot of ice time. He has good vision up ice and contributes to the offensive side of things.
University of Wisconsin
Head Coach: Mike Eaves
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Leading scorers: Michael Mersch, jr., 23-13-36, Nic Kerdiles, fr., 10-22-32, Mark Zengerle, jr., 9-23-32
Top goalie: Joel Rumpel, so., 16-8-4, 1.85 GAA, .933 SV%
It's been a tale of two seasons for Wisconsin this year. After finding out that top freshman Nic Kerdiles would miss the first month of the season literally hours before their first exhibition game, and suffering a rash of injuries, the Badgers got off to an abysmal start to the season. They were 1-7-2 after Thanksgiving and looked like they were done for the season.
But as their lineup returned to full strength, the Badgers became one of the toughest teams in the country, ending the year on a 21-5-5 run that included a WCHA playoff championship that they needed to win to secure a bid to the NCAA tournament.
The Badgers are a defense-first counterattacking team, but when they get opportunities, players like Kerdiles, Mersch, and Tyler Barnes are deadly finishers. The power play has been a struggle for Wisconsin all season, but they might be one of the toughest teams in the country to play 5-on-5.
University of New Hampshire
Head Coach: Dick Umile (UNH '72)
Location: Durham, NH
Leading Scorers: Sr. Kevin Goumas (10 goals and 32 assists), Sr. John Henrion (14 goals), Sr. Austin Block (15 goals), So. Grayson Downing (15 goals and 15 assists), So. Trevor van Riemsdyk (7 goals and 24 assists)
Top Goaltender: So. Casey DeSmith (18-9-7, 2.24 GAA, .924 sv. pct)
The Wildcats started off on fire, but had a disappointing second half. The epitome of that is sophomore goaltender Casey DeSmith. He had four shutouts by November 16th and was stopping everything in sight. He was not solely to blame for the second half collapse, but his play fell off.
UNH certainly has some weapons offensively and has three or four defensemen who can really move the puck up ice and contribute to the scoring. The Wildcats get the luxury of hosting a regional in nearby Manchester.
University of Denver
Location: Denver, Colorado
Leading scorers: Nick Shore, jr., 14-19-33, Chris Knowlton, sr., 13-16-29, Joey LaLeggia, so. 11-18-29
Top Goalie: Juho Olkinuora, 13-5-5, 2.28 GAA, .929 SV%
At their best, the Pioneers are one of the strongest, most talented teams in the country. The problem is that it is near impossible to tell which Pioneers team will show up on any given night.
Nick Shore and a group of veteran journeymen forwards lead the Pioneers offense. The Pioneers also get a lot of offense from the deepest blue line in the country, including Joey LaLeggia, who is one of the country's best offensive defensemen.
The Pioneers lost their first round playoff series to rival ColoradoCollege, so the extra week of rest could help the Pioneers. After winning back-to-back titles nearly a decade ago, Denver has struggled to produce positive results in the NCAA tournament.
(WCH's Jeff Cox also contributed to this post.)