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NCAA East Regional: Harvard vs. Providence Pregame Notes and Line Combinations

Matt Dewkett/SB Nation

PROVIDENCE -- Good afternoon and welcome inside Dunkin' Donuts Center in downtown Providence, Rhode Island for the start of the 2017 NCAA Tournament East Regional. Today's first semifinal is set for a 4 p.m. puck drop, featuring No. 2 Harvard University and Providence College.

The game will be televised live on ESPNU and WatchESPN with John Buccigross, Barry Melrose and Quint Kessenich on the call.

The Crimson is the tournament's No. 3 overall seed and won its second ECAC championship in three seasons last weekend with victories over Quinnipiac and Cornell. Sophomore Ryan Donato scored two power-play goals to lead Harvard to a 4-1 victory over the Big Red for the title, while junior Merrick Madsen was named Most Outstanding Player after making 52 saves on 52 shots in the two games.

Harvard was a No. 3 regional seed in each of the last two seasons. This marks the Crimson's first time being a top seed since 1983 when it lost to Wisconsin for the national title, and also just its second 20-win season in the last 10.

Harvard’s current 15-game unbeaten streak dates back to an 8-4 loss at Dartmouth Jan. 17 and is ten games longer than any other team in college hockey. Senior Sean Malone has scored eight of his 18 goals and 22 of his 42 points during that stretch.

The Friars finished fifth in Hockey East this winter, but dropped a pair of quarterfinal games at Notre Dame in their last game action two weekends ago. Now, they return to the very building in which their 2015 national championship run began.

Junior Brian Pinho leads the Friars with 28 assists and 40 points, while sophomore Erik Foley has 15 goals. Pinho scored both Friar goals in their 5-2 loss to the Irish March 11 and has points in six of his last seven games.

Providence, one of just three teams in the country to advance to four straight NCAA Tournaments, swept a series from No. 1 Denver to close the 2016 calendar year and is 3-4-3 against teams in this year’s tournament field.

Here are today's lines:

FRIARS (22-11-5)

Erik Foley - Brian Pinho - Josh Wilkins
Brandon Duhaime - Scott Conway - Ryan Tait
Niko Rufo - Bryan Lemos - Kasper Bjorkqvist
Conor MacPhee - Robbie Hennessey

Jake Walman - Spenser Young
Kyle McKenzie - Josh Monk
Jacob Bryson - Vincent Desharnais
Anthony Florentino

Hayden Hawkey
Kris Carlson
Brendan Leahy

CRIMSON (26-5-2)

Ryan Donato - Alexander Kerfoot - Lewis Zerter-Gossage
Luke Esposito - Sean Malone - Tyler Moy
Phil Zielonka - Jake Horton - Nathan Krusko
Devin Tringale - Ty Pelton-Byce - Michael Floodstrand

Wiley Sherman - John Marino
Jacob Olson - Adam Fox
Viktor Dombrovskiy - Clay Anderson

Merrick Madsen
Cameron Gornet
Sihak Lee