The Middlebury College men's ice hockey team will make its 10th straight NCAA Tournament appearance this weekend when they host Wentworth in an NCAA Quarterfinal. The game will take place on Saturday, March 13th at 7:00 p.m. in the Kenyon Arena.
Middlebury earned the right to play in the tournament by capturing its fourth NESCAC Championship in the five years the tournament has existed. Wentworth also earned an automatic bid with a 5-4 upset over Curry in the title game of the ECAC Northeast conference. These two teams met back in the 2002 NCAA Quarterfinals at Kenyon Arena, with Middlebury winning 6-0 and 9-1 in the two-game series. The teams also battled to a 4-4 tie during the '00-'01 regular season.
The Panthers enter the tournament with a 22-5-2 overall record in NCAA Tournament play since '95. The defense leads the nation, allowing just 1.66 goals/contest this season. Middlebury also ranks in the top five in scoring (5.13 goals/game), scoring margin, winning percentage and penalty kill (.906). NESCAC Player of the Year Kevin Cooper leads the team in scoring this season with 30 goals and 20 assists for 50 points on the year. Adam Foote (13-19-32), Evgeny Saidachev (9-18-27) and John Dawson (14-12-26) round out the top scorers. Marc Scheuer has become the team's top netminder with a 14-2 record and a nation's best 1.46 goals against average. He also ranks in the top 10 with a .921 save percentage and a .875 winning percentage.
Wentworth will be making its third consecutive and fourth overall NCAA Tournament appearance. The Leopards are 0-5 in NCAA play entering this weekend's quarterfinal match-up. Brad Carpenter (15-21-36), Alex Marinkovich (16-13-29) and Blayne Goodman (8-18-26) lead the team in scoring. In goal, Bryce McFadden is 6-1-2 with a 2.49 GAA, while Raj Bhangoo is 10-7-2 with a 2.68 GAA.
2004 NCAA Division III Men's Hockey Tournament
First-Round, Wednesday, March 10th
St. Thomas (17-7-3) @ Wis.-River Falls (20-5-4) - 8:05 est.
Quarterfinals, Saturday, March 13th
St. Thomas/Wis.-River Falls @ St. Norbert (25-2-2) - 8:00 est.
Curry (24-3-1) @ Plattsburgh (22-4-3) - 7:00
Hobart (15-7-5) @ Norwich (23-3) - 7:00
Wentworth (16-8-4) @ Middlebury (24-3) - 7:00
Semifinals, Friday, March 19th - site TBA
St. Thomas/Wis.-River Falls @ St. Norbert winner vs. Curry @ Plattsburgh winner
Hobart @ Norwich winner vs. Wentworth @ Middlebury winner
Championship, Saturday, March 20th - site TBA