UMD Women: NCAA, WCHA Sanctions

     Minnesota Duluth announced Tuesday that the NCAA and UMD have concluded a formal investigation of by-law violations concerning former UMD women’s student-athlete Iya Gavrilova of Russia, a freshman forward with the 2007-08 team. The point of contention involved payment to players on a team which Gavrilova played on in Russia before coming to UMD, making her ineligible. The NCAA investigation took more than a year to complete. Complete details will be at duluthnewstribune.com

Agreed Upon Actions to be Taken by UMD:
 
·       Declare the student athlete permanently ineligible.
 
·       Vacate all regular season games during the 2007-08 season in
which the ineligible student athlete played, and vacate the 2008 WCHA
regular season conference title.  UMD will retain the 2008 WCHA
Tournament Championship and the NCAA Championship titles.
 
·       Implement a revised procedure to evaluate eligibility of all
prospective student athletes. Beginning with the 2008-09 academic year,
all prospective international student athletes (and any prospective
student athletes who did not matriculate at a two or four year
institution immediately after high school graduation) will complete two
institutional forms disclosing all teams on which they have
participated since graduation or while in high school, if teams were
not directly sponsored by their high school.
 
·       The institution is required to preclude the women’s ice hockey
coaching staff from engaging in any on-or-off-campus recruiting
activities for a period of two weeks.
 
·       The violations will be discussed at further UMD coaches’
meetings, and each fall a coaches’ meeting will be dedicated to the
review of the amateurism process.
 
·       UMD is required to engage in a compliance review per NCAA
Division I by-law 20.4.4 by August 1, 2009.
 
 
The violations occurred when the student athlete competed during a
portion of the 2007-08 regular season while ineligible, because she had
previously participated on teams later deemed to be professional by
NCAA rules.  Prior to the investigation, UMD and the student athlete
were unaware of the status of those teams.
 
It was also determined that an additional violation occurred when a
former UMD student athlete was involved in the recruiting process,
contrary to NCAA by-laws.
 
All violations were determined by the NCAA to be secondary violations.
 
This investigation began when the University was alerted in January
2008 to a concern regarding the student athlete’s eligibility.  UMD
immediately contacted the NCAA about the issue, and worked
cooperatively with the NCAA in its investigation over the past year.

This matter has been formally reviewed by the NCAA and the
WCHA.  Consistent with its obligations as an NCAA and WCHA member, UMD
is committed to maintaining full compliance with all NCAA and WCHA
rules and regulations.

Moller to be honored in Boston

     Former three-time Grandma’s Marathon women’s champion and four-time Olympian Lorraine Moller of New Zealand is among the former stars to be honored at the 113th Boston Marathon next month. Moller will run in a 5K on April 19, the day before the marathon. Moller, 53, who lives in Colorado, won Grandma’s Marathon in 1979, 1980 and 1981 (when setting the former course record of 2:29:36.
     Also being recognized are Norway’s Ingrid Kristiansen and Ireland’s Neil Cusack. According to Runner’s World, we’re coming up on the 20th anniversary of Kristiansen’s 1989 Boston Marathon victory, the 25th anniversary of Moller’s 1984 championship and the 35th anniversary of Cusack’s 1974 triumph. The three will be honored in various festivities leading up to April 20′s Boston Marathon and all three champions will run the Boston Athletic Association 5K, which begins at Copley Square Park, and will be run on a loop course through the historic Back Bay neighborhood, using the same finish line as the Boston Marathon. It will have 4,000 entrants.

     Duluth native Kara Goucher of Portland, Ore., will be among the women’s favorites in the Boston Marathon.

UPDATED: Sharp Signs

This is simply a rewrite of an earlier post with a few more details:








MacGregor Sharp loaded up his 1993 Ford Ranger on Monday afternoon in Duluth, preparing to leave town on the way to his next step in hockey.

 Minnesota Duluth’s senior center from Red Deer, Alberta, had just signed a two-year contract with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks and is expected to debut Tuesday with the team’s American Hockey League franchise, the Iowa Chops of Des Moines.

“Every kid who ever puts on a pair of skates has a dream of playing professional hockey and that’s been my dream,” Sharp said Monday. “The way our season ended was a little disappointing, but we had a great year and these were the best four years of my life.”

A torrid finish to the college season for Sharp and the Bulldogs pushed his stock sky high. He recorded 14 goals and eight assists for 22 points in the final 13 games, including seven goals and 12 points in seven playoff games. For the season he led UMD’s scoring with 26 goals and 24 assists for 50 points in 43 games. In his college career he had 50 goals and 58 assists for 108 points in 157 games.

Anaheim contacted Sharp in the second week of the season and kept close tabs on him the past six months.  As the playoffs progressed, and UMD put together six straight wins, a number of other NHL teams entered the picture, including the Minnesota Wild.

“MacGregor was a dominant force in college hockey and was a star every night I saw him play,” said David McNab, Anaheim senior vice president for hockey operations. “He was easily one of the best players in Division I.”

Sharp, 23, undrafted by the NHL, signed a two-way contract which pays $152,500 a year if playing in the minor leagues or $700,000 a year in the NHL. He was a catalyst as UMD won the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff title and advanced to the NCAA Division I tournament. The Bulldogs lost in the West Regional title game to Miami of Ohio 2-1 Saturday night in Minneapolis.

Sharp, a business major, said he was checking with his UMD teachers before his departure and hopes to finish his school work at some point. The Iowa Chops, with six games left in the regular season, are battling for a spot in the AHL playoffs. The Chops (32-29) are sixth in the West Division and finish their schedule April 11. They are home tonight against Houston.

“He had a great year for us and a phenomenal finish,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said of Sharp. “He was so valuable in so many areas — faceoffs, scoring, penalty killing and leadership.”

With three games remaining in Division I this season – in the Frozen Four beginning April 9 – Sharp (6-foot-1 and 195 pounds) has the fourth-most points nationally (50) and second-most goals (26). It’s the second-most UMD goals of the past 14 years, behind Junior Lessard’s 32 in 2003-04.

     

It’s unsure if other UMD players will get professional offers in the near future. Drafted seniors are defenseman Josh Meyers (Los Angeles Kings) and forwards Michael Gergen (Pittsburgh) and Matt Greer (Columbus). Junior goalie Alex Stalock (San Jose) has also gained significant attention with an impressive season and post-season as a WCHA first-team pick.

UPDATED: Sharp Signs

     This is simply a rewrite of an earlier post with a few more details:





MacGregor Sharp loaded up his 1993 Ford Ranger on Monday afternoon in Duluth, preparing to leave town on the way to his next step in hockey.

 Minnesota Duluth’s senior center from Red Deer, Alberta, had just signed a two-year contract with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks and is expected to debut tonight with the team’s American Hockey League franchise, the Iowa Chops of Des Moines.

“Every kid who ever puts on a pair of skates has a dream of playing professional hockey and that’s been my dream,” Sharp said Monday. “The way our season ended was a little disappointing, but we had a great year and these were the best four years of my life.”

A torrid finish to the college season for Sharp and the Bulldogs pushed his stock sky high. He recorded 14 goals and eight assists for 22 points in the final 13 games, including seven goals and 12 points in seven playoff games. For the season he led UMD’s scoring with 26 goals and 24 assists for 50 points in 43 games. In his college career he had 50 goals and 58 assists for 108 points in 157 games.

Anaheim contacted Sharp in the second week of the season and kept close tabs on him the past six months.  As the playoffs progressed, and UMD put together six straight wins, a number of other NHL teams entered the picture, including the Minnesota Wild.

“MacGregor was a dominant force in college hockey and was a star every night I saw him play,” said David McNab, Anaheim senior vice president for hockey operations. “He was easily one of the best players in Division I.”

Sharp, 23, undrafted by the NHL, signed a two-way contract which pays $152,500 a year if playing in the minor leagues or $700,000 a year in the NHL. He was a catalyst as UMD won the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff title and advanced to the NCAA Division I tournament. The Bulldogs lost in the West Regional title game to Miami of Ohio 2-1 Saturday night in Minneapolis.

Sharp, a business major, said he was checking with his UMD teachers before his departure and hopes to finish his school work at some point. The Iowa Chops, with six games left in the regular season, are battling for a spot in the AHL playoffs. The Chops (32-29) are sixth in the West Division and finish their schedule April 11. They are home tonight against Houston.

“He had a great year for us and a phenomenal finish,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said of Sharp. “He was so valuable in so many areas — faceoffs, scoring, penalty killing and leadership.”

With three games remaining in Division I this season – in the Frozen Four beginning April 9 – Sharp (6-foot-1 and 195 pounds) has the fourth-most points nationally (50) and second-most goals (26). It’s the second-most UMD goals of the past 14 years, behind Junior Lessard’s 32 in 2003-04.

      It’s unsure if other UMD players will get professional offers in the near future. Drafted seniors are defenseman Josh Meyers (Los Angeles Kings) and forwards Michael Gergen (Pittsburgh) and Matt Greer (Columbus). Junior goalie Alex Stalock (San Jose) has also gained significant attention with an impressive season and post-season as a WCHA first-team pick.

Sharp signs with Anaheim

     Minnesota Duluth senior center MacGregor Sharp signed a free-agent contract Monday with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks and will be assigned to the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Iowa Chops in Des Moines. He’s expected to be in uniform Tuesday for a home game against Houston.

      "Every kid who ever puts on a pair of skates has a dream of playing professional hockey and that’s been my dream," Sharp said Monday before leaving for Des Moines. "The way our season ended was a little disappointing, but we had a great year and these were the best four years of my life."

     Sharp, 23, from Red Deer, Alberta, who was undrafted by the NHL, signed a two-year, two-way contract with Anaheim which will pay him $152,500 a year if playing in the minor leagues or $700,000 a year in the NHL. He led UMD in scoring this season with 50 points as the Bulldogs won the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff title and advanced to the NCAA Division I tournament. UMD lost in the West Regional title game to Miami of Ohio 2-1 Saturday night in Minneapolis. Sharp had 50 career goals.

    "He had a great year for us and a phenomenal finish," said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. "He was so valuable in so many areas — faceoffs, scoring, penalty killing and leadership."

       Anaheim senior vice president of hockey operations, David McNab, scouted Sharp in the second game of the college season, at home against Western Michigan, and kept tabs on the UMD center throughout the schedule.

     "MacGregor was a dominant force in college hockey and was a star every night I saw him play," said McNab. "He was easily one of the best players in Division I."

     Sharp was one of the hottest players in Division I the second half of the season and recorded 14 goals and eight assists for 22 points in the final 13 games. For the season he had 26 goals and 24 assists for 50 points in 43 games. In his UMD career he had 50 goals and 58 assists for 108 points in 157 games. Sharp planned to drive to Des Moines later Monday in his 1993 Ford Ranger, which he figured has already logged well over 100,000 miles.

     Iowa has six games left in the regular season and is battling for a spot in the AHL playoffs. The Chops (32-29) are sixth in the West Division of th AHL’s Western Conference, five points out of second.

Bemidji State: Another Magical Run

     John McRae of the Bemidji Pioneer, our sister paper with Forum Communications, has this glowing report of Bemidji State’s glowing win over Cornell in Sunday’s NCAA Midwest Regional title game in Grand Rapids, Mich. It seems, Bemidji State picked up the magical run theme from Minnesota Duluth: 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Bemidji State’s magical run through the NCAA Midwest Regional continued Sunday as the Beavers advanced to the Frozen Four with a 4-1 decision over Cornell at Van Andel Arena.

Three unanswered goals in third period capped the incredible run for the Beavers who become the first 16 seed in tournament history to advance to the Frozen Four since the field was expanded to 16 teams in 2002.

Bemidji State will next play West Regional winner Miami in the Frozen Four April 9 at 5 p.m. in Washington, D.C. Boston University and Vermont will play in the evening semifinal with the championship taking place Saturday, April 11.

“This is the program’s 942nd win – BSU has won 13 national championships and 21 conference titles. “R.H. Peters called me after the game and said this ranks right up there with the 31-0-0 national championship season.

“There’s something special about this program that you can’t really know about unless you are in the locker room or are affiliated with Beaver hockey.”

Entering the third period tied 1-1 the Beavers took control. Senior forward Tyler Scofield got what turned out to be the game winner at 4:05 of the third, taking a nice pass from Matt Read, striding up ice and scoring on a hard wrist shot low stick side past Cornell goalie Ben Scrivens.

“(Matt) Read kind sprung me and then I saw a defenseman dropping down. I just the shot go quick and it went in.”

Bemidji State extended the lead to 3-1 about five minutes later. Freshman Ben Kinne raced to a loose puck along the far boards in the BSU zone. He gained control of the puck, fought past a Cornell defender and got off a quick shot that was stopped by Scrivens. BSU’s Matt Francis was there to score off the rebound short side

Cornell pulled the goalie for an extra attacker with 3:47 remaining in the game. Scofield gathered in a pass from Read at the redline line and calmly lined a wrister in to the open net, providing some insurance It was Scofield’s fourth goal of the tournament.

Later in the period Bemidji State goalie Matt Dalton stole the show with a spectacular glove save off a shot hard from Michael Kennedy from point blank range.

“It was battle,” Dalton said after out-dueling one of the nation’s top goaltenders in Scrivens for the second night in a row. “When (Scofield) scored that second goal I thought, ‘Oh my gosh …’ I just knew that once we got up we would shut them down. The defense had been playing so well and the forwards were back checking like crazy.”

Special teams were the story of the first period as Bemidji State killed three penalties and Cornell two. BSU killed near back to back minors at about the halfway point of the period.

Cornell had only one good opportunity on the three power play opportunities and just two shots. Colin Greening got off a quick backhand near the crease less than three minutes into the game, only to be stopped by Dalton.

The Beavers had two good chances, one on the power play. The first as a strong wrist shot from the point that surprised Scrivens a bit. The puck hit him in the chest and Scrivens left a rebound in front. BSU’s Francis was close, but couldn’t get a stick on it before the puck was swept away. Brandon Marino also had a chance from in close with four minutes remaining, but Scrivens made a sliding save.

The teams traded goals in the second period, both coming just over two minutes apart and both following a face off. Cornell scored first as defenseman Keir Ross got the puck on a face off play and shot a wrister that was tipped in front by Sean Collins past Dalton at 12:35.

It was the first deficit the Beavers had faced in the tournament and the question was how they would respond. “I was definitely nervous after they scored,” Serratore said. “They were making it extremely hard to get to the net and tough for us to score.”

Ultimately, BSU answered quickly. BSU defender Ryan Adams connected on a wrist shot from the top of the near circle after Scofield won a face off. Matt Read and Matt Francis created traffic in front and the puck slipped by the screened Scrivens at14:25. It was Adams’ first career goal at BSU.

The Beavers held a 10-9 shot advantage in the period and had two additional chances to score. Shea Walters got off a good wrist shot at 4:30 with the Beavers on the power play that was saved by Scrivens. Ben Kinne also had a nice chance right before the Beaver goal.

Cornell also had chances in the period. Kennedy made a nice move inside past a BSU defender and got off a good shot from in close that was saved by Dalton. That led to a major scramble in front that generated three more Cornell shots. Dalton was able to stop them all, however.

Cornell held a 26-22 shot advantage for the game. Dalton got the win, making 25 saves. Scrivens had 17 on 20 shots faced.

“We believed,” said Serratore. “That’s what happens – you believe in your program and your team. We knew what we were up against, but we also believed. We really felt we could win this. We knew it was an uphill battle, I mean come on, who’s kidding who?”

In the regional the Beavers defeated the second ranked team in the country in Notre Dame and then the ninth ranked team in Cornell. To be sure, an uphill battle.

Cornell coach Mike Schafer. “We put ourselves in position to advance to the Frozen Four,” he said, “that’s every team’s dream. We had our opportunities but just couldn’t convert. We talked about their top line and they ended up scoring three of the four goals, while our top line didn’t score.

“I was really happy with how our guys played; they gave it their all. It just wasn’t meant to be.

“Congratulations to BSU – the win was very well deserved.”

NCAA Midwest Regional All Tournament team:

F – Tyler Scofield, BSU

F-Matt Read, BSU

F- Evan Barlow, Cornell

D-Brad Hunt, BSU

D-Ryan Adams, BSU

G-Matt Dalton, BSU

Most Valuable Player:

Tyler Scofield

UPSET: BSU beats Cornell 4-1

     Unranked Bemidji State defeated No. 11 Cornell 4-1 to win the NCAA Division I Midwest Regional title Sunday night in Grand Rapids, Mich.
     Bemidji State (20-15-1) eliminated No. 2-rated Notre Dame 5-1 in Saturday’s semifinals.
     The Beavers of College Hockey American become the lowest seed to ever advance to the Frozen Four and is the first Division I semifinal appearance in school history. Bemidji State will meet Miami of Ohio (22-12-5) in the semifinals April 9 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Miami beat Minnesota Duluth 2-1 in Saturday’s West Regional final in Minneapolis.
     No. 1 Boston University (33-6-4) plays No. 9 Vermont (22-11-5) in the other Frozen Four semifinal.
     Bemidji State trailed 1-0 in the first period before scoring the final four goals, two from senior forward Tyler Scofield, one from linemate Matt Francis (both players from British Columbia), and one from sophomore defenseman Ryan Adams. Sophomore Matt Dalton was in goal for the Beavers.
     Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore, in his eighth season and a former player at the school, is from Coleraine and assistant coach Bert Gilling is a former UMD captain.
     Cornell finished 22-10-4.

     Bemidji State gained an automatic NCAA tournament berth by winning the College Hockey America playoff title, but was not in the PairWise Rankings so, in essence got the No. 16 seed in the 16-team tournament.

     "We get to represent the state of Minnesota and we’re proud of that. You don’t know if something like this is ever going to happen again," Serratore told ESPNU after the game.

     During the regular season Minnesota Duluth beat Bemidji State 3-2 and 4-2 in January at the DECC. 

     Boston University moved on to the Frozen Four with a 2-1 victory over New Hampshire in the Northeast Regional final Sunday afternoon in Manchester, N.H. The Terriers needed a power-play goal with less than a minute to play to secure its first Frozen Four berth since 1997.

      BU (33-6-4) is the only No. 1 regional seed to advance, and the Terriers will meet fellow Hockey East member Vermont (22-11-5) in the semifinals April 9 in Washington, D.C.

Sunday: Title Game Review

      Here are a couple of other stories on Saturday’s NCAA West Regional title hockey game at Mariucci Arena in Twin Cities newspaper Sunday editions:

Roman Augustoviz, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Minnesota Duluth, the last of three WCHA teams still alive in the NCAA tournament, bowed out on Saturday night with a last gasp but no miracle finish this time.

Miami (Ohio) edged the Bulldogs 2-1 in the West Regional final before an announced crowd of 7,554 at Mariucci Arena, ending UMD’s playoff-winning streak at six.

It appeared that 95 percent of the fans were rooting for the Bulldogs. They had little to cheer about until senior center MacGregor Sharp’s goal with 2 minutes, 5 seconds left brought UMD within one goal.

On Friday, the Bulldogs scored twice in the last 40 seconds of the third period and then beat Princeton 5-4 in overtime in the first round. But UMD could not get a second late goal against Miami freshman goalie Cody Reichard. He stopped 25 of 26 shots.

"We tried to do what we did last night and got halfway there," UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. "[Reichard] played well and I thought he was the difference."

Justin Mercier scored both of Miami’s goals in the second period, one shorthanded, the other on the power play. His 13th and 14th goals of the season enabled the RedHawks (22-12-5) to advance to their first Frozen Four in six NCAA tournament appearances.

This is the first time the WCHA will not have at least one team in the Frozen Four since 1999. Earlier on Saturday, New Hampshire beat North Dakota 6-5 in overtime in the Northeast Regional. Denver fell 4-2 to Miami on Friday in the first round of the West.

The RedHawks, after having one shot in the first period, started hitting UMD players whenever possible in a penalty-filled second period and Mercier provided all the offense they would need.

With the RedHawks shorthanded, the senior left winger scored his first goal on a 2-on-1 rush. He beat UMD goaltender Alex Stalock high on the glove side at 8:42.

Then, with 4 minutes left in the period, Mercier scored on a power play. RedHawks defenseman Chris Wideman took a shot from just inside the blue line and there was Mercier, unmovable near the crease tipping the puck past Stalock.

In between, UMD (22-13-8) had a goal by sophomore forward Justin Fontaine waved off. A shot by Sharp from the right dot hit Fontaine and sneaked underneath Reichard into the net. But after a long review of replays, the officials ruled Fontaine was in the crease and obscuring the goalie’s vision.

"[The puck] did go off the inside of my skate," Fontaine said. "But I did not touch the goalie. I got spun around by a D-man."

Said Sandelin: "Was his foot in? Yeah. "But they were battling for the puck. I can’t say what I want to say. I have to live with it."

Bruce Brothers, St. Paul Pioneer Press

For a minute, it looked as if Minnesota-Duluth’s magical mystery tour might stay alive Saturday night.

Not this time, however.

A last-ditch shot hit traffic in front of the net, and the Bulldogs came up short, losing 2-1 to Miami University in the NCAA West Regional men’s hockey final in front of 7,554 at Mariucci Arena.

The RedHawks, sparked by two goals from tournament most valuable player Justin Mercier, earned a trip to the Frozen Four for the first time.

"Boy, did he ever come to play this weekend," RedHawks coach Enrico Blasi said of Mercier.

So did UMD, which outshot Miami 26-19 but couldn’t repeat the dramatics of Friday night when the Bulldogs scored two goals in the final 40 seconds to force overtime before notching a 5-4 overtime victory over Princeton in the semifinals.

As he did against Princeton, Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker while trailing by two goals, this time with 3:35 left in the third.

"You’ve got to go for it," he said.

When the Bulldogs’ MacGregor Sharp hammered in a puck that popped into the crease to make it 2-1 with 2:05 remaining, things looked hopeful for UMD.

But Miami had other ideas.

"We didn’t want to fall victim to the same thing as Princeton," Mercier said.

It ended the season for UMD (22-13-8), which ended Minnesota’s season a week ago during the WCHA Final Five in St. Paul.

The RedHawks took awhile to get untracked and were unable to get a shot on goal until 3:40 remained in the first period.
 

But they capitalized on a great play by Mercier while killing a penalty 8 1/2 minutes into the second period to snap a scoreless tie. Mercier knocked the puck loose in the neutral zone, skated in on the right and whistled a short-handed shot past goaltender Alex Stalock’s glove side to make it 1-0 after 8:48.

UMD appeared to tie the score two minutes later, but a power-play shot by MacGregor Sharp that ended up going under Miami goalie Cody Reichard was disallowed because UMD’s Justin Fontaine had his right skate in the crease in front of Reichard.

"It was close," Reichard said.

Sandelin said, "I can’t say what I really want to say, but they made the call and you’ve got to live with it."

The Bulldogs’ power play had a golden opportunity to tie the score when the RedHawks took three penalties in less than two minutes, giving UMD a five-on-three edge in skaters for two full minutes, but Reichard was there to thwart every shot.

Then Miami went on a power play and boom, it was 2-0. Mercier, standing in front of Stalock, deflected in a point shot by Chris Wideman for a two-goal lead at the 16:00 mark.

UMD had many other chances, including a first-period blast off the post by Fontaine, and they applied heavy pressure again at the end.

"We thought we could do it again," Fontaine said, "but it just wasn’t for us tonight."

Final: Miami 2, UMD 1

      MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota Duluth was holding the banner of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association on Saturday as it looked to continue its successful playoff run on the home ice of rival University of Minnesota.

     Three WCHA schools began play in the NCAA Division I men’s tournament over the weekend, but in less than 24 hours, UMD was the only one standing.

      Miami of Ohio did the WCHA one better, toppling UMD 2-1 in the West Regional title game at Mariucci Arena, standing up for the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, and advancing to the NCAA semifinals. The No. 13-ranked RedHawks (22-12-5) got two second-period goals from senior winger Justin Mercier to gain the upper on the way to the Frozen Four for the first time and a meeting with the Midwest Regional winner April 9 in the NCAA semifinals at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

     No. 7 UMD (22-13-8) saw its impressive post-season streak end after six straight wins as a crowd of 7,554 looked on. The Bulldogs averted their first shut out of the season as MacGregor Sharp scored with 2:05 to play from the crease. UMD led in shots on goal 26-19, had a goal disallowed, was blanked on a two-man advantage power play (and was 0-for-6 on power plays), not to mentioned hitting a couple of pipes. Freshman goalie Cody Reichard was solid for a second straight game.

      “No team is ever out of it. We believed in every single one of us in the locker room,” said UMD sophomore winger Justin Fontaine. “We kept battling.”

     The CCHA has also taken its lumps with No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 4 Michigan and No. 15 Ohio State all going out in the first round.

     For the WCHA, on Friday, in the West Regional, Miami upset top seed Denver 4-2; and on Saturday, in the Northeast Regional in Manchester, N.H., host and No. 3 seed New Hampshire rallied to shock No. 2 North Dakota 6-5 in overtime.

      WCHA regular-season champion North Dakota and league runner up Denver were gone. The Bulldogs got behind 2-0 and couldn’t recover against a defensive Miami team.

      “We knew they wouldn’t have the pace of Princeton, but they capitalized on their chances and we didn’t,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin about coach Enrico Blasi’s team. “You’re darn right I thought we could come back at the end. You have to go for it and try to do what we did Friday [rallying with two goals at the end of regulation play.] We got halfway there.”

      UMD outshot Miami 6-1 in the first period and 17-10 through two, but the RedHawks got their first goal on an unassisted Mercier shorthanded rush at 8:42 of the second. He then tipped a drive by defenseman Chris Wideman with four minutes left in the second for a two-goal lead.

     Between those goals, UMD had plenty of chances, including 69 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play. The Bulldogs thought they’d scored on a Sharp power-play attempt that went off Fontaine’s skate with 9:19 left in the second period (to get even at 1-1). But Fontaine was called for being in the crease.

    “[The officials] said he was in the crease and impeding the vision of the goaltender. They made the call and you live with it,” said Sandelin.

     UMD’s good fortune and exceptional play of the past two weeks was waning at that point.

     In the NCAA’s first four games, the only higher-seeded team to win was UMD, and that took a bit of doing. The Bulldogs needed two goals in the final 40 seconds of regulation play and then an overtime goal to escape Princeton 5-4 in sudden death in Friday’s West Regional semifinals.

       Miami had its own 5-on-3 for 68 seconds in the third period and didn’t score. Sharp hit a pipe midway through the period and defenseman Josh Meyers was turned away by Reichard from point-blank range with 6:00 left. Goalie Alex Stalock was pulled with 3:29 left for an extra attacker and Sharp’s 26th goal of the season and 50th of his career came from the crease with 2:05 remaining.

     The crowd screamed, much like on Friday, but there would be no miraculous finish this time.

     “Sharpy’s goal gave us a lot of life on the bench. We thought we could do it again, but it wasn’t going to happen,” said UMD defenseman Mike Montgomery. “I’m just really proud to go so far as we did when at the start of the season not too many people thought it would happen.”

      Miami, from Oxford, Ohio, and UMD were meeting for the first time in hockey.

      In qualifying for Saturday’s NCAA quarterfinal game, the Bulldogs kept their streak alive of competing in six Division I tournament and advancing at least to the quarterfinal round.

      Miami was playing in its second regional final in two years, having lost to eventual Division I champion Boston College 4-3 in overtime in the Northeast Regional championship game in Worcester, Mass.

      UMD brought a six-game post-season win streak into the quarterfinal game, the most consecutive victories since a nine-game streak in 2003-04. Miami entered the NCAAs with a 2-4-1 mark the previous seven games, but led throughout in eliminating Denver. The RedHawks are in the Division I tournament for a fourth straight year.

      In UMD’s last NCAA appearance, the Bulldogs won the 2004 Midwest Regional, defeating Minnesota 3-1 in the finals in Grand Rapids, Mich.

NCAA West Regional
All-Tournament Team

     Forwards — Justin Mercier, Miami; Mike Connolly, Minnesota Duluth; Brett Wilson, Princeton.
     Defensemen — Evan Oberg, Minnesota Duluth; Cameron Schilling, Miami.
     Goalie — Cody Reichard, Miami.
     MVP — Justin Mercier, Miami

 Miami of Ohio….…….……..0-2-0–2

Minnesota Duluth…………0-0-1–1

    First period – No scoring. Penalties – Vincent LoVerde, Miami (interference), 9:30; Josh Meyers, UMD (holding), 16:20.

   Second period – 1. Miami, Justin Mercier13, 8:42 (sh); 2. Miami, Mercier (Chris Wideman, Cameron Schilling), 16:00 (pp). Penalties – Jack Connolly, UMD (hooking), 1:58; Justin Vaive, Miami (holding), 7:23; Jarod Palmer, Miami (hooking), 9:11; Wideman, Miami (interference), 9:23; Will Weber, Miami (interference), 12:14; Kevin Roeder, Miami (roughing), 13:04; Mike Connolly, UMD (double-minor, hitting after whistle, roughing), 14:19; Tommy Wingels, Miami (hitting after whistle), 14:19; Jordan Fulton, UMD (interference), 17:08. 

   Third period – 3. UMD, MacGregor Sharp 26 (M. Connolly, Evan Oberg), 17:55. Penalties – Nick Kemp, UMD (checking from behind), 4:42; Matt Greer, UMD (interference), 5:34; MacGregor Sharp, UMD (holding), 11:40. 

   Shots on goal – Miami 1-9-9–19, UMD 6-11-9–26. Goalies – Cody Reichard (9-7-2), Miami (26 shots-25 saves); Alex Stalock (22-13-8), UMD (19 shots-17 saves). Power plays – Miami 1-of-7, UMD 0-of-6. Referees – Jeff Bunyon, Jim Benedetto. Linesmen – Bob Bernard, Chris Aughe. A – 7,554.