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Evan Ritt and Denver defeated Western Michigan in the NCHC third-place game (photo: Bradley K. Olson).

Of the four regionals in the 2017 Division I men’s NCAA tournament, only the Midwest Regional can say it has three teams entering on the heels of a victory.

For top overall seed Denver, it was in a third-place game of the NCHC Frozen Faceoff in which it rested a number of regular players.

Midwest Regional, Cincinnati

• Denver vs. Michigan Tech, 1 p.m. EDT Saturday, ESPNews

• Union vs. Penn State, 4:30 p.m. EDT Saturday, ESPN3

• Regional championship, 6 p.m. EDT Sunday, ESPNU

For tournament newcomer Penn State, it was in a double-overtime marathon in the Big Ten title game. The Nittany Lions, however, had already clinched a spot in the NCAA field.

For WCHA champion Michigan Tech, a victory Saturday was what launched the Huskies into the tournament.

Union joins the group playing at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati on Saturday and Sunday. Denver faces off against Michigan Tech in the first round, reprising a matchup that used to be common when both were in the WCHA.

Penn State plays Union in Saturday’s second regional semifinal. The teams have played four times, with the Dutchmen winning them all.

The Nittany Lions, however, are one of the top stories of the 2017 tournament. Playing in just their fifth season as a varsity program, they sealed their spot with a double-overtime victory over Big Ten regular season champion Minnesota on Friday.

Another double overtime later — and in its third game in three days — Penn State won its first league title on Saturday with a victory over Wisconsin.

“I know how hard it is to get there and how you have to be really good and you have to be really fortunate,” Nittany Lions coach Guy Gadowsky said after Saturday’s game, “and we’re going to enjoy every minute of it because it’s really hard to do.”

Union lost to Cornell 4-1 in the ECAC Hockey semifinals on Friday, ending a seven-game unbeaten streak.

The Dutchmen are back in the NCAA field for the first time since winning the championship in 2014.

Hobey Baker Award finalist Mike Vecchione is one of six players from that team on this year’s Union roster. He leads the team and is second in the country with 29 goals this season.

Denver rebounded from a 1-0 loss to North Dakota in the NCHC semifinals to down Western Michigan 3-1 in the consolation game on Saturday.

Friday’s loss is the only one the Pioneers have suffered since Jan. 20.

Senior defenseman Will Butcher is also one of the 10 Hobey finalists.

Michigan Tech hosted the WCHA championship game in front of a sold-out crowd of 4,466 on Saturday and outlasted Bowling Green 3-2 in two overtimes.

Senior defenseman Shane Hanna scored the winner for the Huskies, who made the tournament for the second time in three seasons.

  • DrunkTrainPolka

    .
    BRING ON DENVER!

    really, hit me. come on, do it!

    GO TECH GOLD!
    .

    • Jeff Hudy

      Sorry bro but ur running into a buzz saw called Denver but I hope tech can do it before u lose ur great coach to maze n blue!

      • bose301s

        Pearson isn’t going anywhere, he makes more at Tech than Red makes at U of M, plus Tech is a program on the upswing while Michigan is a program on the decline.

        • higgins-1989@mail.ru

          I was paid 104000 dollars previous 12 month period by doing an internet based task and consequently I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r several hours on a daily basis. I tried work opportunity I found out online and also I am excited that I was capable to earn such good money. It is seriously newbie-friendly and therefore I’m so pleased that I found out regarding it. Have a look at exactly what I do… www­.­cat­.­org­.­uk/snip/93439

      • Roaring Aardvark

        Why?
        I can see guys like Newell Brown and Bob Mancini, who had no ties to Tech, using that job as a stepping stone to bigger and better things, but don’t forget that Pearson is a Tech alum who played for John MacInnes. He’s someone who understands what Tech’s program once was, and what it can be again.
        Might Michigan associate HC Billy Powers be a more logical choice?

        • DrunkTrainPolka

          .
          or muckalt… the other billy.
          .

      • DrunkTrainPolka

        .
        who is running into a buzz saw is possibly denver – not tech. we have nothing to lose… they do. for us its a joy ride…

        its a great opportunity on our end… its danger on theirs.

        pearson? who knows… we are four years short of an 100 year program. it takes a techie at tech – he is that. this place is not for everyone.

        if he leaves, good for him. but then we would not want him to be here anyway, right?!? with that being said, he has the chance of a legend here in the copper country. at michigan he will always be under red’s shadow.

        our program is soaring under him… he would be dumb in not taking the chance… on us.

        pearson… please stay.
        .

      • Gary Jorgenson

        Jeff look at the goalies records. It tells the story. Tech endured 8 disastrous games without Redmond in goal. Denver is just another game for Tech, while Denver is the team under pressure and their offense sure ain’t no Buzzsaw! As far as Mel leaving you are grossly mistaken! As a Suite holder and major advertising supporter I know Mel wants to retire at MTU which along with restoring Tech to a National Power and winning a National Championship or two!

        • PiGuy

          Who’s offense “ain’t no buzzsaw”? Denver is averaging 4.3 gpg over their last 18 and had 5 or more in an 8 game stretch during that run. For the season they’re averaging 3.3 gpg. So they’ve been picking it up down the stretch.

          • Husky1992

            3.3 ppl is not a buzz saw. Harvard above 4 ppg – that’s a buzz saw. In this bracket Penn State 3.97 and Union 3.78 and well above Denver. What is impressive about Denver is the defense at 1.8. they are #1 in Team defense. Michigan Tech is #5. Both teams have the two best goalies in College Hockey in the Tourney. Denver is tied for 12th on PP and Tech is #5 on PK. SOS – because Tech is in the WCHA which has some very week teams which pulls down their ranking in Pairwise, RPI and Krach. As a realist Tech is playing the #1 team in the nation but ithis a One and Done – just don’t dismiss or overlook any opponent especially Tech with Angus Redmond in the Crease. Let’s Go Tech!

          • PiGuy

            Nobody’s overlooking Tech here. My point which I stated is look at Denver’s offensive production since the first of the year. Their production is steadily increasing and right up there with anybody’s at this point. They’ve got some weapons to go with a stout defense.

          • Husky1992

            No doubt Denver is the regional favorite. If Tech’s defense can hold who knows? I think both teams are happy to be playing in this regional As opposed to playing on ND home ice.

          • PiGuy

            They might be happy to be playing in this bracket but I don’t think the same can be said for playing in an empty arena in Cincinnati.

          • Denver_hockey

            Denver is averaging over 4 goals a game the second half of the season. You can’t compare their goals per game to teams that play in other conferences with much weaker defense and goal-tending anyway.

          • Husky1992

            Saturday is when we all see. Tech had to play their way in and are a heavy underdog but what’s new about that? It is different when we have to play so many conference games against schools that are not investing in their hockey program as Tech, BGSU, Mankato and Bemidgi are. We have one of the best coaches Pearsonl has dedicated himself to bringing Tech back to being a Nationally Relevant Hockey program. So no illusions a Tech win will have to be a big upset.

          • Denver_hockey

            I predicted Tech would win the WCHA from the beginning of the season, all the way up until the beginning of the playoffs. They have a great coach that has brought the program to relevance. Tech does have a shot IF they can shorten the game and turn it into a defensive style. They HAVE to hold DU under 3 goals.

          • PiGuy

            Buzzzzzzz!

          • PiGuy

            Tech will be back.

        • Denver_hockey

          Nobody is looking past Tech on Denver – Jim Montgomery is one of the best at having his team prepared to play their best no matter who the competition is. It’s some that I was critical about coach Gwoz. Denver has not lost a game to anybody below 20th in the Pairwise this year, and that loss was a conference road loss in OT; where they finished 3-1 against that team in the season series.

  • DrunkTrainPolka

    .
    BRING ON DENVER!

    really, hit me. come on, do it!

    GO TECH GOLD!
    .

    • Jeff Hudy

      Sorry bro but ur running into a buzz saw called Denver but I hope tech can do it before u lose ur great coach to maze n blue!

      • bose301s

        Pearson isn’t going anywhere, he makes more at Tech than Red makes at U of M, plus Tech is a program on the upswing while Michigan is a program on the decline.

        • higgins-1989@mail.ru

          I was paid 104000 dollars previous 12 month period by doing an internet based task and consequently I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r several hours on a daily basis. I tried work opportunity I found out online and also I am excited that I was capable to earn such good money. It is seriously newbie-friendly and therefore I’m so pleased that I found out regarding it. Have a look at exactly what I do… www­.­cat­.­org­.­uk/snip/93439

      • Roaring Aardvark

        Why?
        I can see guys like Newell Brown and Bob Mancini, who had no ties to Tech, using that job as a stepping stone to bigger and better things, but don’t forget that Pearson is a Tech alum who played for John MacInnes. He’s someone who understands what Tech’s program once was, and what it can be again.
        Might Michigan associate HC Billy Powers be a more logical choice?

        • DrunkTrainPolka

          .
          or muckalt… the other billy.
          .

      • DrunkTrainPolka

        .
        who is running into a buzz saw is possibly denver – not tech. we have nothing to lose… they do. for us its a joy ride…

        its a great opportunity on our end… its danger on theirs.

        pearson? who knows… we are four years short of an 100 year program. it takes a techie at tech – he is that. this place is not for everyone.

        if he leaves, good for him. but then we would not want him to be here anyway, right?!? with that being said, he has the chance of a legend here in the copper country. at michigan he will always be under red’s shadow.

        our program is soaring under him… he would be dumb in not taking the chance… on us.

        pearson… please stay.
        .

      • Gary Jorgenson

        Jeff look at the goalies records. It tells the story. Tech endured 8 disastrous games without Redmond in goal. Denver is just another game for Tech, while Denver is the team under pressure and their offense sure ain’t no Buzzsaw! As far as Mel leaving you are grossly mistaken! As a Suite holder and major advertising supporter I know Mel wants to retire at MTU which along with restoring Tech to a National Power and winning a National Championship or two!

        • PiGuy

          Who’s offense “ain’t no buzzsaw”? Denver is averaging 4.3 gpg over their last 18 and had 5 or more in an 8 game stretch during that run. For the season they’re averaging 3.3 gpg. So they’ve been picking it up down the stretch.

          • Husky1992

            3.3 ppl is not a buzz saw. Harvard above 4 ppg – that’s a buzz saw. In this bracket Penn State 3.97 and Union 3.78 and well above Denver. What is impressive about Denver is the defense at 1.8. they are #1 in Team defense. Michigan Tech is #5. Both teams have the two best goalies in College Hockey in the Tourney. Denver is tied for 12th on PP and Tech is #5 on PK. SOS – because Tech is in the WCHA which has some very week teams which pulls down their ranking in Pairwise, RPI and Krach. As a realist Tech is playing the #1 team in the nation but ithis a One and Done – just don’t dismiss or overlook any opponent especially Tech with Angus Redmond in the Crease. Let’s Go Tech!

          • PiGuy

            Nobody’s overlooking Tech here. My point which I stated is look at Denver’s offensive production since the first of the year. Their production is steadily increasing and right up there with anybody’s at this point. They’ve got some weapons to go with a stout defense.

          • Husky1992

            No doubt Denver is the regional favorite. If Tech’s defense can hold who knows? I think both teams are happy to be playing in this regional As opposed to playing on ND home ice.

          • PiGuy

            They might be happy to be playing in this bracket but I don’t think the same can be said for playing in an empty arena in Cincinnati.

          • Denver_hockey

            Denver is averaging over 4 goals a game the second half of the season. You can’t compare their goals per game to teams that play in other conferences with much weaker defense and goal-tending anyway.

          • Husky1992

            Saturday is when we all see. Tech had to play their way in and are a heavy underdog but what’s new about that? It is different when we have to play so many conference games against schools that are not investing in their hockey program as Tech, BGSU, Mankato and Bemidgi are. We have one of the best coaches Pearsonl has dedicated himself to bringing Tech back to being a Nationally Relevant Hockey program. So no illusions a Tech win will have to be a big upset.

          • Denver_hockey

            I predicted Tech would win the WCHA from the beginning of the season, all the way up until the beginning of the playoffs. They have a great coach that has brought the program to relevance. Tech does have a shot IF they can shorten the game and turn it into a defensive style. They HAVE to hold DU under 3 goals.

          • PiGuy

            Buzzzzzzz!

          • PiGuy

            Tech will be back.

        • Denver_hockey

          Nobody is looking past Tech on Denver – Jim Montgomery is one of the best at having his team prepared to play their best no matter who the competition is. It’s some that I was critical about coach Gwoz. Denver has not lost a game to anybody below 20th in the Pairwise this year, and that loss was a conference road loss in OT; where they finished 3-1 against that team in the season series.

  • bob

    can’t believe i picked penn state in my bracket – i agree winning going into playoffs is critical

    • Denver_hockey

      Wasn’t critical for North Dakota or Providence the last two years.. Neither made it to their conference championship game.

      • bob

        sure helps though

  • bob

    can’t believe i picked penn state in my bracket – i agree winning going into playoffs is critical

    • Denver_hockey

      Wasn’t critical for North Dakota or Providence the last two years.. Neither made it to their conference championship game.

      • bob

        sure helps though

  • bob

    i think for veccs to have a chance, union has to win against penn state, he has to score in both games, and at least of one his goals has to be a big one, like a shorty or winner

    • Union33

      Veccs led nation in PPG, won 60% of his faceoffs and was even a finalistt for ECAC defensive forward player of the year. I think he should already be a lock as only threat is Northeastern player whose team didn’t come close to the tourney!

      • bob

        man i sure hope so – another notch for UC – but ZAR led some big categories too – the talk i hear is that it could go either way, regardless of who is in the playoffs – i even think that a bad game could hurt him, as lake placid definitely didn’t help

        • Afterfurtherreview

          Foo and Vecc had better playoffs than the other top forwards. They had 4 points in 3 games. ZAR 4 in 4 and Kelleher 4 in 6. So, while Lake Placid didn’t help, I don’t believe it hurt either.

          • bob

            i just think the last game he plays will have a bearing on the decision

          • Afterfurtherreview

            I just don’t really know who would pass him, unless they went with a D’man and picked Butcher.

          • bob

            Every time I watch ASN, they think ZAR is the favorite

          • Denver_hockey

            They won’t pick Butcher. Vecc will win it.

      • Afterfurtherreview

        He didn’t lead the country in PPG. Gaudette and Schilkey, followed by Kelleher and ZAR. I’ll take your word for the 60% face offs. I do think he will win it though.

        • Union33

          and most GWG at 7

  • bob

    i think for veccs to have a chance, union has to win against penn state, he has to score in both games, and at least of one his goals has to be a big one, like a shorty or winner

    • Union33

      Veccs led nation in PPG, won 60% of his faceoffs and was even a finalistt for ECAC defensive forward player of the year. I think he should already be a lock as only threat is Northeastern player whose team didn’t come close to the tourney!

      • bob

        man i sure hope so – another notch for UC – but ZAR led some big categories too – the talk i hear is that it could go either way, regardless of who is in the playoffs – i even think that a bad game could hurt him, as lake placid definitely didn’t help

        • Afterfurtherreview

          Foo and Vecc had better playoffs than the other top forwards. They had 4 points in 3 games. ZAR 4 in 4 and Kelleher 4 in 6. So, while Lake Placid didn’t help, I don’t believe it hurt either.

          • bob

            i just think the last game he plays will have a bearing on the decision

          • Afterfurtherreview

            I just don’t really know who would pass him, unless they went with a D’man and picked Butcher.

          • bob

            Every time I watch ASN, they think ZAR is the favorite

          • Denver_hockey

            They won’t pick Butcher. Vecc will win it.

      • Afterfurtherreview

        He didn’t lead the country in PPG. Gaudette and Schilkey, followed by Kelleher and ZAR. I’ll take your word for the 60% face offs. I do think he will win it though.

        • Union33

          and most GWG at 7

  • Afterfurtherreview

    Ahhhhhh yes, should have known, points per game… most hockey fans use PPG as power play goals.

    • Union33

      Yes could see where you got mixed up as PPG can mean both but you actually strengthen my case as Vecc had way less of his goals on the PP making him the better even strength player

      • Afterfurtherreview

        I don’t see power play goals making someone less of a player. It means he’s a very good offensive player for your team or he wouldn’t be out there in those situations. A goal is a goal and why minimize it because it was on the PP? Look back through the long history of hockey and many of the greats have large amounts of PP goals. Also, Kelleher got the same criticism about a lot of PP goals, but so many of the goals came after he drew the penalty himself with his skill, so how can you take that away from a player. Either way, I think we agree on who will win. Best of luck in the regional and I hope to see Union while in ChiTown.

        • bob

          i think they’ll need a little luck

  • Afterfurtherreview

    Ahhhhhh yes, should have known, points per game… most hockey fans use PPG as power play goals.

    • Union33

      Yes could see where you got mixed up as PPG can mean both but you actually strengthen my case as Vecc had way less of his goals on the PP making him the better even strength player

      • Afterfurtherreview

        I don’t see power play goals making someone less of a player. It means he’s a very good offensive player for your team or he wouldn’t be out there in those situations. A goal is a goal and why minimize it because it was on the PP? Look back through the long history of hockey and many of the greats have large amounts of PP goals. Also, Kelleher got the same criticism about a lot of PP goals, but so many of the goals came after he drew the penalty himself with his skill, so how can you take that away from a player. Either way, I think we agree on who will win. Best of luck in the regional and I hope to see Union while in ChiTown.

        • bob

          i think they’ll need a little luck

  • Grant Dossetto

    Anyone have a seating chart that says which end of the arena is being reserved for each school? If I’m buying tickets I’d prefer to be near Tech’s band and student section.

    • Roaring Aardvark

      Just got off the phone with the MTU ticket office. The invoice says General Admission, but the person who took my order said Tech was in sections 126 & 128 (which may or may not include 127). Hope this is helpful.

      Note also that there is a “No Re-entry” policy for Sat., so you won’t be able to step out between games.

  • Grant Dossetto

    Anyone have a seating chart that says which end of the arena is being reserved for each school? If I’m buying tickets I’d prefer to be near Tech’s band and student section.

    • Roaring Aardvark

      Just got off the phone with the MTU ticket office. The invoice says General Admission, but the person who took my order said Tech was in sections 126 & 128 (which may or may not include 127). Hope this is helpful.

      Note also that there is a “No Re-entry” policy for Sat., so you won’t be able to step out between games.

  • kathleen.butler.91@mail.ru

    I was paid 104000 bucks last 12 months by doing a web-based job while I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r quite a few hours on a regular basis. I tried job opportunity I found on-line and therefore I am thrilled that I was in the position to make such decent cash. It’s undoubtedly newbie-friendly and therefore I am so pleased that I found out about it. Read through exactly what I do… I was without work for half a year when my early Fellow worker lastly strongly suggested me to start freelancing at home… That was only after I gained $5000 in my 1st thirty days when I seriously believed I could do this for a living! Finally I am joyful than ever… I work-at-home and I am my own boss now that I always wanted… I see quite a lot of unsatisfied people around me, working the same old boring job that is sucking the everyday life out of all of them day by day… Each time I see anyone similar to that I say START FREELANCING MAN! This is where I started off >>>> www­.­cat­.­org­.­uk/snip/78276

  • kathleen.butler.91@mail.ru

    I was paid 104000 bucks last 12 months by doing a web-based job while I was able to do it by w­orking in my own time f­o­r quite a few hours on a regular basis. I tried job opportunity I found on-line and therefore I am thrilled that I was in the position to make such decent cash. It’s undoubtedly newbie-friendly and therefore I am so pleased that I found out about it. Read through exactly what I do… I was without work for half a year when my early Fellow worker lastly strongly suggested me to start freelancing at home… That was only after I gained $5000 in my 1st thirty days when I seriously believed I could do this for a living! Finally I am joyful than ever… I work-at-home and I am my own boss now that I always wanted… I see quite a lot of unsatisfied people around me, working the same old boring job that is sucking the everyday life out of all of them day by day… Each time I see anyone similar to that I say START FREELANCING MAN! This is where I started off >>>> www­.­cat­.­org­.­uk/snip/78276

  • DB

    After a mediocre end of the regular season, Penn St. is coming in hot. But with 11 freshman on board, look for the next couple of seasons to be their best.

  • DB

    After a mediocre end of the regular season, Penn St. is coming in hot. But with 11 freshman on board, look for the next couple of seasons to be their best.

  • wingding

    Hmmmm.. Lets take MTU to win it all… I’ll be the only guy out of 7000.plus… If they do…IT’s IN the BAG!!!

  • wingding

    Hmmmm.. Lets take MTU to win it all… I’ll be the only guy out of 7000.plus… If they do…IT’s IN the BAG!!!