Spartans Will Meet Union in NCAA First Round
March 18, 2012
East Lansing, Mich. - Michigan State has qualified for the 2012 Division I men's ice hockey championship, and will play Union College in the first round on Friday, March 23 at 3 p.m. The Spartans are making their 27th NCAA Tournament appearance, and first since 2008.
WATCH: Selection Show Press Conference Video
The Spartans will play in the East Regional, which will be contested in Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. Miami and UMass-Lowell are the other two teams in the regional, which will feature first-round games on Friday (3 and 6:30 p.m.) and the regional final on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Michigan State ranks fourth all-time in NCAA Tournament appearances, with 26 (tied with North Dakota). Michigan has 34, Boston University 31, and Boston College 30.
This will be the first all-time meeting between the two schools in the sport of ice hockey. MSU has an all-time record of 4-2-1 against ECAC teams in NCAA Tournament play, and have defeated sqads from that league in two of their three National Championship game victories: the Spartans are defeated Clarkson in the 1966 National Championship game, and downed Harvard in the 1986 National title tilt.
Under first-year coach Tom Anastos, the Spartans have gone 19-15-4 this season and finished fifth in the CCHA, an improvement of five spots in the league standings. The Spartans are led on the ice by junior captain Torey Krug, the CCHA Player of the Year, an All-America Candidate and a Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist.
MSU has a strength of schedule of No. 2 in the country, behind Notre Dame. The top seven teams in terms of strength of schedule are all CCHA squads: Notre Dame, MSU, (3) Northern Michigan, (4) Michigan, (5) Western Michigan, (6) Miami, and (7) Ohio State. The CCHA will have five teams in the NCAA Tournament field (MSU, Michigan, Western Michigan, Ferris State, and Miami). The WCHA and Hockey East will each have four.
MSU has played 17 games against the 16 teams in the NCAA Tournament field, including the overall No. 1 seed (BC), No. 2 (Michigan, five games) and No. 5 Miami (four games).
Michigan State played four of the five conference regular-season champions during the 2011-12 campaign: Boston College (Hockey East), Minnesota (WCHA) and Air Force (Atlantic Hockey) in addition to CCHA regular-season champion Ferris State. The Spartans did not have an ECAC team on the schedule in the regular season, but will play ECAC Hockey regular-season and tournament champion Union in the first round.
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