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Comparing the 4 teams playing this weekend at the NCAA Allentown Regional

On Friday, top-ranked Michigan plays American International, St. Cloud State plays Quinnipiac. Region championship game will be played on Sunday in Allentown, Pa.

During a time out in a game against Minnesota State University-Mankato, associate head coach Dave Shyiak (back, right) talks to the St. Cloud State men's hockey team on March 8, 2021, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
Clint Austin / Forum News Service

The Allentown Regional for the NCAA Division I men's hockey tournament features the top team in the PairWise Rankings, a team that played in the national championship game a year ago, the top team from the east coast and a team that upset the top-ranked team in the country in the opening round of the 2019 tournament.

On Friday, top-seeded Michigan plays American International at 2 p.m. (ESPNU) and ECAC regular season champion Quinnipiac plays St. Cloud State at 7 p.m. (ESPNews). Winners of those games will play for the region title and a trip to the Frozen Four at either 3 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. on Sunday (ESPN2).

Here's a capsule look at the teams in the regional:

jea 1639 Gophers vs Michigan
Michigan defenseman Luke Hughes (43) clears the puck out the Michigan zone as Minnesota Gophers forward Blake McLaughlin (27) tires to keep it in in the first period of the Big Ten Men’s Hockey championship game at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis on Saturday, March 19, 2022.
John Autey / Pioneer Press

Michigan Wolverines

PairWise Ranking: No. 1.


Record: 29-9-1 overall, 16-8-0 Big Ten.

Head coach: Mel Pearson (5th season, 97-63-16; 11 seasons overall, 215-156-45).

Conference tournament: Swept Michigan State, 4-1 and 8-0; beat Notre Dame, 2-1; beat Minnesota, 4-3 in championship game.

Follow the 2022 NCAA men's hockey tournament coverage on The Rink Live for previews, recaps, photos, information and more as the teams play for a national championship in Boston.

NCAA tournament history: 39th tournament appearance, 9 national titles (1998, 1996, 1964, 1956, 1955, 1953, 1952, 1951, 1948). Qualified for 2021 national tournament, but did not play due to COVID-19 protocols.

Top five scorers: Sophomore forward Matty Beniers (19 goals, 22 assists, 41 points), So. F Brendan Brisson (19-18—37), Fr. D Luke Hughes (17-20—37), So. F Kent Johnson (8-27—35), So. F Thomas Bordeleau (10-23—33).

Starting goaltender: So. Erik Portillo, 29-9-1, 2.06 goals-against average, .928 save percentage, 3 shutouts.

Special teams: Power play 25.5% (6th nationally), Penalty kill (82.9%, 18th).

Scoring offense: 3.9 goals-per-game (3rd).


Scoring defense: 2.2 gpg (tied for 7th).

Faceoff winning percentage: 49.9% (33rd).

All-Big 10 players: Beniers (1st team), So. D Owen Power (1st team), Portillo (2nd team), Hughes (2nd team), Bordeleau (honorable mention), Johnson (honorable mention), Sr. D Nick Blankenburg (honorable mention).

All-Big 10 freshman team: F Mackie Samoskevich, Hughes (Co-Freshman of the Year).

Notable: Beniers (2nd overall, Seattle, 2021 NHL Entry Level Draft), Fr. F Mackie Samoskevich (24th, Florida, 2021), Johnson (5th, Columbus, 2021), Jr. F Johnny Beecher (30th, Boston, 2019), Brisson (29th, Vegas, 2020), Power (1st, Buffalo, 2021) and Hughes (4th, New Jersey, 2021) are all first-round draft picks. Beniers and Hughes are both top-10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award.

American International players take the ice for practice for the NCAA Regionals at Scheels Arena on Thursday, March 28, 2019.
David Samson / Forum News Service

American International Yellow Jackets

PairWise Ranking: No. 20.


Record: 22-12-3 overall, 17-7-2 Atlantic Hockey (regular season champions).

Head coach: Eric Lang (6th season, 104-85-17).

Conference tournament: Swept Bentley, 5-2 and 6-2; beat Mercyhurst, 5-4; beat Air Force, 7-0 in championship game.

NCAA tournament history: 3rd tournament appearance (2019, 2021).

Top five scorers: Jr. F Blake Bennett (18-14—32), Gr. F Chris Dordero (13-16—28), Gr. F Justin Young (11-18—29), Jr. F Jake Stella (12-16—28), Jr. D Zak Galambos (5-23—28), Sr. F Chris Theodore (10-18—28).

Goaltenders: So. Jake Kucharski, 12-7-3, 2.39, .910, 2 shutouts; Gr. Alec Calvaruso, 10-4-0, 2.38, .911, 2 shutouts.

Special teams: Power play 25.7% (5th nationally), Penalty kill (81.7%, 26th).

Scoring offense: 3.5 gpg (tied for 7th).


Scoring defense: 2.4 gpg (tied for 15th).

Faceoff winning percentage: 50.5% (23rd).

All-Atlantic players: Theodore (1st team), Galambos (1st team), Stella (2nd team), Kucharski (3rd team).

All-Atlantic freshman team: D Luis Lindner.

Notable: The Yellow Jackets are the No. 16 seed for their third straight appearance, but upset St. Cloud State (2-1) in 2019 in Fargo. AIC is also the oldest team in Division I (23.2 years old average) and played two overtime games against Quinnipiac this season.

Kobe Roth (10) of Minnesota Duluth scores a goal on Andrew Shortridge (35) of Quinnipiac during Sunday's NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Midwest Regional final at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. Minnesota Duluth defeated Quinnipiac 3-1 to advance to the Frozen Four in Buffalo, NY.
Clint Austin / The Rink Live

Quinnipiac Bobcats

PairWise Ranking: No. 8.

Record: 31-6-3 overall, 17-4-1 ECAC (regular season champions).


Head coach: Rand Pecknold (28th season, 580-332-100).

Conference tournament: Swept St. Lawrence, 4-1 and 4-3 in 2 OTs; beat Colgate, 3-1; lost to Harvard, 3-2 in OT in championship game.

NCAA tournament history: 8th tournament appearance (2021, 2019, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2002). The Bobcats reached the national championship games in 2013 (lost 4-0 to Yale) and 2016 (lost 5-1 to North Dakota).

Top five scorers: Sr. D Zach Metsa (9-25—34), Sr. F Wyatt Bongiovanni (15-18—33), Sr. F Oliver Chau (13-20—33), Sr. F Ethan de Jong (10-18—28), Sr. F Michael Lombardi (13-13—26).

Goaltenders: Fr. Yaniv Perets, 21-5-2, 0.96, .948, 11 shutouts; Sr. Dylan St. Cyr, 10-1-1, 1.11, .939, 3 shutouts.

Special teams: Power play 14.5% (50th nationally), Penalty kill (91.8%, 1st).

Scoring offense: 3.3 gpg (tied for 10th).

Scoring defense: 1.1 gpg (1st).


Faceoff winning percentage: 57.5% (2nd).

All-ECAC players: Perets (1st team), Metsa (1st team), Bongiovanni (3rd team).

All-ECAC Rookie team: None.

Notable: Perets, an undrafted 22-year-old, went from playing two games last season to being named the ECAC Player of the Year, ECAC Goaltender of the Year and a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. He leads the nation in shutouts (11) and goals-against average (0.96) and is second in save percentage (.948).

St. Cloud State vs Boston College
The St. Cloud State men's hockey team celebrates its 4-1 win over Boston College in the NCAA Division I Northeast Regional championship game on March 28, 2021, in Albany, N.Y.
Robert Simmons / NCAA

St. Cloud State Huskies

PairWise Ranking: No. 10.

Record: 18-14-4 overall, 10-10-4 NCHC.

Head coach: Brett Larson (4th season, 61-35-13).

Conference tournament: Got swept by Minnesota Duluth in NCHC quarterfinals, 5-2 and 4-3, OT.

NCAA tournament history: 16th tournament appearance. The Huskies reached the 2013 Frozen Four and the 2021 national championship game.

Top five scorers: Gr. F Kevin Fitzgerald (17-18—35), Sr. D Nick Perbix (6-25—31), Jr. F Jami Krannila (15-15—30), Jr. F Zach Okabe (11-17—28), Gr. F Easton Brodzinski (12-15—27).

Goaltenders: 5th-year David Hrenak, 16-11-4, 2.26, .914, 3 shutouts; Jr. Jaxon Castor, 2-3-0, 2.91, .906.

Special teams: Power play 31.3% (1st nationally), Penalty kill (81.7%, tied 26th).

Scoring offense: 3.6 gpg (tied for 5th).

Scoring defense: 2.6 gpg (tied for 20th).

Faceoff winning percentage: 51.6% (15th).

All-NCHC players: Perbix (1st team), Fitzgerald (2nd team), Bongiovanni (3rd team).

All-NCHC Rookie team: None.

Notable: Perbix, Sr. F Sam Hentges and Larson were all members of Team USA that participated in the Olympics. Hentges, a Minnesota Wild draft pick, has scored a career-best 11 goals despite playing in a career-low 20 games. Perbix has career-bests in assists (25) and points (31). Fitzgerald has career-best marks in goals (17), assists (18) and points (35). Brodzinski suffered a broken leg in the region championship game last season, but has come back to be third on the team in goals (12). Hrenak, the MVP of the Northeast Regional last year, is back practicing with the team this week, but is "day-to-day" due to an illness suffered right before the NCHC quarterfinals.

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Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com

For more coverage of St. Cloud and the surrounding communities, check out St. Cloud Live.
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