NCAA Hockey Tournament 2012, East Region Preview: Lack Of Name Recognition Doesn't Mean Lack Of Intrigue

The East Region of the 2012 NCAA hockey tournament lacks the recognition that its brother regions have. Sure, three of the four teams have Hobey Baker nominees, but Michigan State easily has the biggest fanbase -- and they're the fourth seed playing hundreds of miles away from East Lansing.

Miami and Massachusetts-Lowell aren't exactly the biggest schools in the world, and the same can be said for Union, who have flown under the radar even in devout college hockey circles this season despite how well they've played.

THE GAMES

No. 1 Union Dutchmen (24-7-7) vs. No. 4 Michigan State Spartans (19-15-4)
Friday, March 23, 3 p.m. ET | TV: ESPNU
More Coverage: Spartans blog The Only Colors, SB Nation Detroit

No. 2 Miami RedHawks (24-12-2) vs. No. 3 UMass-Lowell River Hawks (23-14-1)
Friday March 23, 6:30 p.m. ET | TV: ESPNU

The regional final is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 24.

All games at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn.

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Union received an automatic bid as the ECAC tournament champion. Miami received an at-large bid after finishing fourth in the CCHA regular season. Massachusetts-Lowell was upset in the first round of the Hockey East tournament by Providence but received an at-large bid after ending the regular season tied for second with Boston University. Michigan State finished fifth in the CCHA and earned an at-large bid despite being swept by Miami in the conference tournament.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • Union: No. 27, F Jeremy Welsh; No. 19, F Kelly Zajac; No. 1, G Troy Grosenick; No. 22, Mat Bodie
  • Miami: No. 18, F Reilly Smith (Dallas); No. 4, D Will Weber (Columbus Blue Jackets); No. 7, F Austin Czarnik; No. 31, G Connor Knapp (Buffalo Sabres)
  • Massachusetts-Lowell: No. 23, F Scott Wilson (Pittsburgh Penguins); No. 29, F Derek Arnold; No. 16, F Riley Wetmore; No. 31, G Doug Carr
  • Michigan State: No. 44, D Torey Krug; No. 11, F Brett Perlini (Anaheim Ducks); No. 22, F Lee Reimer; No. 27, F Matt Berry

TEAM PREVIEWS

For more on the road to the Frozen Four in Tampa, stick with our 2012 NCAA hockey tournament StoryStream.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.