Men's Hockey To Host UMass.-Dartmouth In NCAA Quarterfinals

March 7, 2006

Middlebury will makes its 12th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, March 11th when they host Geneseo/UMass.-Dartmouth at 7:00 p.m. The first round game between those two schools will be played on Wednesday, March 8th. This will be the first ever meeting between Middlebury and either of the two schools.

Middlebury earned its way into the tourney by capturing its sixth NESCAC Championship with a 3-1 win over Bowdoin. Mickey Gilchrist scored a pair of goals in the game as the Panthers moved to 12-2 overall in NESCAC Tournament play.

The Panthers enter the '06 NCAA Tournament with more NCAA wins than any other school in Division III hockey. Middlebury sports a 28-5-2 mark, having won each of the last two NCAA Championships. The Panthers have seven overall titles, including an NCAA record five consecutive crowns from '95-'99. The team has a cumulative record of 280-39-19 (.857) over the past 12 years. Head coach Bill Beaney is now in his 19th season, with more wins (464-181-32 - 26 seasons overall) than any other coach in Division III men's college hockey history. Earlier this season, Middlebury earned a 28-game unbeaten streak, second longest in school history.

The Panthers enter the game with a 23-2-2 overall record, after going 16-2-1 in NESCAC play. Middlebury was ranked first in the final national poll and the PairWise power rankings. Middlebury's defense is tops in the nation, allowing just 1.56 goals/game on the season, while the offense is sixth with 4.78 goals/contest. The power play is ranked fifth at .252, while the penalty kill is 11th (.862).

After three goals in his first 11 games, sophomore Mickey Gilchrist has scored 20 in his last 16 to lead the team, and rank third nationally with .85 goals/game this season. He has 23 goals and 24 assists for 47 points to go along with his team-leading nine power play and five game-wining goals.

Rookie Jamie McKenna has enjoyed an impressive year offensively with 16 goals and 22 assists for 38 points on the season. Juniors Evgeny Saidachev (13-15-28) and Eric LaFreniere (9-14-23), along with sophomores Robert MacIntyre (2-21-23) and Tom Maldonado (6-13-19) round out the leading scorers. Senior Jeff Smith has anchored the blue line this season, while adding five goals and eight assists for 13 points on the year.

In goal, sophomore Ross Cherry and rookie Doug Raeder have split time this season. Cherry is 12-1-1 with a nation's-best 1.43 GAA and a .928 save percentage, fourth nationally. Raeder sports a 9-1-1 record with a 1.73 GAA (5th nationally) and a .926 save percentage (7th nationally).

Geneseo earned a bid to the tournament with a 4-3 win over Plattsburgh in game three of the SUNYAC Championship series. The Knights are 19-8-2 on the season and will host UMass.-Dartmouth on Wednesday. Mitch Stephens leads the team in scoring with 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points on the year, including a nation's best seven shorthanded goals. Mike MacDonald (14-18-32), Michel Bond (7-15-22) and Brett Bestwick (7-14-21) lead the team in scoring. In goal, Derek Jokic has a 16-7-2 mark with a 3.20 GAA and a .891 save percentage.

UMass.-Dartmouth made the NCAA Tournament by capturing the ECAC Northeast Championship with a 3-1 win over Curry in the finals. The team has a 24-4 record as they enter Wednesday night's game at Geneseo. Kyle McCullough leads the team in scoring with 20 goals and 20 assists for 40 points on the season, including seven power play goals. Erick Frank (19-19-38), Jeff Grant (16-19-35) and Peter Linder (12-21-33) round out the leading scorers. Grant has seven game-winners to lead all Division III players. In goal, Jon Dryjowicz-Burek is 16-4 with a nation's-best .943 save percentage to go along with his 1.65 GAA, second nationally.

2006 NCAA Men's Hockey Tournament

First-Round, Wednesday, March 8th
St. Olaf (12-9-5) @ Wis.-Superior (17-9-3)
UMass.-Dartmouth (24-4) @ Geneseo (19-8-2)

Quarterfinals, Saturday, March 11th
UMass.-Dartmouth/Geneseo winner @ Middlebury (23-3-2) - 7:00
Elmira (17-8-2) @ Manhattanville (20-4-2)
St. Olaf /Wis.-Superior winner @ St. Norbert (23-4-2)
Hobart (19-7) @ Norwich (22-4-2) - 7:00

Semifinals, Saturday, March 18th - Elmira, N.Y.
Semifinal #1 - 12:30
Semifinal #2 - 4:30

NCAA Championship, Sunday, March 19th - Elmira, N.Y.
Gametime - 2:00