by Arch Ecker
While most national talk radio shows chatter about the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, in rinks around the country NCAA Division I and Division III hockey teams are on a quest for their own National Championships beginning this weekend.
There are 16 teams competing for the Division I championship, with tournament play beginning Friday in four arenas including Cincinnati, OH, Worcester, MA, Albany, NY and St. Paul, MN. There are 8 former RoadRunners currently on five of those sixteen teams. (13)Notre Dame has sophomore goalie Cal Peterson as they meet (5) Michigan on Friday. (3)North Dakota lists freshmen Mike Gornall and Matej Tomek as they face (9) Northeastern. (10) Harvard and senior goalie Peter Traber take on (6) Boston College. (8) U-Mass Lowell has freshman defenseman Avni Berisha along with sophomore forwards Gage Hough and Jake Kamrass as they meet (11) Yale on Saturday. And sophomore forward Tyler Andrew and the (18) Ferris State Bulldogs will have their hands full with (2) St. Cloud State.
The Division III National Championship takes place in historic Lake Placid, NY as they’ve pared down to their Frozen Four. St. Norbert, winners of 3 of the last 5 championships will face U-Mass Boston. Senior forward Michael Hill has 15 goals and 10 assists in 29 games played for St. Norbert. On the other side of the bracket, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, who has finished as runner-up in the last two championship games, enters the final bracket with junior forward Kyle Sharkey (29 gms, 18 goals, 17 assists) and junior defenseman Trace Strahle (29 gms, 2g, 10a) to face Geneseo in the semi-final game.
The goal of junior hockey is to help student athletes continue their education while playing the game they love. The RoadRunners organization remains committed to seeing their players reach their goals.