Midwest Regional Notebook
by Avash Kalra/Senior Writer
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TOLEDO, Ohio > Home of the Walleye
Toledo’s Huntington Center, which played host to the NCAA Midwest Regional this weekend, is also home to the Toledo Walleye – an ECHL team that serves as a dual-affiliate for the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks. Less than a week before the start of the Regional, the Walleye – named after a game fish abundant in northern Ohio and the Lake Erie region – set a single-season attendance record with over 7,000 fans in attendance for the team’s final home game of the regular season.
Players on the current Walleye roster include several former college hockey players, including alumni of all four schools who played at the Midwest Regional this weekend.
The roster includes former Notre Dame goaltender Jordan Pearce in addition to forwards Aaron Bogosian (St. Lawrence), Nino Musitelli (Miami), Travis Novak (St. Cloud), Joey Martin (Nebraska-Omaha), Kyle Rogers (Niagara), and Tyler Brenner (RIT); and defensemen Wes O’Neill (Notre Dame), Erik Spady (Northern Michigan), Phil Rauch (Canisius), Cody Lampl (Colorado College), and Ben Youds (Minnesota State).
St. Cloud, which will play in the Midwest Regional Final on Sunday, features WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, who alongside Andrew Prochno, helped shut down Notre Dame’s top line of Bryan Rust, Anders Lee, and Jeff Costello.
Jensen has played 117 consecutive games for the Huskies.
Ever since Notre Dame played Miami at Chicago’s Solider Field on February 17 – the first outdoor game in Notre Dame’s 45-year varsity history – the Irish have been wearing bright goal helmets, reminiscent of both the Notre Dame football helmets and the Notre Dame Golden Dome on campus.
Each helmet contains 23.9 karat gold flake in the final clear coat and in fact contains the actual goal collected from the golden dome atop Notre Dame’s Main Building when it was re-glided in 2008. Unfortunately for the Irish, Saturday’s NCAA appearance was anything but golden. The Irish earned a No. 1 seed but fell to St. Cloud 5-1.
Quotes of the Day
“By the way, how many people actually write anything down for opening statements? I thought I’d ask.” – Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson, asking the media an astute question immediately after giving his opening statement at Friday’s pre-regional press conference.
“I picked us eighth.” – St. Cloud head coach Bob Motzko, revealing how he voted for the WCHA pre-season poll. St. Cloud ended up winning the WCHA regular season title.
“Let’s hope that happens. I hadn’t thought of it like that. Hopefully we’re there – hopefully we can play at the Consol Energy Center.” – St. Cloud co-captain Ben Hanowski, when asked if he had considered the irony of potentially playing in Pittsburgh after his rights were traded this week from the Penguins to the Calgary Flames – in the deal that brought Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh. Kenny Agostino of Yale was also in that trade, and his team already qualified for the Frozen Four.
“I was worried that the referees didn’t see it right away, but when they went and looked at it, they were giving me the right gestures.” – St. Cloud goaltender Ryan Faragher, describing his reaction to Notre Dame senior Anders Lee’s would-by tying goal in the first period. The officials ultimately determined that the puck had been kicked in by Lee, and no goal was awarded.
“That’s not for me to decide. Campus sites, maybe.” – Notre Dame Jeff Jackson, when asked how he would change the format of the NCAA tournament – moments after he had criticized the atmosphere for the Irish’s game against St. Cloud, in which the arena was less than half full at best.
“What did you play tonight? 30 minutes?” Miami head coach Enrico Blasi, asking senior forward Marc Hagel about his ice-time in the RedHawks’ 4-0 shutout victory over Minnesota-State.
“It’s been a fun ride. Our team came together in early August, and right away we knew we had something special. Obviously it’s not the ending that we wanted, but Miami’s a good team, and you have to give them credit for the win today.” – Minnesota State senior defenseman Tyler Elbrecht, commenting on the Mavericks’ remarkable turnaround season. Mankato won 24 games this season after winning just 12 a year ago.