Welcome to Day 2 of the NCAA men’s hockey tournament.
Friday kicks off in Worcester, where Northeastern and UMass will be in action. Both Hockey East teams enter their matchups as underdogs. They spent Thursday practicing at DCU Center and meeting with the media.
Northeastern will be up first, facing Western Michigan at noon. For the Huskies to have a chance, they’ll need Devon Levi to be on his game. The sophomore goalie ranks in the top three nationally in three categories with a .952 save percentage (first), 10 shutouts (second) and a 1.52 goals against average (third).
On Thursday, Levi was named one of three finalists for the Richter Award, given to the top goalie in the nation.
“I love going into this game as an underdog,” said Levi. “People are saying we aren’t supposed to win this game and I think we embrace that mentality. We have nothing to lose so we will go out and have fun [Friday]. It’s not just me that can make an impact to the game, it’s a team effort and we are all very excited about [Friday].”
UMass will follow with a 6 p.m. start against Big Ten regular season champ Minnesota in what may be the most anticipated first round game of the tournament. The honors keep rolling in for UMass senior captain Bobby Trivigno (20 goals, 28 assists). On Thursday, he was named the Walter Brown Award winner, presented annually to the best American-born Division 1 college hockey player in New England. It was the second straight year he won the award.
Like Levi, Trivigno is also a top 10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. UMass coach Greg Carvel made a case for why his captain should get the nod:
AIC will face Big Ten conference tournament winner Michigan in the Allentown regional. This is the third tournament appearance for the Yellow Jackets, all under coach Eric Lang. In their first trip in 2019, they pulled off one of the biggest upsets in tournament history when they stunned No. 1 St. Cloud State, 2-1. A win Friday afternoon would rank up there as well.
1. Western Michigan (25-11-1) vs. 4. Northeastern (25-12-1), noon (ESPNU)
2. Minnesota (24-12-0) vs. 3. UMass (22-12-2), 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
1. Michigan (29-9-1) vs. 4. AIC (22-12-3), 3 p.m. (ESPNU)
2. Quinnipiac (31-6-3) vs. 3. St. Cloud St. (18-14-4), 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
Minnesota State 4, Harvard 3
Notre Dame 2, North Dakota 1 (OT)
Minnesota State (36-5-0) vs. Notre Dame (28-11-0), 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Denver 3, UMass Lowell 2
Minnesota Duluth 3, Michigan Tech 0
Denver vs. Minnesota Duluth, 4 p.m. (ESPNU)
Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney.