|San Jose State returns to Regionals for the first time since Johnny Germaine and the 2014 Spartans earned their Nationals birth by defeating Texas A&M and Utah. It's a tougher road this year as SJSU will need to win three games to earn a shot to Nationals.
The Spartans come in as the 11th seed, and will face #10 Montana Tech in a play-in game Friday night at 7 pm Mountain (6 pm Pacific) from the Eccles Ice Center in Logan, Utah. The games should be available to watch for free on the Aggie Blue Ice YouTube channel.
A win would mean a game on Saturday against either the host Utah State Aggies, or the Northern Arizona IceJacks. Almost everyone else is on the table for a possible Sunday match-up to a Nationals berth.
KNOW YOUR (CONFIRMED) ENEMY
#10 Montana Tech of the University of Montana Orediggers
Offensive Leaders: Joel Johnson (19-14-33), Douglas Abbott (8-18-26), Matthew Hutchings (10-13-23)
Likely Starting Netminder: Max Lucas 5-3 2.63 GAA .909 SV% 1 SO
The Spartans got to know the 'Diggers pretty well a couple weeks ago with two games in Butte. A short-staffed, beat-up Spartan squad fell 4-0 and 3-2 in the two games.
With Schneider in the lineup and Germaine healthy again, the Spartans are looking forward to the opportunity to gain some revenge in neutral ground.
#3 Utah State University Aggies
Offensive Leaders: Rylee Orr (14-48-62), Cooper Limb (28-33-61), Alex Herman (19-25-44)
Likely Starting Netminder: Austin Willenborg 7-9 3.59 GAA .912 SV%
The hosts of the tournament will play the lowest seed of Friday's play-in games winners. That means either SJSU, SDSU or Montana Tech.
#4 Northern Arizona University IceJacks
Offensive Leaders: Kirby Carlson (17-13-30), Lucas Lomax (15-15-30), Christopher Barrett (9-16-25)
Likely Starting Netminder: Jaxson Gosnell 7-7 3.21 GAA .915 SV% 1 SO
After a terrible start, the IceJacks turned it around and are looking to get back to Nationals. They'll play the higher seed of Friday's play-in game: either SJSU, UNLV or Montana Tech.
#5 Weber State University Wildcats
Offensive Leaders: Dax Hobbs (20-23-43), William Fobair (11-27-38), Phillip Jennrich (5-30-35)
Likely Starting Netminder: Weston Maughan 11-5 2.41 GAA .912 SV% 2 SO
The Wildcats make the short trek to Logan for Regionals. They will take on the Boise State Broncos on Saturday in their first game.
#6 University of Northern Colorado Bears
Offensive Leaders: Mitchell Bailey (15-23-38), Cameron Taggart (19-16-35), Truman Gonzales (10-22-32)
Likely Starting Netminder: Owen Rauer 7-5 3.40 GAA .884 SV% 1SO
Returning to D2 this year led by former coaches from Colorado and Colorado State, the Bears will face ASU Maroon in their first game Saturday.
#7 Arizona State University (Maroon) Sun Devils
Offensive Leaders: Jake Savona (23-31-54), Mason Teuber (21-20-41), Scott Farr (12-21-33)
Likely Starting Netminder: Ryan Seltenreich 14-2 1.95 .933 Sv% GAA 3 SO
ASU-Maroon is the third best team Arizona State has to offer after the NCAA D1 team and ASU-Elite, who finished as the #1 seed in the West and got an auto-bid to Nationals. Can ASU-Maroon make that two teams going to Nattys? They'll have to start with a win against Northern Colorado on Saturday.
#8 Boise State University Broncos
Offensive Leaders: Taylor Crawford (17-35-52), Matt Sanford (14-30-44), Justin Videen (21-18-39)
Likely Starting Netminder: Josh Benton 11-10 3.64 GAA .894 SV% 1 SO
The Broncos are the highest ranked team the Spartans played this season, splitting the season series. Though unlikely, a rematch could be possible on Sunday for a spot to Nationals on the line. But along with a lot of work on the Spartans end, Boise has to get through Weber State first on Saturday.
#9 University of Nevada, Las Vegas Skatin' Rebels
Offensive Leaders: Cody Williams (38-23-61), Bryden Marsh (34-18-52), Austin Shannon (13-27-40)
Likely Starting Netminder: Terry Martin 14-7 3.54 GAA .901 SV% 1SO
A frequent opponent of SJSU, UNLV took both games in Las Vegas, while splitting the San Jose games. The first match-up betwen the two was the epic come-back that resulted in an 8-7 OT win for the Spartans. UNLV gets it's weekend started with a play-in game on Friday versus San Diego State.
#12 San Diego State University Aztecs
Offensive Leaders: Travis Sevilla (26-19-45), Hayden Bolls (20-20-40), Anthony Mata (18-19-37)
Likely Starting Netminder: Connor O'Brien 12-8 3.45 GAA .897 SV% 1 SO
A strong second semester pushed SDSU ahead of Denver for the final playoff spot. The Aztecs are the one team SJSU cannot possibly play this weekend. They'll take on UNLV in the first play-in game on Friday.