The Wildcats head into the tournament with a 20-12-6 overall record, after finishing the season in fourth place in the Hockey East standings with a 14-7-6 mark in league play. This marks UNH's fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA's, they are one of five teams that have appeared in the last five NCAA tournaments. UNH is led statistically by junior forward Jacob Micflikier, who has registered 42 points (16g, 26a) in his junior season, while junior forwards Daniel Winnik (15g, 26a) and Brett Hemingway (19g, 22a) rank second on the team in scoring with 41 points apiece.
UNH owns a 12-19 all-time mark in the national tournament, which includes a 10-11-0 record under head coach Dick Umile in 11 NCAA appearances. The Wildcats have made 11 appearances in the tournament since 1994.
Michigan State is the No. 1 seed in the East regional with a 24-11-8 overall record. The Spartans won their 11th CCHA tournament championship over Miami (Ohio) on Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena, 2-1. MSU finished second in the CCHA standings with a 14-7-7 record in conference games. In their last 12 games, the Spartans have compiled a 10-1-1 record. Junior forward Drew Miller leads the team in scoring with 42 points, while sophomore forward Bryan Lerg has notched 15-22-37 as the second leading scorer on the roster.
The last time the two teams met was Dec. 29, 2004, a 4-3 win for Michigan State in overtime in the first round of the Great Lakes Invitational Tournament in Detroit, Michigan at Joe Louis Arena. The Wildcats own a 3-0 all-time mark vs. Michigan State in NCAA Tournament, the last meeting was a 5-3 UNH win on April 1, 1999, in the NCAA semifinal at Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, Calif. The two teams teams first met in the tournament in 1982, with UNH winning the quarterfinal series, 3-2 on March 19 and 6-2 on March 20 at Snively Arena.
The Wildcats own a 3-1 all-time record at Pepsi Arena in Albany. The last time UNH played in the building was in the 1998 East regional, when Mark Mowers scored at 10:49 of overtime to beat Boston University on March 29 to send the 'Cats to the Frozen Four in Boston.
The winner of the UNH/MSU game will play the winner of the Harvard (21-11-2) vs. Maine (26-11-2) game in the East regional final on Sunday, March 26 at 2 p.m. The winner of East regional final will advance to the 2006 Frozen Four at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wis. on April 6th.
To purchase tickets to the NCAA East Regional at Pepsi Arena visit www.pepsiarena.com or call 1-800-303-8368. Tickets for the three-game all-session package are $72 dollars for adults and $66 dollars for children under 12.