SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Twenty-four former players and coaches from the Sioux Falls Stampede will look to bring home the coveted 2021 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship beginning March 26 through April 10. Twenty-two former players and two former coaches will be featured across 13 of the 16 teams in the tournament.
The first matchup includes University of North Dakota forward Gavin Hain (2016-17) against American International College in the Fargo Regional. Hain scored the overtime-winning goal against Denver in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff semifinal game to send the Fighting Hawks to the conference championship where the team defeated St. Cloud State to earn their automatic bid to the tournament.
The other regional matchup includes Michigan senior forward and captain Jack Becker (2014-17) against Minnesota Duluth. Becker played 109 games with the Herd, tallying 51 points from 24 goals and 27 assists. He won the 2021 B1G Sportsmanship Award and is a draft pick of the Boston Bruins.
The Bridgeport regional matchup will include Wisconsin forward Sam Stange (2019-20) against former forward Aaron Miller (2015-16) of Bemidji State University.
The University of Massachusetts Minutemen hockey program features the most Stampede alumni with four and includes former captain and Clark Cup champion Ryan Sullivan (2018-20), defenseman Matt Kessel (2018-19), forward Carson Gicewicz (2015-16), and Nolan Gluchowski (2013-14). Gluchowski is now an assistant coach with the program. Kessel is the highest goal-scoring defenseman in the entire tournament with nine goals this season. The Minutemen won the Hockey East conference championship for their automatic bid to the tournament.
Former defenseman Ryan Johnson (2018-19), forward Jaxon Nelson (2016-18), and head coach Bob Motzko (1999-01) of the Minnesota Golden Gophers will face off against forwards Kevin Conley (2017-18) and Ryan Brushett (2015-16) of University of Nebraska, Omaha, in the Loveland Regional. Johnson earned an NCAA B1G All-Star Team for his performance throughout the season. The Gophers won the B1G championship tournament over Wisconsin for their automatic bid.
The other half of the regional will feature two former Clark Cup champions in forward Cade Borchardt (2018-19) for Minnesota State, Mankato, to take on defenseman and Clark Cup champion Logan Britt (2018-19). Borchardt is the highest scoring former player in the tournament this season with 22 points from eight goals and 14 assists.
The final regional based out of Albany, New York, hosts the most alumni in the tournament with eight players and one coach. Number one seed Boston College and former defenseman Jack St. Ivany (2016-18) will face off against forward Cameron Burke (2017-18) and defenseman Charlie Raith (2015-16) with Notre Dame.
On the flip side, former forwards Jami Krannila (2018-19) and Nolan Walker (2016-18) and former assistant coach Nick Oliver (2015-18) of St. Cloud State will go up against Boston University forwards Matt Quercia (2016-18), Ethan Phillips (2018-19) and Sam Stevens (2018-19). Krannila finished second in team scoring for the Huskies as a sophomore with 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points in 27 games played.
The tournament begins on Friday, March 26 and will be broadcasted on ESPN2 and ESPNU with the championship game on Saturday, April 10 at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN. For a complete list of games and times, go to https://www.ncaa.com/sports/icehockey-men/d1.