Sophomore quartet skates into brackets

Four Sabres prospects will be packing their bags this week as the 16-team field for the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament was announced Sunday.

The Miami RedHawks were named the #1 seed in the Midwest region in what could be a coming-out party for sophomore Connor Knapp. The 6'5 goaltender has been hot of late, and should be in the crease when the RedHawks open the tourney Saturday against #4 Alabama-Huntsville (4:00. ESPNU). Bemidji State (#2) and Michigan (#3) round out the action in Ft. Wayne.

The North Dakota Fighting Sioux, winners of the WCHA Final Five, have been tabbed the #2 seed in the Northeast Regional in Worcester. Sophomore Brad Eidsness will lead the Sioux charge between the pipes when they square off with #3 Yale on Saturday (5:00, TV TBD). After playing six games in nine days, the Saturday opener essentially gives the Sioux an extra day of rest. Fellow sophomore Corey Fienhage is set to remain as the #6 defensemen pending the health of freshman Joe Gleason. Boston College (#1) and Alaska (#4) occupy the other half of the bracket.

With their fate riding on Saturday night's results, the University of Vermont Catamounts earned an at-large as the #4 seed in the West. Sophomore Drew MacKenzie, a key situations defender looking to erase an unfortunate bounce in last year's Frozen Four, will be primed for Friday's opener against #1 Wisconsin (8:00, ESPNU HD). #2 St. Cloud State and #3 Northern Michigan will open the action in St. Paul.
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