Posted 4 months ago
By Robert Lovell
KEARNEY, Neb. – When the 2014 NCAA men’s hockey tournament kicks off on Friday afternoon across the family of ESPN networks, 10 former Storm players will represent eight different teams attempting to capture this year’s national championship.
The No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, Minnesota, led by Big Ten player and goaltender of the year Adam Wilcox, will be in the West Regional.
Wilcox has been outstanding all year for the Golden Gophers, winning 23 games and posting a 1.91 goals against average and a .933 save percentage. The sophomore will be right at home when the Gophers open up against Robert Morris in his hometown of St. Paul, Minn.
The goaltender played 34 games for the Storm in 2011-12 and led Tri-City to the 2012 USHL Clark Cup Playoffs.
Three Storm alums represent the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional, Ferris State. Jason Binkley, Dominic Panetta and Simon Denis help comprise a Bulldogs roster that will look to get back to the Frozen Four for the second time in three seasons.
Binkley has been one of the Bulldogs’ top defenseman in his junior year, scoring three goals and 21 assists in 39 games. Panetta, teammates with Binkley in Tri-City during the 2010-11 season, has two goals and five assists in 22 games.
Denis, another member of the 2010-11 Storm team, played six games before an injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
Three members of the Storm’s 2012-13 roster from last season have also earned a place in the tournament. They include Michael Vecchione, Trevor Mingoia and Trevor Moore.
Vecchione, who led the Storm with 26 goals in 2012-13, has had a breakout season as a freshman at Union College. The Saugus, Mass. native scored 31 points in 34 games in his first season on campus that included 12 goals and 19 assists. His contributions helped Union to an ECAC Championship and a No. 1 seed in the East Regional.
Mingoia made a big impact with Providence College during the season’s final stretch, scoring 13 points in 24 games. The Friars have a first round matchup with Quinnipiac and could potentially see Vecchione and Union in the East Regional Final.
Moore also played an important offensive role in his freshman season at the University of Denver, scoring 13 goals and 18 assists in 41 games. Denver secured their spot in the tournament by winning the first ever NCHC Frozen Faceoff last weekend. The Pioneers will play Northeast Regional No. 1 seed Boston College in the first round.
A year ago, Moore was the leading scorer for the Storm, accounting for 63 points on 20 goals and 43 assists.
Other Storm alums in the tournament include the University of Vermont’s Mario Puskarich (2009-11), the Hockey East’s Rookie of the Year, Quinnipiac forward Soren Jonzzon (2010-12), and North Dakota defenseman Andrew Panzarella (2009-10).
All NCAA Tournament regional games will take place from March 28-30. The Frozen Four gets underway April 10 in Philadelphia.
The 2014 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey National Championship bracket can be found here.
Tri-City will now hit the road for four games over the next two weekends in Fargo, Sioux City and Des Moines. Catch all the action on The Breeze 94.5 FM beginning with the Viaero Wireless Pre-Game Show from Fargo on Friday night at6:45 p.m.
The Storm’s final game of the 2013-14 season, Fan Appreciation and Anderson Cup Tribute Night, is scheduled for April 5 against Lincoln at 7:05 p.m. at the Viaero Event Center.