The path to the NCAA Division II championship begins today for Daemen in the first round of the East Region Championship. The Wildcats enter their first-ever NCAA tournament as a No. 5 seed and will play No. 4-seeded New Haven at 7:30 p.m.
The Chargers finished their season 20-9 overall and 13-7 in the Northeast 10 conference after losing in the conference championship to Merrimack.
New Haven has not won an NCAA championship game in its program history. Today’s will be the Chargers’ first tournament bout since 2014.
Junior Elijah Bailey leads the New Haven offense with 19.2 points per game this season.
While the guard was outstanding in the regular campaign, he only averaged 13 points in the NE10 tournament.
In contrast, junior Roy Kane Jr. has stepped up his game for New Haven in the past weeks.
Kane racked up double-digit points in seven out of his last eight games. He averaged 14.3 points per game in the NE10 tournament.
Daemen has plenty of firepower to match the Chargers. Center Andrew Sischo spearheads the Wildcats’ offense by averaging 21 points per game. The redshirt sophomore also grabs, on average, 10 rebounds per game.
The NCAA Division II tournament follows a different structure than the Division I tournament.
Teams are funneled into eight regional brackets each with their own championship. The winner of each region is then entered into the Elite Eight tournament and reseeded for the overall championship bracket.
If Mike MacDonald and his Wildcats want to win it all, they’ll first have to conquer the East.
Niagara icers win in OT
It took seven extra minutes, but Niagara came away with a win to open their Atlantic Hockey playoff series with Air Force, 3-2, Friday night.
Ludwig Stenlund tallied the winning goal for the Purple Eagles (15-18-6, 12-12-4). The freshman was responsible for two Niagara goals and led the team with three points.
Eric Cooley netted the Eagles’ other goal, his ninth of the season.
Dan Bailey and Pierce Pluemer each scored for the Falcons (16-13-6, 14-10-4).
Goalie Brian Wilson was outstanding as he made 36 saves including a highlight-reel stop lying on his back in the second period.
The series continues today at 9 p.m. eastern at the USAF Academy in Colorado.