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Men’s hockey earns first-round bye, hosts Stevens Point in quarterfinal

By ,  |  Sunday, March 9, 2014 9:22 PM

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The St. Thomas men’s hockey team earned a first-round bye in the NCAA tournament selection show Sunday night and will host Wis.-Stevens Point in the national quarterfinals Saturday, March 15 at St. Thomas Ice Arena.

St. Thomas earned its first NCAA tournament bid since 2012 as the MIAC playoff champion, while Stevens Point received an at-large bid coming from the WIAC.

This will be the second meeting between the Tommies and Pointers this season as Stevens Point defeated St. Thomas 3-0 on Nov. 15 at St. Thomas Ice Arena.

"Win today and we walk together forever" is written on the wall in the locker room. St. Thomas will face UW-Stevens Point on Saturday, March 15.

“Win today and we walk together forever” is written on the wall in the locker room. St. Thomas will face UW-Stevens Point on Saturday, March 15.

Stevens Point has been ranked in the top five nationally for a majority of the season and has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the D3hockey.com poll.

The Pointers average 40 shots per game, with forward Garrett Ladd leading the team with 40 points in 27 games. Forward Kyle Sharkey is second on the team in scoring with 31 points in 26 games. Junior goaltender Brandon Jaeger has started 23 games this season and is 18-5-1 with a 2.00 goals against average and .921 save percentage.

St. Thomas is led by goaltender Drew Fielding, who notched eight shutouts this season in 24 games. Behind Fielding’s .943 save percentage this year, St. Thomas set a MIAC record for fewest goals allowed in a conference season with 19.

St. Thomas sports a well-balanced offense with nine players who have at least 10 points this season. Forward Alex Altenbernd leads the Tommies in scoring with 25 points in 26 games.

Jacob Sevening and Kyle Jonas contributed to this report.

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