The Midwest Region of the NCAA Hockey tournament will kick off on Friday, with Ferris State playing the Denver Pioneers. Despite not getting the No. 1 seed in the region, the Bulldogs might have an easier time of it than they thought they would, with Denver rattled by injuries.
If Denver is healthy, then between Drew Shore, Nick Shore and Jason Zucker, they will have a heck of a first line of scoring talent out there. Zucker is probably the highest profile guy who could miss with an injury, and the Pioneers would miss him against the strong goaltending of Tyler Nelson in the Bulldogs' net. Jordie Johnston will need to lead the Bulldogs, as he had 18 goals and 15 assists as the points leader on the team during the season.
Ferris State can take this game simply by letting the shots fly free and often against Denver's porous defense that allowed 32 shots per game this season. Neither member of the Denver goalie tandem of Juho Olkinuora and Sam Brittain were particularly effective this season, though Brittain will probably get the nod with his 8-3 overall record.
Game Time: March 23, 5 p.m. ET
You can find a full bracket for the NCAA hockey tournament on the official NCAA site.
For more on the 2012 NCAA hockey tournament, check out SB Nation Detroit's StoryStream.