Quinnipiac University, regular-season champions in the ECAC, was selected as the top overall seed as the field of 16 teams was announced for the 2013 NCAA men's ice hockey tournament on Sunday night.
The Bobcats (27-7-5), who spent multiple weeks atop the national rankings in the second half of the campaign, will open up as the top program in the East Region at Providence, RI. Despite a sudden exit in the ECAC semifinals to Yale, the Connecticut-based school garnered enough notice to gain the lofty honor.
Hockey East regular-season and playoff titlist UMass-Lowell (26-10-2) was awarded top billing in the East Region, playing out of Manchester, NH; Minnesota, (26-8-5) which remained atop the rankings, was named the premier club in the West Region from Grand Rapids, MI; Notre Dame (25-12-3) -- the final champion in the history of the CCHA, snagged the Midwest Region's first slot and will host in Toledo, OH.
Quinnipiac begins its quest for a first NCAA championship by entertaining Canisius on Saturday, while defending champion Boston College will square off against 2012 national semifinalist Union College later in the evening. In that game, South Jersey's own and Hobey Baker finalist Johnny Gaudreau will face Flyers 2012 draftee. defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere.
On Friday, the UMass-Lowell River Hawks tussle with WCHA playoff champion Wisconsin, while a pair of at-large selections, New Hampshire and Denver, complete the regional matchups.
The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame also open up on Friday, taking on St. Cloud State. Miami-Ohio -- the 2009 runner-up -- was paired with Minnesota State.
The final Friday contests find Minnesota battling Yale and soon-to-be NCHC bellwether North Dakota playing Niagara.
One noticeable absence in the field of 16 was the University of Michigan, which was squeezed out of national postseason play for the first time in 23 years after losing to Notre Dame.
The Frozen Four will take place at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, with the national semifinals on April 11 and the championship contested two days later.