Monday, March 25, 2013

Quinnipiac #1 seed in NCAA Tournament field

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.
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