Road to Buf­falo: Field set as teams set sights on Frozen Four

Ni­a­gara doesn’t get at-large berth

The Buffalo News - - NHL -

The NCAA Divi­sion I Men’s Hockey Cham­pi­onships be­gins Fri­day as 16 teams com­pete to fin­ish their sea­sons in Buf­falo as the na­tional cham­pi­ons.

The Frozen Four will be held at KeyBank Cen­ter on April 11 and 13.

Amer­i­can In­ter­na­tional Col­lege, which de­feated Ni­a­gara, 3-2, in over­time Sat­ur­day at Har­bor­center for the At­lantic Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion cham­pi­onship, drew a tough as­sign­ment in the first round.

The Yel­low­jack­ets (22-16-1) will face St. Cloud State (30-53), the No. 1-ranked team in the na­tion, on Fri­day at Scheel Arena in Fargo, N.D., in the West Re­gion.

AIC, the re­gion’s fourth seed, was one of six teams to earn an au­to­matic bid for win­ning its con­fer­ence tour­na­ment.

It will be the first time AIC will play in the NCAA Tour­na­ment in 70 sea­sons of hockey at the Spring­field, Mass., school. AIC first put a team on the ice in 1948-49 and started play­ing Divi­sion I in 1998-99.

The other game in the West pits Den­ver (22-11-5) against Ohio State (20-10-5).

St. Cloud, the No. 1 seed in the West, is an at-large en­try, af­ter los­ing to Min­neso­taDu­luth, 3-2, in over­time in the Na­tional Col­le­giate Hockey Con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game on Sat­ur­day.

Other au­to­matic bids went to de­fend­ing na­tional cham­pion Notre Dame (Big Ten), Clark­son (ECAC), Min­nesota State (Western Col­le­giate Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion) and North­east­ern (Hockey East).

All six con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship games Sat­ur­day were by 3-2 scores, and four went to over­time.

Three los­ing teams in con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship games were se­lected as at-large en­tries. They are St. Cloud, Cor­nell and and Bowl­ing Green. Ni­a­gara was one of three con­fer­ence run­ners-up not se­lected. The oth­ers were Penn State and Bos­ton Col­lege.

Mas­sachusetts (28-9), an at-large team, will be the No. 1 seed in the North­east Re­gional at SNHU Arena in Manch­ester, N.H. The Min­ute­men will face No. 4 Har­vard (19-10-3). No. 2 Clark­son (26-10-2) will face No. 3 Notre Dame (22-13-3) in the other North­east game.

Min­nesota State-Mankato (32-7-2) will be the No. 1 seed in the East Re­gional at Dunkin Donuts Cen­ter in Prov­i­dence and face the home­town Fri­ars (22-11-6). No. 2 North­east­ern (27-10-1) will op­pose ECAC run­ner-up Cor­nell (20-10-4) in the other game.

Min­nesota-Du­luth (25-11-2) will be the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Re­gional at PPL Cen­ter in Al­len­town, Pa., and face No. 4 Bowl­ing Green (25-10-5).

The other Midwest game will have No. 2 Quin­nip­iac (25-9-2) tak­ing on No. 3 Ari­zona State (21-12-1), an in­de­pen­dent play­ing in the na­tional tour­na­ment for the first time. West Re­gional and North­east Re­gional games will be Fri­day and Sat­ur­day. The East and Midwest re­gional games will be Sat­ur­day and Sun­day.

All re­gional and Frozen Four games will be tele­vised by ESPN. The four re­gional win­ners will make up the Frozen Four for the na­tional semi­fi­nals and ti­tle game.

West Re­gional

Scheels Arena, Fargo, N.D.

Fri­day: No. 1 St. Cloud State (30-5-3) vs. No. 4 Amer­i­can In­ter­na­tional (22-16-1), 7:30 p.m.

Fri­day: No. 2 Den­ver (22-11-5) vs. No. 3 Ohio State (20-10-5), 4 p.m.

Sat­ur­day: West Re­gional Cham­pi­onship, 9 p.m.

North­east Re­gional

SNHU Arena, Manch­ester, N.H.

Fri­day: No. 1 Mas­sachusetts (28-9) vs. No. 4 Har­vard (19-10-3), 3 p.m.

Fri­day: No. 2 Clark­son (26-10-2) vs. No. 3 Notre Dame (22-13-3), 6:30 p.m.

Sat­ur­day: North­east Re­gional Cham­pi­onship, 6:30 p.m.

East Re­gional

Dunkin’ Donuts Cen­ter, Prov­i­dence, R.I.

Sat­ur­day: No. 1 Min­nesota State Mankato (32-7-2) vs. No. 4 Prov­i­dence (22-11-6), 1 p.m.

Sat­ur­day: No. 2 North­east­ern (27-10-1) vs. No. 3 Cor­nell (20-10-4), 4:30 p.m.

Sun­day: East Re­gional Cham­pi­onship, 4 p.m.

Midwest Re­gional

PPL Cen­ter, Al­len­town, Pa.

Sat­ur­day: No. 1 Min­nesota Du­luth (25-11-2) vs. No. 4 Bowl­ing Green (25-10-5), 4 p.m.

Sat­ur­day: No. 2 Quin­nip­iac (25-9-2) vs. No. 3 Ari­zona State (21-12-1), 7:30 p.m.

Sun­day: Midwest Re­gional Cham­pi­onship, 6:30 p.m.

Frozen Four

KeyBank Cen­ter, Buf­falo

April 11: West Re­gional Cham­pion vs. North­east Re­gional Cham­pion, TBD.

April 11: East Re­gional Cham­pion vs. Midwest Re­gional Cham­pion, TBD.

April 13: Na­tional Cham­pi­onship, 8 p.m.

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