Gophers men’s hockey gets a No. 1 seed in NCAA tournament – Press

The Gophers men’s hockey team received a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, qualifying for the 16-team tournament after failing to a year ago.

Minnesota (23-11-3) begins play in the four-team Northeast Regional in Manchester, N.H., at 2:30 p.m.Saturday against future Big Ten foe Notre Dame (21-11-5) in a game that will be televised on ESPNU.

If the Gophers win, they will play in Sunday’s regional final against the winner of the other semifinal, UMass-Lowell (26-10-3) vs. Cornell (21-8-5) at 11 a.m. Saturday, with a trip to the Frozen Four on the line. 

“It’s a very good regional, and a great match-up for us to start with against Notre Dame,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said. “We know them, and they know us. We’re excited to get back into the tournament and compete for a national championship.”

UMass-Lowell is the No. 2 seed in the regional, Cornell is No. 3 and Notre Dame is No. 4.

The Gophers are looking for their first NCAA tournament victory since 2014, when they advanced to the championship game before losing 7-4 to Union (N.Y.). This is the Gophers’ 37 trip to the NCAA tournament, a national record.

Two years ago, the Gophers also played their regional in New Hampshire, losing to Minnesota-Duluth in the first round.

The Bulldogs (25-6-7) also received a No. 1 seed in the tournament this season and will open in Fargo, N.D. They are the only other team from Minnesota in the tournament.

Duluth opens at 6:30 p.m. Friday against Ohio State (21-11-6). North Dakota (21-15-3) and Boston U. (23-11-3) play in the other Fargo semifinal at 3 p.m. Friday.

Three Big Ten teams made the field: the Gophers, Buckeyes and Big Ten tournament champion Penn State, which plays Union at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in Cincinnati. Wisconsin did not make the field.

Denver (29-7-4) is the No. 1 seed in the Cincinnati regional, and Harvard (26-5-2) is No. 1 in the Providence, R.I., regional.

The Frozen Four is set for April 6-8 at the United Center in Chicago.