The State of Hockey is more than a state of mind — it’s a way of life. A year after falling short in the title bout, Karson Kuhlman opened the scoring 9:06 into the action before setting up Jared Thomas 9:33 later as the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs edged the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, 2-1, in the final of the 2018 Frozen Four NCAA National Championships.
It took double overtime, but the Bulldogs booked their ticket to the 2019 championships and a chance at defending their National Title after surviving St. Cloud State, 3-2, in sudden-death fashion in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference “Frozen Faceoff” on March 23 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN.
Nick Swaney’s goal, assisted by Tanner Laderoute and Jesse Jacques 7:29 into the second overtime period, clinched it for Minnesota-Duluth, which received the top seed in the Midwest Regional where it will now refocus and take on fourth-seeded Bowling Green in the 2019 Frozen Four NCAA Ice Hockey National Tournament on Saturday, March 30 at PPL Center in Allentown, Pa.
Founded in 1948, the 72nd annual NCAA Ice Hockey Tournament, which begins with Northeast and Western Regionals on March 29, pits 16 Division-I teams in four regional brackets in Providence, RI (East Regional), Allentown, PA (Midwest Regional), Manchester, NH (Northeast Regional) and Fargo, ND (West Regional).
The Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference leads the way with four teams coming from the ECAC this season, including tournament champion, Clarkson, which received an automatic bid following a 3-2 victory over Cornell in overtime at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, NY on March 24. Cornell, Harvard and Quinnipiac will also represent the ECAC.
Hockey East (Northeastern, Tournament Champion; Massachusetts, Providence, At-Large) and the NCHC (Minnesota-Duluth, Tournament Champion; St. Cloud State, Denver, At-Large) each have three teams vying for the National Title, while The Big Ten (Notre Dame, Tournament Champion; Ohio State, At-Large) and the WCHA (Minnesota State, Tournament Champion; Bowling Green, At-Large) each have two. American International, which edged Niagara University, 3-2, on March 23, will represent Atlantic Hockey marking the first time since 1992 an independent program received a tournament berth.
Michigan has the most titles with nine (1948, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1996, 1998), but Denver (1958, 1960, 1961, 1968, 1969, 2004, 2005, 2017) is looking to pull even this year for the most championships in tournament history.
Related: 2019 Conference Championship Recap
West Regional, March 29-30
Scheels Arena, Fargo, North Dakota
Friday, March 29, 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, ESPN3/WatchESPN
No. 1 St. Cloud State (30-5-3) vs. No. 4 American International (22-16-1)
Friday, March 29, 4 p.m. Eastern time, ESPNU/WatchESPN
No. 2 Denver (22-11-5) vs. No. 3 Ohio State (20-10-5)
Saturday, March 30, 9 p.m. Eastern time, ESPNU/WatchESPN
West Regional Championship
Northeast Regional, March 29-30
SNHU Arena, Manchester, New Hampshire
Friday, March 29, 3 p.m. Eastern time, ESPN2/WatchESPN
No. 1 Massachusetts (28-9) vs. No. 4 Harvard (19-10-3)
Friday, March 29, 6:30 p.m. Eastern time, ESPNU/WatchESPN
No. 2 Clarkson (26-10-2) vs. No. 3 Notre Dame (22-13-3)
Saturday, March 30, 6:30 p.m. Eastern time, ESPNU/WatchESPN
Northeast Regional Championship
East Regional, March 30-31
Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island
Saturday, March 30, 1 p.m. Eastern time, ESPNews/WatchESPN
No. 1 Minnesota State Mankato (32-7-2) vs. No. 4 Providence (22-11-6)
Saturday, March 30, 4:30 p.m. Eastern time, ESPNews/WatchESPN
No. 2 Northeastern (27-10-1) vs. No. 3 Cornell (20-10-4)
Saturday, March 31, 4 p.m. Eastern time, ESPN2/WatchESPN
East Regional Championship
Midwest Regional, March 30-31
PPL Center, Allentown, Pennsylvania
Saturday, March 30, 4 p.m. Eastern time, ESPNU/WatchESPN
No. 1 Minnesota Duluth (25-11-2) vs. No. 4 Bowling Green (25-10-5)
Saturday, March 30, 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, ESPN3/WatchESPN
No. 2 Quinnipiac (25-9-2) vs. No. 3 Arizona State (21-12-1)
Sunday, March 31, 6:30 p.m. Eastern time, ESPNU/WatchESPN
Midwest Regional Championship
Men’s Frozen Four, April 11 and 13
KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York
Thursday, April 11, 5 and 8:30 p.m. Eastern time, ESPN2/WatchESPN (order of games TBD)
West Regional Champion vs. Northeast Regional Champion
East Regional Champion vs. Midwest Regional Champion
Saturday, April 13, 8 p.m. Eastern time, ESPN2/WatchESPN
— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) March 24, 2019
Written by John Christian Hageny / @JCCSPORTS
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