Friday, March 28, 2014
The 2014 NCAA Men's Division I Ice Hockey Championships get underway today with the #3 seeded Union Dutchmen of the ECAC, the only team to win both it's regular season and playoff championships, taking on the #13 Vermont Catamounts of Hockey East in the first game of the East Regional in Bridgeport, CT at 2:00 PM eastern time on ESPNU. Vermont was one of five teams from Hockey East to qualify for the NCAA's, the most of any conference.
Play in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati, OH begins with the WCHA champions the #5 Ferris State Bulldogs up against the #12 Colgate Raiders, runners up in the ECAC at 4:30 online at ESPN3.com.
Goaltender C. J. Motte of Ferris State is among the Hobey Baker
candidates who are still playing for the NCAA championship
One hour later, last year's runner up, the #5 Qunnipiac Bobcats, third in the ECAC and with a nation leading 1.67 goals against average will battle the #11 Providence Friars, another of the qualifiers from Hockey East in the second game of the East Regional, also on ESPNU.
The day wraps up with a primetime matchup when former WCHA rivals, the #4 Wisconsin Badgers of the Big Ten renew old acquaintances with the #14 University of North Dakota of the NCHC, who only got into the field when Wisconsin defeated #19 Ohio State in overtime of the Big Ten conference tournament, as a win by Ohio State would have cost North Dakota it's place in the national championship playoffs. Their game in the Midwest Regional will complete the Friday ESPNU tripleheader.
Saturday sees action in the Northeast Regional in Worcester, MA begin with the #2 Boston College Eagles, champions of Hockey East, battling NCHC tournament champions the #23 Denver Pioneers at 4:00 on ESPNU.
Johnny Gaudreau and Boston College teammate
Kevin Hayes are both finalists for the Hobey Baker
In St. Paul, the West Regional begins with the #1 seed, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, with the nation's leading offense at 3.48 goals per game of offense and champions of the Big Ten hosting the upset minded #44 Robert Morris Colonials, winners of the Atlantic Hockey conference tournament at 5:30 on ESPN2.
The second game of the Northeast Regional gets underway at 7:30 PM when UMass Lowell River Hawks, #7 seed and Hockey East conference tournament champions skate against the #10 Minnesota State Mavericks, WCHA tournament champions online at ESPN3.com.
The first round is completed with the #9 St. Cloud State Huskies of the NCHC against the #8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who are competing in their first season in Hockey East, in a West Regional game which will air on ESPNU at 9:00.
Nic Dowd could make it back to back Hobey Baker
winners for St. Cloud State
While the first round games in both the Northeast and West regionals are taking place on Saturday, the winners of the East and Midwest regionals will be deciding who will advance to the Frozen Four in Philadelphia, PA April 10th and 12th. The final of the East Regional will be at 5:00 on ESPNU and the Midwest Regional will be decided at 6:30 on EPSNU.
Saturday's first round winners will advance to play on Sunday, with the Northeast Regional to be decided at 3:00 on ESPN2 and the Midwest Regional will determine the final spot in the Frozen Four at 7:30 on ESPNU.
Today's featured jersey is a 1993-94 Providence Friars Erik Peterson jersey. Providence College was a charter member of Hockey East when it was founded for the 1984-85 season with seven teams, with the Friars making it to the NCAA championship final that season, the third and most recent Frozen Four in school history, with the previous ones coming in 1964 and 1983, but their only appearance in the final.
Providence has won the Hockey East tournament twice, 1985 and 1996, and won the ECAC tournament in both 1964 and 1981 prior to joining Hockey East. 1964 also saw the Friars win the ECAC regular season championship as well.
Hockey East earned it's first national championship in 1993 when the Maine Black Bears took home the crown and in 1995 the conference monopolized the final when Maine lost to Boston University in the championship final, a feat repeated in 1999 when Maine downed the New Hampshire Wildcats for a second All-Hockey East final.
Since then Boston College won the national championship in 2001and again in 2008. Cross-town rivals Boston University rose to the top in 2009 and Boston College completed the Hockey East national title hat trick in 2010. The most recent championship for Hockey East came in 2012 when Boston College won the eighth championship for Hockey East.
With the addition of Notre Dame this season and the Connecticut Huskies for next season, Hockey East will have grown to 12 teams.