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Friday, April 19, 2024

Boston College leads field in hockey tournament

As the nation’s lone 30-win team with 14 NHL draft picks, Boston College will enter the NCAA Division I men’s national tournament as the No. 1 overall seed in a regional that features defending national champion Quinnipiac.

BC (31-5-1) is looking to win its first national title since 2012 and the first since Jerry York, the all-time winningest coach in Division I hockey, retired after the 2021-22 season. Six-time national champion Boston University along with nine-time national champion Denver and a resurgent three-time champion Michigan State were also named No. 1 seeds in their respective regionals.

“I was fortunate to watch Coach York do it for 14 years while I was his assistant,” Eagles coach Greg Brown said during the selection show broadcast on ESPN about his team’s 11-member freshman class. “I had a good head start on how to manage a big freshman class and the kids were great. “They came in so eager to learn and be a part of the team. It wasn’t a tough transition.”

First-round picks Ryan Leonard and Will Smith were part of a promising freshman class that was able to help the Eagles win their first Hockey East regular-season title since 2020 and the first conference tournament title since 2012.

BC will open against Michigan Tech (19-14-6) on Friday at 2 p.m. ET in the Providence Regional at Amica Mutual Pavilion in Providence, R.I. Wisconsin (26-11-2) will face defending national champion Quinnipiac (26-9-2) at 5:30 p.m. in the second game of the regional. The regional final will be played Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.

National No. 2 seed BU (26-9-2) and freshman star center Macklin Celebrini, the projected No. 1 pick of this year’s NHL Draft, are trying to win their sixth national title and first since 2009. They’ll face RIT (27-10-2) to open the Sioux Falls Regional on Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. Last year’s national runner-up Minnesota (22-10-5) will face Nebraska Omaha (23-12-4) at 8:30 p.m. The regional final is set for Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

The 2022 national champions and No. 3 seed Denver (28-9-3) will seek what would be a nation-high 10th national title, starting against the 2021 national champion Massachusetts (20-13-6) on Thursday at 2 p.m. in the Springfield Regional at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass. Maine (23-11-2) will face Cornell (21-6-6) at 5:30 p.m. The regional final is slated for Saturday at 4 p.m.

National No. 4 seed Michigan State (24-9-3) is making its first tournament appearance since 2012. MSU is looking for its first Frozen Four since 2007 as it will open against Western Michigan (21-15-1) on Friday at 5 p.m. ET in the Maryland Heights Region at Centene Community Ice Center in Maryland Heights, Mo. Eight-time national champions North Dakota (26-11-2) will face nine-time national champion Michigan (21-14-3) at 8:30 p.m. The regional final is set for Sunday at 6:30 p.m.

The teams that win those four regionals will travel to the Frozen Four at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. The winner of the Providence Regional will play the winner of the Maryland Heights Regional while the winner of the Springfield Regional will take on the winner of the Sioux Falls Regional.

The winner of those national semifinal games will play each other Saturday, April 13 at 6 p.m. ET for the national championship.

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