March 23, 2014
Notre Dame, Ind. - The Notre Dame hockey team's postseason will continue this coming weekend when the Irish, seeded second in the NCAA West Regional, will face the third-seeded St. Cloud State Huskies at 8:00 p.m. (CT) on Saturday, March 29 at the XCel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. This marks the first time that Notre Dame has been a second seed in a hockey regional.
Also in the regional are the top-seeded, Minnesota Golden Gophers, who will play host to the Robert Morris Colonials in the opening game of the regional at 4:30 p.m. (CT) on Saturday. The winners of the two games will meet at 6:30 p.m. (CT) on Sunday, March 30.
Notre Dame's game with St. Cloud State is a rematch of last year's Midwest Regional opener in Toledo, Ohio where the Huskies handed the Irish a 5-1 loss as they advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four. This year's meeting will be televised on ESPNU/Watch ESPN. The Minnesota-Robert Morris game can be seen on ESPN2/Watch ESPN while Sunday's Regional championship will be available on ESPNU/WatchESPN.
The Irish are making their sixth NCAA appearance since 2007 and the seventh overall in the 46-year history of the program and own a 6-6 overall record. Notre Dame's last tournament appearance was as the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional in Toledo, Ohio last season where lost to St. Cloud State. This will be the second NCAA tournament appearance for the Irish in St. Paul, Minn., as they played there in the 2011 NCAA Frozen Four, dropping a 4-3 decision to eventual champion, Minnesota-Duluth, in the semifinals.
Prior to last year's appearance against St. Cloud State in Toledo, the Irish were in the tournament in 2010-11 when they were a No. 3 seed in the Northeast Regional at Manchester, N.H. where they defeated Merrimack, 4-3 in overtime and then New Hampshire, 2-1, to take the Regional Championship. In the Frozen Four, the Irish lost to eventual champion, Minnesota-Duluth, 4-3, in the semifinals.
In 2008-09, Notre Dame was the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional at Grand Rapids and was upset by Bemidji State, 5-1, in the opening game. In 2007-08, Notre Dame was the last at-large team to make the tournament and advanced to the Frozen Four where they lost in the national championship game to Boston College, 4-1, after defeating Michigan, 5-4, in the semifinals. Notre Dame advanced out of the West Regional at Colorado Springs, Colo., as a No. 4 seed with a 7-3 win over top-seeded New Hampshire and then won the regional with a 3-1 win over Michigan State.
In 2006-07, the Irish were the tournament's top seed and defeated Alabama-Huntsville, 3-2, in double overtime in the opening game before falling to Michigan State in the Midwest Regional at Grand Rapids, Mich., by a 2-1 score. In 2003-04, Notre Dame made its first-ever appearance, playing in Grand Rapids where they dropped an opening round game to Minnesota, 5-2.
The Irish are currently ranked eighth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll and 10th in the USCHO.com rankings and are 23-14-2 overall. They played last Friday in the semifinals of the Hockey East Championships in Boston, dropping a 4-0 decision to UMass-Lowell.
St. Cloud State is making its 10th appearance in the NCAA Championship and has a 21-10-5 overall record. The Huskies were the regular-season champions of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) in its first season with a 15-6-3 league mark. The Huskies were upset in the quarterfinals of the NCHC Tournament, dropping a pair of games to Miami, 5-4 in overtime and 4-3. They entered last week ranked 10th in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll and eighth in the USCHO.com rankings.
Notre Dame and St. Cloud State have met 11 times in the all-time series with the Huskies holding a 6-5-0 advantage. The first meeting came on Oct. 21, 1988 with St. Cloud taking a 4-3 win with the last meeting being in last year's NCAA Midwest Regional.
In the regional's first game, top-seeded Minnesota brings a 25-5-6 overall record into Saturday's early game and the Golden Gophers were the regular-season winner of the Big 10 Conference. They lost in the conference semifinals to Ohio State, 3-1. Minnesota has appeared in 35 NCAA Tournaments and has five national championships to its credit. During the regular season, Notre Dame was 1-1-0 against Minnesota in a pair of games played at the Compton Family Ice Arena in November. The Irish and Gophers have met 41 times in the all-time series with Minnesota holding a 24-14-3 advantage. The Gophers entered this week ranked first in both national polls.
Robert Morris is the fourth-seeded team in the tournament and represents the Atlantic Hockey Association. The Colonials were 19-17-5 on the season and won the AHA Tournament Championship with a wins over Niagara and Canisius this past weekend. Robert Morris is making its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. The Irish and the Colonials have met twice in the two program histories with each team winning a game during the 2006-07 season.
All-session tickets are $94.00 (for three games) with Notre Dame season ticket holder sales beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, March 24 at the Murnane Family Ticket Office or by phone at (574) 631-7356.
Tickets also can be purchased through Ticketmaster at ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. They also are available at the Xcel Energy Center Box Office or online at ncaa.com/tickets.