Notre Dame, Ind. -
The Notre Dame hockey team, fresh off its third CCHA Championship, will make its sixth appearance in the NCAA Championship when the Irish travel to Toledo, Ohio, to compete in the Midwest Regional on March 30-31 at the Huntington Center, the home of the East Coast Hockey League's Toledo Walleye.
Notre Dame is the top seed in the regional and will face fourth-seed St. Cloud State in the opening game of the regional at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 30. The Huskies are making their ninth appearance in the NCAA Championship with the last coming in 2010. They finished the regular season as the WCHA champion and were upset in the WCHA Final Five by Wisconsin, 4-1.
The Notre Dame-St. Cloud State game will be televised by ESPN Syndication and ESPN3 on the day of the game. The can be seen on ESPNU on tape delay on Sunday, March 31 at noon.
Joining the Irish in the Midwest Regional are No. 2 seed Miami with the RedHawks playing the No. 3 seed Minnesota State in the second game at 5:00 p.m. on March 30.
The Midwest Regional Championship game will be played at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 31 and the game will be televised live on ESPNU. The winner will advance to the Frozen Four at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., on April 11-13.
Notre Dame is making its fifth appearance since 2007 and sixth overall in the 45-year history of the program. The last time the Irish were in the tournament was 2010-11 when they were a No. 3 seed in the Northeast Regional 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.
Prior to that appearance, Notre Dame was the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional in 2008-09 and was upset by Bemidji State, 5-1, in the opening game at Grand Rapids, Mich. 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 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 ninth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine and USCHO.com polls and are 25-12-3 overall after winning the final CCHA Championship on Sunday afternoon with a 3-1 win over Michigan. Notre Dame advanced with a 3-1 win over Ohio State in the semifinals.
St. Cloud State enters the NCAA Championship with a 23-15-1 record and was seventh in the most recent polls. The Irish and Huskies have met 10 times in the all-time series with the series even at 5-5-0. The first meeting came on Oct. 21, 1988 with St. Cloud taking a 4-3 win. The last time the teams met was on Oct. 17-18, 1997 in a two-game series in St. Cloud. Notre Dame won both games, 4-3 in overtime and 4-1 in regulation.
In the other game, second-seeded Miami enters with a 24-11-5 mark and was the CCHA regular-season champion. The RedHawks lost to Michigan in the CCHA semifinals on March 23 by a 6-2 score. During the regular season, Notre Dame was 1-1-0 against Miami. The RedHawks are making their eighth consecutive appearance in the tournament and the 11th in the program's history. They were ranked third in both polls to start last week. All-time, Notre Dame and Miami have met 66 times with the RedHawks holding a 39-17-10 edge in the series and a 4-1-0 record on neutral ice.
Minnesota State Mankato is the third seed and is 24-13-3 on the year and was ranked eighth in both polls last week. The Mavericks tied for fourth in the WCHA and lost in the Final Five by a 7-2 score to Wisconsin.
They are making their second NCAA appearance with the first coming in the 2002-03 season. MSU and Notre Dame have met 10 times in the all-time series with the Irish holding a 6-4-0 advantage. The first meeting came on Dec. 1-2, 1989 with Notre Dame sweeping the Mavericks, 5-0 and 5-3, at the Joyce Center. The last time the two squads got together was Jan. 1, 2011 in the Shillelagh Tournament in Hoffman Estates, Ill., with Minnesota State winning a semifinal game, 4-3.
All-session tickets are $75.00 (for three games) with season ticket holder sales beginning at 8:30 a.m. on March 25 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 Huntington Center Box Office at (419) 321-5007. Service charges may apply. The Huntington Center seats 8,200 for hockey.