March 24, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota men's hockey program will open its 34th NCAA tournament as the No. 2 overall seed on Friday against Yale at the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey West Regional in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Van Andel Arena, the University of Michigan and the Western Michigan Sports Commission will host this year's NCAA West Regional with Minnesota (26-8-5) and Yale (18-12-3) opening the weekend at 2 p.m. ET on Friday followed by North Dakota (21-12-7) and Niagara (23-9-3) at 5:30 p.m. The NCAA West Regional final is scheduled for Saturday, March 30 at 4 p.m. All three games will be broadcast on ESPNU.
"This has certainly been a college hockey season to remember with plenty of excitement all year, and I doubt the NCAA tournament will be any different," Minnesota head coach Don Lucia, who is 4-0-0 all-time against Yale, said. "We're excited about our matchup with Yale and excited to be heading to Grand Rapids."
The Gophers return to the national tournament with five national championships (`74, '76, '79, '02, '03) and 20 Frozen Four appearances including a memorable run to the NCAA semifinals last season. Minnesota holds a 52-34 (.604) record in the NCAA tournament with this year's matchup marking the first-ever NCAA postseason meeting between Yale and Minnesota. The Gophers are 13-6-0 all-time against the Bulldogs in a history that dates back to December 21, 1934. The programs last met on December 27, 2002 in a 7-2 Minnesota win at Mariucci Arena as part of the Dodge Holiday Classic.
"This is the time of year that you look forward to all year long. All the hard work during the offseason and the week-to-week grind comes down to this, and we have to be ready to play against a good team in Yale," Gophers redshirt junior captain Zach Budish said.
Two-day passes for the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey West Regional are on sale now and can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or by visiting Ticketmaster.com.
The winner of the West Regional will advance to the 2013 NCAA Men's Frozen Four, which will be held April 11-13, 2013 at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. For more information regarding the 2013 NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament, visit http://www.ncaa.com/sports/icehockey-men/d1.
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