Bristol, CT (SportsNetwork.com) - The University of Minnesota, which sat atop the national rankings for most of the season, was selected as the top overall seed as the field of 16 teams was announced for the 2014 NCAA men's ice hockey tournament on Sunday afternoon.
The Gophers (25-6-6), reigned as the inaugural regular-season champions in the Big Ten, but were unceremoniously dumped in the semifinals by Ohio State. Nonetheless, they will open the tourney as the top seed in the West Regional in Saint Paul, MN and are slated to take on Atlantic Hockey champions Robert Morris next Saturday at Xcel Energy Center.
The second matchup in the West features National Collegiate Hockey Conference regular-season champs St. Cloud State against former CCHA program and current Hockey East resident Notre Dame.
Hockey East regular-season titlist Boston College (26-7-4) was awarded top billing in the Northeast Region, playing out of Worcester, MA. The four- time national champions since 2001 were looked upon with favor by the selection committee despite suffering a best-of-three quarterfinals defeat to the plucky Fighting Irish.
Jerry York's kids begin their title quest on Saturday against NCHC playoff champions, the University of Denver.
Hockey East playoff winners for the second consecutive season, UMass-Lowell takes on Minnesota State-Mankato in the other pairing.
A program which was prevented further ascension in the national rankings by both Minnesota and BC, Union (28-6-4) snagged the No. 1 seed in the East Regional in Bridgeport, CT. The Dutchmen claimed dual honors with the ECAC regular-season and playoff championships and will begin the national leg of their postseason on Friday against Vermont.
Providence, featuring USA World Junior Championship goaltender Jon Gillies, makes its first NCAA appearance since 2001 and was paired off against 2013 national runners-up Quinnipiac.
Wisconsin (24-10-2), which emerged victorious in overtime of the Big Ten final against the Buckeyes, was rewarded with the top seed in the Midwest Regional out of Cincinnati. The Badgers have a Friday date with former WCHA rival North Dakota, which finished second in the NCHC.
2012 Frozen Four entrant Ferris State rounds out the bracket by taking on ECAC finalist Colgate.
The Frozen Four will take place at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, with the national semifinals on April 10 and the championship contested two days later.