UMass hockey headed to Bridgeport Regional as 2 seed in NCAA Tournament

  • Coach Greg Carvel and the UMass hockey team are headed back to the NCAA Tournament. The Minutemen are the No. 2 seed in the Bridgeport, Conn. Regional and will face No. 3 Lake Superior State in the first round Friday. THOM KENDALL/UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Writer
Published: 3/21/2021 8:29:40 PM
Modified: 3/21/2021 8:29:37 PM

The UMass hockey team will be the No. 2 seed in the Bridgeport (Conn.) Regional of the NCAA Division 1 Tournament, as brackets for the 16-team event were released Sunday night.

The Minutemen will face No. 3 Lake Superior State at 6:30 p.m. Friday on ESPNU.

Wisconsin is the No. 1 seed in the regional. The Badgers will play No. 4 Bemidji State in the opening round prior to the UMass game at 1 p.m. Friday on ESPN2.

“It’s kind of fun to play some teams you don’t come in contact with a lot. We’ve got to get focused here on Lake State,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “We’re playing teams we’ve never played. I have no idea what Lake State’s like, but they’re not playing a different brand of hockey out in the western conferences.”

No fans will be permitted at the regional.

The regional final is for 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU with a spot in the Frozen Four on the line. That event begins April 8 in Pittsburgh.

It’s UMass’ second consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament after the 2020 edition was canceled due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. That 2019 team, led by Hobey Baker winner Cale Makar, reached the national championship game before falling to Minnesota-Duluth.

There are 11 players from that team still on the UMass roster.

“(That experience) will be critical. The last time we went through the whole NCAA tournament with zero experience, and it really showed,” Carvel said.

The other No. 1 seeds are North Dakota State in Fargo, N.D., Boston College in Albany, N.Y. and Minnesota in Loveland, Colo.

Carvel campaigned for the Minutemen to receive a No. 1 seed after they won the Hockey East title on Saturday night.

“I think we’ve made an argument we deserve a top seed. We haven’t lost a game since the middle of January,” Carvel said. “I don’t think anyone else in the country can say that. And we’re also the league champion. That puts us in a good spot here as we head into the tournament.”

Boston University was the third Hockey East team in the field. The third-seeded Terriers will face No. 2 St. Cloud State in Albany on Saturday. That means they could face No. 1 BC in the regional final Sunday with a Frozen Four berth on the line.

The Pioneer Valley will be well-represented, as American International College earned its second consecutive bid with an Atlantic Hockey title Saturday. The Yellowjackets drew overall No. 1 seed North Dakota in Fargo at 9:30 p.m. Friday on ESPNU.

Saint Lawrence earned the ECAC’s automatic bid with an overtime win at Quinnipiac on Saturday, but the Saints had to opt out of the tournament after a positive COVID-19 test among its Tier 1 personnel. The Bobcats received the No. 3 seed in Loveland and will face Minnesota State.

If a team has to opt out moving forward, replacement teams will be considered until 7 p.m. Monday. After that, the game will be declared a “no contest” and the other team will advance to the next round.

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