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Minnesota Hockey: Gophers #1 Overall NCAA Seed and will face Canisius

Minnesota Hockey: Gophers #1 Overall NCAA Seed and will face Canisius


The Minnesota Gophers’ dominance in the top league in college hockey this season was enough to earn them the #1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. While that might give them an easier opening round, the committee did the Gophers no favors by fielding them with every other Minnesota school in Fargo. Minnesota is the #1 seed in the Fargo region and will play the Canisius Golden Griffins, the winner of the Atlantic Hockey automatic bid, in the regional semifinals on Thursday at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. They will be joined in Fargo by two very well known foes St. Cloud State and Minnesota State. The winners will compete in the regional finals on Saturday at 5:30 PM on ESPNU with a trip to the Frozen Four on the line.

The other three number one seeds in the field are Quinnipiac in Bridgeport, CT, Michigan in Allentown, PA, and Denver in Manchester, NH.

The Gophers received one of the big bids after falling 4-3 for the second consecutive season in the Big Ten Championship game against Michigan. With the Gophers ranked No. 1 and the Wolverines ranked No. 3, the two teams cannot possibly meet again until the National Championship game.

Canisius made a miracle run through the Atlantic Hockey Tournament after finishing in fourth place in the regular season. defeated Army in three games in the opening round before beating #6 seed Niagara in the second round and defeating 7th-seeded Holy Cross in the Championship Game on Saturday. They finished the regular season with a 20-18-3 record.

Assuming the Gophers advance, they’ll get one of two known enemies in St. Cloud State or Minnesota State. The Gophers faced both teams in a home and home series this season and split with both, with the Gophers winning both home games and dropping both games on the road.

If Minnesota State gets past the Huskies, an even bigger storyline ensues where the Mavericks have ended the Gophers’ season for the past two years. They’re just one win away and a supposed Gopher win because they’ve had a chance to do it three years in a row.

The NCAA decided to try to keep teams closer to home instead of going through straight seed. Minnesota should have had the #8 and #9 overall teams on the opposite side of the Fargo series, but because Penn State was #8 and hosting Allentown, they had to be placed there. Instead of the #7 vs #10 matchup of Harvard vs ohio state in Fargo with the Gophers, they send them east to try and help the turnout, and the Gophers get the #6 overall seed in SCSU along with #11 in Minnesota State.

The NCAA committee chair at the selection show said they wanted to keep teams closer to home, disrupting the group’s integrity and making the route from Minnesota or St. Cloud States to Tampa even more difficult. But Minnesota fans should be used to that by now. This is not new by the NCAA. Minnesota has by far the hardest route to Tampa of all the #1 seeds, except maybe #4 overall Denver, but steel sharpens steel. Either the Gophers beat a strong rival to get to the Frozen Four, or they may not have deserved to get there in the first place.

We’ll be taking a full look at the Fargo region later this week. The full NCAA bracket is below:




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