March 23, 2008
Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame hockey team will see its 2007-08 season continue this week when the advance to the NCAA Tournament on Friday, March 28th in the West Regional in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Irish, the regions’ fourth seed will face the top-seed, the University of New Hampshire in the opening game at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Also in the West Regional and playing at 10 p.m. ET are second-seeded Colorado College against the third seed, Michigan State. The two winners will play on Saturday, March 29 at 10 p.m. ET for the West Regional championship and the right to advance to the Frozen Four in Denver, Colo., on April 10 and 12.
For Notre Dame, this is the second consecutive year that the Irish have advanced to the tournament and the third time in the program’s history. In 2006-07, they 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, dropping an opening round game to Minnesota, 5-2.
The Irish enter the tournament ranked 11th in the nation and are 24-15-4 overall, coming off a pair of 2-1 losses in the CCHA Tournament. The first 2-1 loss came in overtime in the semifinals to Miami and the second one came in the third-place contest to Northern Michigan.
New Hampshire was ranked fourth last week and finished the year with a 25-9-3 and was the regular-season Hockey East champion. The Wildcats lost in the conference semifinals to Boston College, 5-4, in triple overtime on Saturday night.
Notre Dame and New Hampshire have played four times in the all-time series between the two schools with the Wildcats owning a 4-0 record. The teams first met on Jan. 2, 1991 in Durham, N.H., with the Wildcats taking a 5-3 decision. The following year, the two teams met at the Joyce Center at Notre Dame, on Nov. 8-9, 1991, with New Hampshire taking 7-1 and 8-2 wins over the Irish. The last time the two teams met was Nov. 27, 1999 at the Conference Classic in Durham with the Wildcats winning 2-1.
Colorado College will serve as the host team and brings a 28-11-4 record into the regional. The Tigers are ranked second in the nation and were the WCHA regular-season champions. Ninth-ranked Michigan State (25-13-5) is ranked ninth and the Spartans are the defending national champions. They were upset in the second round of the CCHA playoffs, losing the best-of-three series to Northern Michigan, 2-1.
For Notre Dame and head coach Jeff Jackson, the trip to Colorado Springs has an interesting twist, as the World Arena is where his first game as head coach of the Irish took place on October 21, 2005. The Irish dropped a 3-1 decision to Colorado College that night but the Notre Dame program has come a long way in just three short years with Jackson leading the program.
Here’s a look at the 2008 NCAA Hockey Tournament Field:
East Regional, March 28-29Times Union Center, Albany New York
March 28 - 4:00 p.m. ET No. 2 St. Cloud State (19-15-5) vs. No. 3 Clarkson (21-12-24)March 28 - 7:30 p.m. ET No. 1 Michigan (31-5-4) vs. No. 4 Niagara (22-10-4)
March 29 - 7 p.m. ET East Regional Championship
West Regional, March 28-29World Arena, Colorado Springs, Colorado
March 28 - 6:30 p.m. ET No. 1 New Hampshire (25-9-3) vs. No. 4 Notre Dame (24-15-4)March 28 - 10:00 p.m. ET No. 2 Colorado College (28-11-1) vs. No. 3 Michigan State (24-11-5)
March 29 - 10:00 p.m. ET West Regional Championship
Midwest Regional, March 29-30Kohl Center, Madison, Wisconsin
March 29 - 3:00 p.m. ET No. 1 North Dakota (26-10-4) vs. No. 4 Princeton (21-13-0)March 29 - 6:30 p.m. ET No. 2 Denver (26-13-1) vs. No. 3 Wisconsin (15-16-7)
March 30 - 7:00 p.m. ET Midwest Regional Championship
Northeast Regional, March 29-30DCU Center, Worcester, Massachusetts
March 29 - 4:00 p.m. ET No. 1 Miami (32-7-1) vs. No. 4 Air Force (21-11-6)March 29 - 7:30 p.m. ET No. 2 Boston College (21-11-8) vs. No. 3 Minnesota (19-16-9)
March 30 - 4:30 p.m. ET Northeast Regional Championship
Men's Frozen Four, April 10 and 12Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
April 10 - 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. ET (order of games TBD)East Regional Champion vs. West Regional ChampionMidwest Regional Champion vs. Northeast Regional Champion
April 12 - 7:00 p.m. ETNational Championship