The University of Minnesota men’s hockey team is looking for redemption as they seek to improve upon last season’s loss in the Frozen Four to eventual-champions Boston College.
The journey this year in the 2013 NCAA Quarterfinals begins with the Yale University Bulldogs. The Ivy League institution will take on the No. 1 seed in the West Regional Golden Gophers at 1 p.m. CT Friday in Grand Rapids, Mich.
The Bulldogs were the last team to make their way into the 16 team tournament field, thanks to a loss by the University of Michigan Wolverines in the CCHA Tournament Championship to Notre Dame.
Yale will take that break and battle Minnesota at Van Andel Arena. The Bulldogs have finished as high as third place in the NCAA hockey tournament, but that was way back in 1952.
The two teams did not play in the regular season, but that shouldn’t keep Don Lucia and his staff from being prepared for this contest. The Gophers had an extra day of rest after falling in the WCHA Final Five semifinals to Colorado College last Friday and the Bulldogs lost back-to-back games in the ECAC tournament last weekend, including a 3-0 loss to Quinnipiac in their third place game on Saturday.
Quinnipiac ousted Minnesota for the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. Had the Gophers defeated Colorado College last Friday the Maroon and Gold would have likely earned that top overall seed.
If the Gophers get by Yale today, the will meet the winner of the other West Regional Quarterfinal between Niagara University and the University of North Dakota. Those two teams square-off at 4:30 p.m. CT Friday.
Minnesota fans that were expecting a match-up with North Dakota in the Final Five last weekend may get their wish on Saturday at 3 p.m. CT in the West Regional finals.
A Gophers versus UND battle to head to the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh would be just the battle that the Gophers may need to invigorate them with a win and catapult them to the NCAA Championship game.
Friday’s NCAA Quarterfinal can be seen on ESPNU or heard on AM-1500 ESPN in the Twin Cities or both online via their respective websites.
Players to watch for Yale:
Goaltender – senior Jeff Malcom – The backstop for the Bulldogs will be the only way really to stop a very deep Minnesota team. The Lethbridge, Ala. native has good size and holds a 2.41 goals against average and a .914 save percentage.
Forward – JR. Kenny Agostino – Bulldogs leading scorer. Had his rights traded yesterday for Jarome Iginla in the NHL between Pittsburgh and Calgary. Balanced scorer that is on their top power play unit.
Defense – SO. Tommy Fallen – The Plymouth, Minn. native is the only Bulldog to be from the “State of Hockey”. Has 22 points on the season and four of his seven goals on the year have come on the power play.