DETROIT - APRIL 08: The Boston College Eagles bench celebrates teammate Ben Smith's goal in the first period against the Miami Redhawks on April 8, 2010 during the semifinals of the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The Boston College Eagles men's hockey team earned a 1 seed in this year's 2011 NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament, and will head west to take on the 4th seeded Colorado College in the West Regional in St. Louis. The 2 vs. 3 matchup in the West pairs Nebraska-Omaha with Michigan, which oddly enough was a CCHA matchup a season ago.
The Eagles own a 12-4-1 edge in the all-time series with Colorado College. BC has also faced the CC Tigers three times previously in the NCAA Tournament, holding a 2-1 edge in the NCAAs. The Eagles and Tigers last hooked up in the 1998 NCAA Quarterfinals in Albany, with BC winning 6-1.
Complete bracket below, and thoughts on the Eagles' draw after the jump.
East Regional (Bridgeport, Ct.)
No. 4 Air Force (20-11-6)* vs. No. 1 Yale (27-6-1)*
No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth (22-10-6) vs. No. 2 Union (26-9-4)
West Regional (St. Louis)
No. 4 Colorado College (22-18-3) vs. No. 1 Boston College (30-7-1)*
No. 3 Nebraska-Omaha (21-15-2) vs. No. 2 Michigan (26-10-4)
Midwest Regional (Green Bay)
No. 4 Rensselaer (20-12-5) vs. No. 1 North Dakota (30-8-3)*
No. 3 Western Michigan (19-12-10) vs. No. 2 Denver (24-11-5)
Northeast Regional (Manchester, N.H.)
No. 4 New Hampshire (21-10-6) vs. No. 1 Miami (23-9-6)*
No. 3 Notre Dame (23-13-5) vs. No. 2 Merrimack (25-9-4)
* automatic qualifiers
By conference: WCHA 5, CCHA 4, ECAC 3, Hockey East 3, Atlantic Hockey 1
As projected, BC is placed in probably the toughest Regional of the four. This year's Regional hosts -- Yale and New Hampshire -- made it impossible for the Eagles to stay close to home in the Northeast for the first two rounds.
Colorado College finished the regular season with a 22-18-3 record overall, 13-13-2 in the WCHA (good for 6th place). Nebraska-Omaha, the regional's other WCHA team, finished third, compiling a 21-15-2 overall record and 17-9-2 in conference. UNO was bounced from the first round of the WCHA Playoffs, while Colorado College advanced to the Semifinals before bowing out to North Dakota.
Michigan won the CCHA regular season crown with a 20-7-1 record, but fell to Western Michigan in the CCHA Tournament Semifinals. The Wolverines were in line for one of the tournament's final 1 seeds before falling to the Broncos in the CCHA Semis.
I really don't have a good feeling about this year's bracket ... but I need to invoke Rule 76 here. "No excuses. Play like a champion."
In contrast, the East Regional is extremely weak, featuring two ECAC programs, the Atlantic Hockey champ and the fourth-place WCHA team. The top seed in the tournament, Yale, shouldn't have much of a problem getting to the Frozen Four, though Minnesota-Duluth could easily find themselves playing in St. Paul.
North Dakota is the top seed in the Midwest Regional, facing RPI in the first round. Denver and Western Michigan square off in the other matchup in this region. North Dakota just defeated Denver last night in the WCHA Championship in double OT. These two WCHA programs don't like each other and if the Regional final comes down to Denver and North Dakota, it could be another instant classic.
New Hampshire will play host to Miami, Merrimack and Notre Dame in this year's Northeast Regional in Manchester. UNH, the no. 4 seed, will face CCHA Tournament champion Miami in the 1 vs. 4, while Notre Dame and Merrimack hook up in the 2 vs. 3.
More analysis during the week. For now, leave your initial thoughts on the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament field.