Apr 5, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Minnesota Gophers goalie Kent Patterson (35) reacts during the second period against the Boston College Eagles during the semifinals of the 2012 Frozen Four at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
During the Frozen Four, Jerry York sorta let the cat out of the bag on this bit of scheduling news. But on Monday, the University of Minnesota made it official, announcing the four-team field for the 2012 Mariucci Classic.
The [ed. note -- other] Maroon and Gold return to action at the Minnesota-hosted Mariucci Classic to close out the 2012 calendar year. This year's Mariucci Classic, which will be held on Dec. 28-29, will have an NCAA tournament feel to it, as the Gophers welcome Air Force, Boston College and Alabama in Huntsville. Minnesota, Air Force and Boston College all participated in the NCAA tournament last year, while Minnesota and Boston College advanced to the Frozen Four, which was hosted by Alabama in Huntsville. The matchups for this year's Mariucci Classic will be announced in the future.
Both Air Force and Minnesota should be familiar foes for the Eagles as BC dispatched both in this year's NCAA Tournament en route to the program's fifth National Championship. Boston College defeated Air Force 2-0 in the Northeast Regional Semifinals and cruised past the Gophers 6-1 in the Frozen Four.
While pairings have yet to be announced, I can't imagine the Mariucci Classic organizers will pair BC and Minnesota together in the opening round, setting up the possibility of an Eagles-Gophers final. Minnesota holds a slight 14-12-2 edge in the all-time series with BC, while the Eagles have won all six meetings with Air Force. Boston College and Alabama-Huntsville have never faced one another.