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Notre Dame Hockey: Irish Will Play Top Seed Minnesota in NCAA Tournament

A grudge match with UMass-Lowell possible if the Irish can down the Gophers

2014 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship - West Regional Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Notre Dame men’s hockey team is headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row.

The four-seed Irish (21-11-5) will face the top-seeded Minnesota Golden Gophers (23-11-3) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, N.H. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

NCCA Men’s Hockey Tournament Bracket

The Gophers were the regular season champions in the Big Ten, which Notre Dame will be joining for the 2017-18 season. Minnesota and Notre Dame last met during the 2015-16 season, with both teams winning one game in a series in South Bend.

The Irish are coming off a 5-1 loss in the Hockey East semifinal to UMass-Lowell, who captured the conference championship Saturday. The Red Hawks are playing the Cornell Big Red in the tournament. The winner of that game plays the winner of the Irish-Gophers game.

Notre Dame is 6-8 in nine appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including a 3-2 overtime loss to Michigan in last year’s midwest regional. But the Irish have had some success in Manchester, beating Merrimack and New Hampshire on their way to the 2011 Frozen Four.

In addition to Notre Dame, Minnesota, UMass Lowell and Cornell, the 16-team tournament includes Denver, Michigan Tech, Penn State, Union, Harvard, Providence, Air Force, Western Michigan, Minnesota-Duluth, Ohio State, North Dakota and Boston University. The Irish are 7-6-2 over the tournament field, including 3-0-1 against the Providence Friars.