The Big Ten Champion Notre Dame Fighting Irish will play Michigan Tech at 3 p.m. Friday in the opening round of the 2018 NCAA Hockey Tournament.
The opening-round game between the second-overall seed Irish (25-9-2) and the WHCA champion Huskies (22-16-5) will be at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. The victor will play the winner of the game between the Providence Friars (23-11-4) and Clarkson Golden Knights (23-10-6).
The Irish-Huskies game will air on ESPN2, with the Friars-Knights game to air at 6:30 p.m. Friday on ESPNU. If the Irish advance, they will play at 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU, also at the Webster Bank Arena.
Notre Dame and Michigan Tech were two of the six programs to receive an automatic bid to the 16-team, single-elimination tournament based on their conference championship titles. The others were Air Force, the Atlantic Hockey Association champions; Princeton, winners of the ECAC Hockey championship; Boston University, the Hockey East champs and Denver, who prevailed on top in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Notre Dame was the only team in the Frozen Four tournament to capture their conference’s regular season title and also win their conference’s tournament.
The St. Cloud State University Huskies are the No. 1 overall seed. The other top seeds besides St. Cloud and Notre Dame are Cornell University and The Ohio State University, the latter of which lost in the Big Ten Tournament final to Notre Dame on Saturday.
The Big Ten also got a third representative in the tournament, with Michigan (20-14-3) in the Northeast Regional against Northeastern (23-9-5).
Notre Dame advanced to the Men’s Frozen Four last year, only to suffer a dismantling at the hands of Denver. It was third appearance in the national semifinal in program history. The Irish are still looking for their first national championship in men’s hockey. Hopefully, this is the year!