The 16-team field for the 2015 NCAA men’s ice hockey tournament was announced on Sunday and three of the four Boston area Division 1 schools (BU, BC and Harvard) all made it.Sorry Northeastern. Those three clubs are in different regions so theoretically, they could all meet again before the 2016 Beanpot with the 2015 Frozen Four at TD Garden on April 9 and April 11. They all have high expectations with the top three scorers in the nation: BU freshman forward Jack Eichel (24 goals, 42 assists), Harvard junior forward Jimmy Vesey (31 goals, 26 assists) and BU senior forward Evan Rodrigues (18 goals, 39 assists). BC is led by their star sophomore goaltender Thatcher Demko (19-12-3, 2.14 goals against average, .927 save% and 1 shutout).
The Terriers (25-7-5) have been one of the best teams in the country all season and they capped off a Beanpot title and Hockey East regular season title with a Hockey East tournament title on Saturday with a 4-1 win over two-time champion UMass Lowell at the Garden. This earned BU the No. 3 overall seed in the tournament and the top seed in the Northeast Regional (at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH). BU opens against Yale (18-9-5)-the 2013 national champions. That’s the first game of the tournament, on Friday afternoon (2, ESPNU). The winner of that faces either Minnesota (23-12-3) or Minnesota-Duluth (20-15-3) on Saturday (5:30, ESPN2) for a spot in the Frozen Four. After a three-year absence, this is BU’s 33rd NCAA Tournament appearance (3rd most in history): they are 38-33 overall with five titles (most recently in 2009).
The Crimson (21-12-3) were a bubble team that took away any doubt by making an unlikely run through the ECAC Tournament, ending with a 4-2 win over Colgate on Saturday in Lake Placid, NY. Harvard had a great first half of the regular season before injuries and poor play sent them spiraling down the national rankings. They are in the Midwest Regional (at South Bend, IN) where they will meet Nebraska-Omaha (18-12-6) on Saturday night (7:30, ESPN3.com). The winner of that meets either No. 1 overall seed Minnesota State (29-7-3) or RIT (19-14-5) on Sunday night (7:30, ESPNU). The Crimson haven’t been here since 2006 and this is their 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance: they are 14-29 overall with their lone title in 1989 when head coach and former Bruin Ted Donato was the Most Outstanding Player.
The Eagles (21-13-3) lost in the Hockey East semifinals but with a solid resume, they didn’t have to sweat this past week. It is a very young team for head coach Jerry York but BC always seems to turn it on at this time of the year. They won’t have to travel far as they go to Providence’s Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Saturday (3, ESPN2) to face Denver (23-13-2). The winner meets No. 4 overall seed Miami (OH) (25-13-1) or Providence College (22-13-2) on Sunday (5, ESPNU). This is the 34th NCAA Tournament appearance for the Eagles (2nd most behind Minnesota): they are 47-40 overall with five titles (most recently in 2012).