MADISON, Wis. – Fresh off its second-straight conference tournament championship, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team has turned its automatic bid into a No. 1 seed in the Midwest region in Cincinnati for the NCAA tournament and will take on fourth-seeded North Dakota in a first-round matchup.
UND (23-13-3) finished the regular season in second place in the NCHC before finishing third in the conference tournament. But without an automatic NCAA tournament bid, their tournament hopes remained out of their control. Ironically, it was Wisconsin’s (24-10-2) comeback overtime win over Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament championship that likely allowed North Dakota a spot in the NCAA field.
That’s far from the only connection between UW and UND, which battled for years as rivals in the WCHA before Wisconsin left this season for the Big Ten and UND moved on to the NCHC.
The teams will square off at 7 p.m. CT on Friday, March 28 on ESPNU. The winner will advance to play the survivor of the Ferris State-Colgate matchup at 4:30 p.m. CT on Saturday on ESPNU.
Win that matchup, and the Badgers would move on to the Frozen Four on Friday, April 10 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. The NCAA championship game is set for 6:30 p.m. on April 12.
Securing the top seed is usually a good omen for the Badgers, as they have advanced to the NCAA championship game the last two times they have held a No. 1 seed – in both 2006 and 2010. They defeated Boston College to win the title in 2006 before dropping the rematch to BC in 2010.
Minnesota, Boston College and Union are the No. 1 seeds in the West, Northeast and East regions, respectively.
Wisconsin and Minnesota were the two Big Ten teams to make the field, and six of the 16 teams hail from the old WCHA.
UW has made 24 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the Frozen Four 12 times and winning six NCAA championships.