The Northeast Regional will take place at the Verizon Wireless Center in Manchester, New Hampshire on March 27th and 28th.
Local team Boston University highlights a tough bracket. Here's a closer look at the four teams competing in this regional for a spot in the Frozen Four.
#1 Boston University
Bid: Hockey East Automatic Bid (Hockey East Regular Season Champions)
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Record: 25-7-5 overall, 14-5-3 Hockey East
Past NCAA Championships: 1971, 1972, 1978, 1995, 2009
Head Coach: David Quinn (Boston University ‘89)
Captains: Matt Grzelcyk(C), Cason Hohmann(A), Evan Rodrigues(A)
Key Players: Jack Eichel(24-42-66), Evan Rodrigues(18-39-57), Danny O’Regan(21-24-45), Matt Grzelcyk(10-26-36)
Starting Goalie: Matt O’Connor 22-3-4 2.12 .928
Top 100 NHL Prospects: Jack Eichel(1), Brandon Hickey(23), Jonathan MacLeod(41), Brian Diffley(61), Danny O’Regan(86), AJ Greer(87), Doyle Somerby(99)
Story of the Season: Second year coach David Quinn's Terriers are three-fourths of the way to a grand slam. BU has captured the Beanpot, the Hockey East regular season and now the Hockey East Tournament. All that is left is the national championship that will be played in their backyard at the TD Garden.
What to Expect: Jack Eichel tied a Hockey East Tournament record with 11 points en route to MVP of the tournament. Earlier in the week he was announced as the league's Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. The shoe-in for Hobey Baker Award winner is a game changer. His explosive burst, his closing speed, his elite shot, his reach and his vision make him one of the best players to ever lace up the skates in college hockey.
Junior captain Matt Grzelcyk, whose defensive play has improved greatly, leads a young blue line with four rookies and a sophomore. The Bruins prospect was +8 in the Hockey East Tournament.
Eichel and Grzelcyk get much of the credit and recognition, but this is a deep BU team that is loaded with talent from top to bottom. It's hard to imagine BU not lifting the ultimate prize in Boston on the second Saturday in April.
#2 Minnesota Duluth
Location: Duluth, Minnesota
Record: 20-15-3, 12-9-3 NCHC
Past NCAA Championships: 2011
Head Coach: Scott Sandelin (North Dakota '86)
Captains: Adam Krause(C), Justin Crandall(A), Andy Welinski(A)
Key Players: Tony Cameranesi(8-20-28), Dominic Toninato(16-9-25), Alex Iafallo(8-17-25)
Starting Goalie: Kasimir Kaskisuo 17-13-3 2.31 .915
Top 100 NHL Prospects: Dominic Toninato(20), Andy Welinski(52), Carson Soucy(53)
Story of the Season: The Bulldogs are back in the NCAA Tournament after a two-year hiatus. They started the season strong, including impressive non-conference road wins against Minnesota State and Michigan Tech, but the second half of the season against a tough conference schedule was a slog for the Bulldogs, who are about a .500 team in 2015. Those struggles in the second half of the season cost them home ice in the NCHC playoffs and a tript to the Frozen Face Off
What to Expect: The Bulldogs play a very physical style of hockey that sometimes gets them into trouble due to a lack of discipline. But they've got some speed and skill to go along with that physical play. When the Bulldogs are playing well, they can control the ice against anyone in the country. Freshman goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo hasn't been a star in goal, but has played well enough to keep the Bulldogs in the top ten in the country nearly all season.
Bid: Big Ten Autobid(Big Ten Regular Season Champions)
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Record: 23-12-3, 12-5-3 Big Ten
Past NCAA Championships: 1974, 1976, 1979, 2002, 2003
Head Coach: Don Lucia (Notre Dame ‘81)
Captains: Kyle Rau(C), Seth Ambroz(A), Ben Marshall(A)
Key Players: Mike Reilly(6-36-42), Kyle Rau(20-21-41), Travis Boyd(19-21-40)
Starting Goalie: Adam Wilcox 21-11-3 2.38 .913
Top 100 NHL Prospects: Mike Reilly(9), Brady Skjei(12), Hudson Fasching(24), Ryan Collins(60), Adam Wilcox(64), Jack Glover(69), Kyle Rau(70), Taylor Cammarata(79)
Story of the Season: The Golden Gophers took a long path to a place many assumed it would be at the end of the season. Pegged preseason favorites to return to the national championship game, 2014 Frozen Four runner up Minnesota returned the vast majority of its core. The year started well with a 7-1-0 start, but midseason troubles, internal turmoil and a two month slide threatened to derail any chances to return to the postseason.
With their backs against the wall, the Gopher seniors played their best hockey, going 11-3-0 in the last 14 games with a nation high 34 goals during that stretch. Despite winning its fourth straight conference regular season title, Minnesota needed a win to get into the NCAA Tournament. It got two. The Gophers defeated Ohio State and Michigan and for the first time since 2007 the team is conference tournament champions; entering the tournament on a four game winning streak.
"Two months ago who thought we would be here?" senior captain Kyle Rau said last night. "We stuck together in the locker room and we believed in what the coaches were teaching us. No one gave up on each other. We stuck together."
What to Expect:The Gophers are fast and skilled. They love to spread the ice and control the puck. Their defense can be a bit mistake prone, but they make up for that with tremendous offensive ability.
Rau, who became the first Gopher in two seasons to reach 20 goals, and fellow Travis Boyd (18 while missing a month) lead the team in scoring. Goaltender Adam Wilcox has battled back to allow 2 goals in the two Big Ten tournament games en route to being named tournament MVP.
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Record: 18-9-5, 12-6-4 ECAC
Past NCAA Championships: 2013
Head Coach: Keith Allain (Yale ‘80)
Captain: Tommy Fallen(C)
Key Players: Frankie DiChiara(8-13-21), Rob O’Gara(6-15-21), John Hayden(7-11-18)
Starting Goalie: Alex Lyon 17-9-5 1.58 .939
Top 100 NHL Prospects: John Hayden(97)
Story of the Season: The Bulldogs needed help to back into the NCAA Tournament. Keith Allain's team needed BU and Minnesota to win on conference tournament final Saturday and both things happened.
It's eerily similar to 2013 when Yale backed into the national tournament and we all know what happened. Yale captured the school's first NCAA championship at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
What to Expect: This team might not have the senior leadership that team did, but it has some nice pieces, starting with sophomore goaltender Alex Lyon. The Baudette, Minn. native has a .939 save percentage, a 1.58 goals against average and a 17-9-5 record.
A pair of junior defensemen, Rob O'Gara and Ryan Obuchowski, lead the way on the blue line, protecting the cage Lyon occupies.
A trio of sophomore forwards, Frankie DiChiara, Mike Doherty and John Doherty, lead the way up front with the help of junior Cody Learned. Hayden, an alternate captain for the U.S. at the 2015 World Junior Championship, is a good two-way player. Freshman Ryan Hitchcock is a NTDP product that sees the ice very well.
Of note, junior forward Stu Wilson is the son of RIT coach Wayne Wilson, whose team is also participating in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.