The 2015 NCAA women's hockey tournament field has been announced. We now know the bracket and 8 teams fighting for the national championship.
The NCAA Tournament features four single-elimination quarterfinal games played Saturday March 14 on campus sites of the higher seed. The winners advance to the Frozen Four in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The national semifinals will be played on March 20th and a champion will be crowned March 22 at Ridder Arena.
This year's bracket went to plan as far as the Pairwise went. As Grant Salzano of BC Interruption pointed out in Bracketology, there was an opportunity for the committee to avoid inter-conference match-ups by switching fifth seed Boston University and sixth seed Quinnipiac, which were close to one another in the Pairwise. That didn't happen.
Bracket (all times local):
Quarterfinals: (Saturday March 14)
RIT (15-18-3)* at #1 Minnesota (31-3-4) - 4 p.m. CT
Clarkson (24-10-3) at #2 Boston College (33-2-2) - 1 p.m. ET
Quinnipiac (26-8-3) at #3 Harvard (25-5-3)* - 4 p.m. ET
Boston University (25-8-3)* at #4 Wisconsin (28-6-4)* - 2 p.m. CT
Frozen Four Semifinals: (March 20 at 5 p.m CT and 8 p.m. CT)
Minnesota/RIT winner vs. Boston University/Wisconsin winner
Boston College/Clarkson winner vs. Harvard/Quinnipiac winner
Championship (March 22 at 3 p.m. CT)
Frozen Four semis and championship to be played at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, MN
2014 runner-up Minnesota is the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The road for the Gophers does not leave Ridder Arena. Minnesota hosts College Hockey America playoff champion RIT (15-18-5). In the first year the CHA has an automatic bid, the Tigers ended Mercyhurst's decade in the tournament (all at-large bids) in the semifinals before defeating Syracuse 2-1.
Also hosting quarterfinal games are second seed Boston College, third seed and ECAC playoff champion Harvard, and fourth overall seed and WCHA Final Faceoff winner Wisconsin.
Clarkson won the 2014 women's Frozen Four. The Golden Knights will have the chance to defend its crown, beginning with a road quarterfinal match-up against Boston College.
All 3 Patty Kazmaier Award finalists - Minnesota's Hannah Brandt, Boston College's Alex Carpenter, and Boston University's Marie-Philip Poulin - will be participating in the 2015 NCAA women's hockey Tournament. The award will be given out Saturday March 21 at the McNamara Alumni Center in Minneapolis.
Teams by conference:
Hockey East: 2
According to the final Pairwise, the last teams out were North Dakota, Cornell and Minnesota-Duluth.