March 7, 2010

NCAA WOMEN'S HOCKEY TOURNEY FIELD ANNOUNCED: UNH TRAVELS TO DULUTH FOR QUARTERFINAL MATCHUP

2010 NCAA WOMEN'S ICE HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET

INDIANAPOLIS
– The NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Committee announced Sunday evening that the fifth-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s ice hockey team will travel to play third-ranked University of Minnesota-Duluth in a NCAA quarterfinal game to be played March 13  (3 p.m. Eastern) at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC).

UNH (19-8-5), which finished second in the Hockey East regular-season standings and lost in the semifinals of the league tournament, received one of five at-large invitations to the 2010 NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championship.

The Wildcats are making their fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tourney; the 'Cats received the Hockey East automatic berth as tourney champion from 2006-09 and were hosts of a quarterfinal game those four years. This will be the first road quarterfinal game for New Hampshire, which advanced to the Frozen Four in both 2006 and 2008.

The University of Minnesota-Duluth, the second seed of the NCAA tournament, won the WCHA tournament after finishing tied atop the league's regular-season standings. The Bulldogs (28-8-2 overall, 20-6-2 WCHA) have won six consecutive games and are 16-1-2 in the last 19 games.

This will mark the third consecutive year that UNH and UMD face off in NCAA postseason play; the Bulldogs won the previous two meetings.

Last year in an NCAA quarterfinal game at the Whittemore Center, the teams skated to a scoreless tie through two periods of play. UMD then scored goals at 2:49 and 10:08 to take a 2-0 lead. UNH pulled within one goal at 11:59 but the visitors struck again at 17:43 and scored an empty-net goal with 11 seconds remaining to secure the victory.

UNH played Frozen Four host Minnesota-Duluth in the semifinals in 2008 and, despite recording a 43-15 shot advantage, were ousted by the Bulldogs, 3-2.

New Hampshire has a 2-4-0 lifetime record against Minnesota-Duluth. UNH won the initial two meetings in February 2000 at the Whittemore Center. The following December, the Bulldogs swept a two game series in Duluth. The two most recent meetings occurred in the '08 and '09 NCAA postseason.

The top four teams were seeded for the quarterfinals and all four games will be played March 12-13. Mercyhurst College, the regular-season and tourney champ of the CHA, is the top overall seed and will play host to Boston University, which earned the automatic berth as Hockey East tournament champion after tying UNH for second place in the standings.

The University of Minnesota, which tied for first in the WCHA standings and was tourney runner-up, is the second seed and will entertain Clarkson University, which was ECAC runner-up in both the regular season and tournament. Harvard University earned an at-large bid and will play host to Cornell University, the ECAC champion of the tournament and regular season, in the other quarterfinal matchup.

UNH compiled a 1-3-2 record vs. this year’s NCAA tourney field. The Wildcats went 1-2-1 vs. league rival Boston University as well as 0-0-1 vs. Harvard University and 0-1-0 against Clarkson University.

The quarterfinal winners advance to the Women’s Frozen Four, which will be held March 19 & 21 at the University of Minnesota's Ridder Arena. The winner of the UNH-UMD quarterfinal will face off against the team that advances from the Clarkson vs. Minnesota matchup in the semifinal round.

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