BOSTON (CBS) — March Madness has taken over the hardwood, but it’s also about to be put on ice.
The field is set for the NCAA National Hockey Tournament, which not only features a handful of local northeast teams, but the games will take over the region as well.
The Boston University Terriers, fresh off clinching their first Hockey East crown since 2009 on Saturday night, earned the top seed in the Northeast Region. With Jack Eichel leading the way, and the nation with 66 points this season, BU also won the Hockey East regular season crown and Beanpot tournament en route to their 23-7-5 season.
“When the season started we felt we had a chance to win a national title if everything went right. If we stayed healthy and worked hard, we felt we had the talent. We’ve put ourselves in that position,” head coach David Quinn said Sunday. “It’s an exciting time, but at the end of the day you have to block everything out and approach it the way you have all year.”
First up for the Terriers and their top-ranked offense is Yale — the top-ranked defense in the country — Friday afternoon in Manchester, New Hampshire.
“You don’t want this to end. This has been an unbelievable ride from the seniors to the freshmen. Every day has been a treat to be with them and we don’t want this to end,” said Eichel. “We know we’re going to put everything forward on Friday to keep it going.”
“We have to approach it the way we have all season that got us to this point. We just had a team meeting to reiterate that and now it’s on to Yale,” said Quinn.
Meanwhile, the Boston College Eagles also locked down a spot in the tournament. After losing to Vermont in the Hockey East Quarterfinals over the weekend, the Eagles landed in the East Region, and will open play Saturday against Denver in Providence, Rhode Island.
“I like this club, it has a lot of character and players who want to win – to sacrifice to win,” said BC head coach Jerry York. “We haven’t won the trophies we wanted to during the year, but now the shiniest of them all is in front of us. Now it’s like a two-game tournament; to advance to Boston we have to win both in Providence. We have our work cut out for us but it’s a great challenge for us.”
The Harvard Crimson will also compete for college hockey’s biggest prize, earning an automatic bid by winning the ECAC tournament over the weekend. Harvard pulled off back-to-back upset wins over Quinnipiac and Colgate over the weekend to clinch their first ECAC crown since 2006, and earned a first round matchup against Omaha in the Midwest Region in South Bend, Indiana.
As Jerry York mentioned, the prize for winning their region is a trip back to Boston, with the TD Garden hosting this year’s Frozen Four. The semifinals will be held on Thursday, April 9 with the NCAA championship game on Saturday, April 11.
NCAA Hockey Tournament Bracket
Northeast Regional, March 27 – Manchester, NH
(3) Boston University vs. Yale, 2 p.m.
Minnesota Duluth vs. Minnesota, 5:30 p.m.
West Regional, March 27 – Fargo, ND
Michigan Tech vs. St. Cloud State, 4:30 p.m. ET
(2) North Dakota vs. Quinnipiac, 8 p.m.
Midwest Regional, March 28 – South Bend, Ind.
(1) Minnesota State vs. Rochester Institute of Technology, 4 p.m.
Nebraska Omaha vs. Harvard, 7:30 p.m.
East Regional, March 28 – Providence, RI
University of Denver vs. Boston College, 3 p.m.
(4) Miami University vs. Providence College, 6:30 p.m.