Sunday, March 23, 2008

UW Men's Hockey team gets an Easter miracle!!!

By Nicole
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After losing their opening series in the WCHA tournament two games to none to St. Cloud State, the general consensus was that the Badger men's hockey team was going to fall short of the NCAA tournament. But today the tournament field was announced live on ESPN2 (?????) and Wisconsin got a bid!

From UWBadgers.com
Men’s Hockey Gains NCAA Berth
MADISON, Wis.

For the 23rd time in school history, and for the first time at the Kohl Center, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team will compete in the NCAA tournament. The Badgers earned the No. 3 seed in the 2008 NCAA Midwest Regional and will take on second-seeded and WCHA playoff champion Denver on Saturday, March 29. The game is slated for 5:30 p.m. CT. The 16-team tournament field was announced Sunday morning on ESPN2.

Joining the Badgers (15-16-7) and Pioneers (26-13-1) in the WCHA-heavy Midwest Regional is top-seeded North Dakota (26-10-4) and fourth-seeded Princeton (21-13-0). Princeton earned its first NCAA tournament bid in 10 years and its second in school history when it won the ECAC playoff crown on Saturday night. UND and the Tigers meet Saturday at 2 p.m. CT.

The winners of the regional semifinal match-ups will skate Sunday at 6 p.m. CT in the regional title game. The regional final champion will advance to the 2008 NCAA Frozen Four, which will take place April 10 and 12 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Wisconsin split two games at Denver this season in the season’s only meetings between the WCHA rivals. Denver earned a 3-2 victory at Magness Arena on Jan. 11, while the Badgers returned the favor the next night, winning 7-2 over the Pioneers. All-time, however, Wisconsin holds a 70-50-9 edge in the series, including a 2-0 mark in NCAA tournament action and a 4-2 victory in the 1973 NCAA Championship Game.

The Badgers must overcome recent history if they hope to advance in the tournament. Wisconsin has dropped the last five meetings against Denver at the Kohl Center and is 1-11-2 against DU in the building since it opened in 1998.

The game for the Badgers and Pioneers will mark both teams’ first NCAA appearance since winning NCAA titles. The Badgers won the 2006 crown but missed out on a bid in 2007. The Pioneers won NCAA titles in 2004 and 2005, but missed NCAA competition the past two seasons.

The winner of the Midwest Regional will take on the winner of the Northeast Regional, which runs March 29-30 in Worcester, Mass. In the Northeast Regional, Miami (Ohio) holds the No. 1 seed, while No. 2 Boston College, No. 3 Minnesota and No. 4 Air Force round out the bracket.

In the remaining brackets, New Hampshire meets Notre Dame and Colorado College meets defending NCAA champion Michigan State in Colorado Springs, Colo., for the West Regional, while No. 1 overall seed Michigan skates against Niagara and St. Cloud State meets Clarkson in the East Regional in Albany, N.Y.

Tickets for the 2008 NCAA Midwest Regional are currently available at UWBADGERS.COM.

Saturday’s Wisconsin game will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on ESPNU, Sunday at 1:30 p.m. CT, while the regional final airs live on ESPNU. The North Dakota-Princeton contest airs tape-delayed on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. CT. All the action will air live on ESPN360.

Live television coverage for Wisconsin’s game on Saturday is yet to be completely determined. Midwest Regional semifinal action has already been cleared for live broadcasting in Milwaukee on Time Warner Wisconsin.

The game can also be heard live on the radio. Check your local listings.

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