Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Boston College Heads 2016 NCAA Women's Hockey Tournament Field

Boston College is the top seed in the eight-team 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Ice Hockey Tournament that will begin on Saturday.

No. 1 nationally-ranked BC will host fellow Hockey East school and sixth-ranked Northeastern, while seventh-ranked Princeton will travel to No. 3 Minnesota. Fifth-seeded Clarkson, the 2014 NCAA champion, will visit No. 4 Quinnipiac, while College Hockey America champion Mercyhurst will travel to four-time NCAA champion and second-ranked Wisconsin.

BC is 38-0-0 overall this season and just won the Hockey East championship with a 5-1 victory over Green Line rival Boston University after the Eagles posted a 24-0-0 mark in league regular-season play. Northeastern (28-8-1) is making its first national tournament appearance since the NCAA began recognizing a women’s Division I championship in 2004, although the Huskies were long an eastern powerhouse along with Providence and New Hampshire prior to the formation of the Women’s Hockey East Association and the formally-recognized NCAA Division I level.

Princeton (22-8-2) will visit Minnesota (32-4-1) for the second time in 10 years in NCAA Tournament play. The Tigers fell to the host Gophers, 4-0, in 2006 in their only previous national invitation. Minnesota, the defending national champion, is playing in its eighth straight national tournament, and has won three of the last four NCAA titles, and six overall.

Clarkson (29-4-5) is in the NCAAs for the fourth straight season, while Quinnipiac (30-2-5) is making its inaugural NCAA Tournament appearance. The game will be a rematch of this year’s ECAC Championship, which was won by Quinnipiac’s Bobcats, 1-0, over the Golden Knights.

Mercyhurst (19-10-5), which edged Syracuse, 4-3, in overtime in the CHA championship game, is back in the NCAAs for the first time since 2014, and the 10th time in 11 seasons despite the Lakers posting their lowest single-season victory total since 2000-01. Wisconsin, which has finished third nationally the past two seasons, last won a national title in 2011, which was two years after the Badgers defeated the Lakers in the NCAA title game in Boston. Wisconsin also blanked Minnesota, 1-0, in this year’s WCHA championship game.

The four winners this weekend will convene at the NCAA Frozen Four in Durham, New Hampshire on March 18-20.

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