2016 NCAA Men’s Hockey Championship Filled With Boston Flavor

Posted March 22, 2016 by Ross Wyszomierski in Sports
Local schools compete for the best NCAA program. Photo Credit: George DeLuca/Connector.

The 2016 Men’s NCAA Division I Hockey tournament is set to begin this weekend and when the pucks drop, fans sure will be seeing numerous schools with local interest in action.

Four of the 16 schools in this year’s tournament hail from the Boston area. Boston College, Northeastern, Boston University and Harvard will all compete for the title of best college hockey team in the country. Also joining them are the River Hawks from nearby UMass Lowell.

There may be no hotter team entering the tournament than the Northeastern Huskies. Northeastern is fresh off their first Hockey East Championship title in 28 seasons after they beat UMass Lowell this last weekend in Boston’s TD Garden to take home the Lamoriello Trophy.

The Huskies started off the season 1-11-2 in their first 14 games before their incredible turn around began. They finished the season with a 21-2-3 record in their final 26 games and enter the tournament on an unprecedented 13-game winning streak. It’s safe to say that no one wants to see the Huskies in their bracket. Northeastern will play its first game in the Midwest Region against number-three overall seed North Dakota on Friday, March 25, at 2 p.m. in Cincinnati, Ohio.

One team from the Boston area will be heading home after the first round when the Boston College Eagles take on Harvard University in the Northeast Region. This is the first time that these two teams will meet in the NCAA tournament, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t familiar with each other. It’s quite the opposite actually.

Most recently, Boston College took down Harvard in the semifinals of this year’s Beanpot tournament. The Eagles also defeated Harvard in last year’s Beanpot, while Harvard won the regular-season meeting between the two last season. The two teams and their fans won’t have to travel far. The Northeast Regional game is in Worcester on Friday, March 25, at 8 p.m. Good news for Boston College fans: The Eagles are in the Worcester region for the sixth consecutive time, and they have won the region the last five times.

The Boston University Terriers will be looking to replicate their 2015 tournament run, only with a slightly more appealing ending. The Terriers made it to the finals in last year’s tournament only to lose in the championship to Providence University 4-3.

Boston University will play Denver University in the first round of the West Region on Saturday, March 26, at 6:30 p.m. The two teams met once this season when Denver traveled to Boston in October with the Terriers prevailing in overtime 5-4.

UMass Lowell rounds out the group of Massachusetts teams in this year’s tournament and they will take on the Yale University Bulldogs in the East Region in Albany on Saturday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. The River Hawks will look to wash the sour taste from their mouth after losing in the Hockey East Championship game to Northeastern. Yale and UMass Lowell have met on the big stage before when the Bulldogs took down the River Hawks in the national semifinal in 2013.

The Frozen Four will be played in Tampa, Florida on April 7 and 9.

Now if you’re following along and paying attention to the teams and regions, there is a chance an all-Massachusetts Frozen Four could come to fruition. The five teams are spread across all four regions, so with some luck and a few wins strung together, anything can happen.

Nevertheless, the addition of this handful of Boston teams to the tournament makes it an exciting one to watch for the city and the nation. And don’t forget Bostonians, a whole year of bragging rights are on the line.

For more information on the tournament, an entire schedule, television times and ticket information, visit http://www.ncaa.com/sports/icehockey-men/d1.