The eight-team field for the 2013 NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Championship was revealed this morning on on a live selection show.

The three teams selected for the available at-large bids came as no surprise to join the five conference champions in this year’s quest to be the last team standing holding the gold trophy at Wessman Arena in a little less than two weeks.

UW-River Falls, Middlebury and Elmira joined conference champions Plattsburgh (ECAC West), Norwich (ECAC East), Bowdoin (NESCAC), St. Norbert (NCHA) and Gustavus Adolphus (MIAC) to round out this year’s field.

For the second year in a row we’ll see a first-round matchup flight take place as cinderella upstart St. Norbert will travel to Plattsburgh on Saturday to try and continue its nearly unfathomable run in just its third year as a program. The tournament field expanded to eight teams later year with Concordia (Minn.) being the beneficiary securing the final at-large bid into the tournament and getting a first round date with eventual national champion RIT.

Two years ago, Norwich became the last team to receive a bye to the Frozen Four after the Cadets were given the free pass to the semifinals while top-seeded RIT was forced to play Adrian in the first round in my opinion to avoid having to fly a team before the Frozen Four. The committee has debunked that theory in each of the last two seasons however since the field has expanded to eight teams and provided up with 5/3 splits each season without the ability to avoid a first-round flight.

All of the pairings make complete sense to me and I correctly assumed after looking at the numbers Sunday night. The only major surprise that I caught me off guard a bit was the potential semifinal matchup between Plattsburgh and Norwich. The last NCAA rankings that we saw on Feb. 26 had Norwich still as the No. 2 seed in the East and Bowdoin at No. 3. Norwich beat Southern Maine and NCAA ranked Manhattanville to win the ECAC East crown, while Bowdoin beat two NCAA ranked teams in Amherst and Middlebury.

That’s the only difference and it would appear that was enough for the committee to bump the Polar Bears up to No. 2 East since Norwich is paired up with Middlebury. The only other factor that could have happened is Bowdoin and Norwich were switched to avoid an intra-conference matchup in the quarterfinals, which the committee has shown a history and in the past there has been a guideline to avoid those when preventable.

I’m sure the potential of a semifinal showdown between the two Lake Champlain rivals raised more than few eyebrows on both sides this morning. Regardless, you’ve got to beat the best to the best and should those two meet next Friday in Superior, fans will be treated to one heck of a game as the previous two regular season meetings have been this year. Don’t forget these two teams also played to an 8-7 thriller last year at Plattsburgh and a 3-2 overtime win for Norwich at Norwich earlier in the season.

More to come later this week with a full preview on all four quarterfinal round matchups!

  • Living in the now

    As a UNH fan it’s always great when the team beats Maine. And this year, it was great to sweep the season series by winning two of the games in exciting fashion, an OT win by a freshman (Silengo) at the ugliest hockey venue in Hockey East, Alfond, and the final game in the series with 15.3 seconds on the clock and the goal scored by Hobey Baker Hat Trick Finalist/winner Paul Thompson!
    However, what gave me the greatest pleasure was that because of Paul Thompson’s goal, a NH bred player, the totally obnoxious Maine fans were finally silenced into submission and them realizing that their team is a lower tier team in Hockey East this year. Sure, they can carry around signs that they’ve won two Frozen Fours or that every venue is “Our House” but when you come right down to it, what has their team done for them lately, 2010 – 2011? In the team’s last 5 games they’re 0-3-2. If I remember correctly that’s a whopping 2 points out of 10!
    Face it Maine fans, your team has a long road ahead of it. And, the way your team is playing right now, you’ll be silenced many more times this season. Don’t live on past glories, live in the present. Oh yeah, that’s hard to do when your team has a hard time WINNING!

    • Chris

      That’s a lot of boasting over a team that has accomplished nothing so far this season

      • well outta the gate

        what has any team accomplished so far this year? but you have to get to the dance in order to dance right?

    • Anonymous

      Firstly, Maine’s long road has to start with a new coach. As long as Whitehead is behind the bench, this team will be second-rate. Secondly, as far as obnoxious goes, nothing can compare to the UNH fans at Orono last year, just sayin’

  • Chris

    Hey University of No Hardware, Yes it was a big weekend series to win over the black bears but UNH has still done NOTHING this season yet. Umile may even win the HE crown (just like last year) but BC owns the wildcats in the post season 2001, 2008, 2010 NCAA CHAMPIONS. Regan was a stud and UNH wasted that opportunity in 2008

    • Bharvey13

      A win over BC, a season sweep over Maine, 2 out of 3 against BU, a win at Miami(OH), a win at Cornell, and a tie against Michigan. what do all of these teams that UNH has played have in common?

      all were top-10 teams when they played UNH (except Maine, but you throw out records in the border war).

      That doesn’t sound like nothing to me. Even the loss to Dartmouth isn’t looking so bad as Dartmouth has beaten former number 1 Yale and continues to improve each week.

      • chris

        Will anyone but Umile remember those W’s after the champion is crowned in April?

      • UNH on Fire

        Type your comment here.Bharvey13 – you are doing ver ywell unti lthe last paragraph. UNH has had an excellent star tto the season, long way to go still, but Dartmouth has lost to Yale 3 times this year and have not beaten them. Despite this they have been playing well. The UNH loss to them will have little impact on them.

  • The Captain

    As a die hard wildcat fan, I agree that UNH’s season success will be judged upon what they do in March. HE regular season titles are nice but haven’t amounted to anything as of late. Growing up in the great state of Maine, I’ve heard the old University of No Hardware cry too many times to count. It’s warranted-yes, but I second the notion of living in the present. As of today, Umile’s squad will most likely be dancing as a #1 in their home state avoiding a matchup with the Eagles while the Black Bears will be out snowmobiling in Orono. As far as I’m concerned, Bears fans can continue with their favorite no hardware chants, but if I were a black bear I’d be more concerned with my hockey team who has not been to the NCAA tournament in 3 years looking to be 4. The Maine program is steadily falling off the college hockey map as they struggle to recruit against the Boston Powerhouses with better programs, coaches, and facilities. Believe me Bears, I enjoy seeing Maine come tournament time – they are/were a staple of college hockey. But take a good look in the mirror and evaluate this year’s team and your program as a whole as of today – not the past. On a side note, the Northeastern Huskies WILL win the Beanpot for the first time since 1988. Go NU!

  • Abc

    If the high seeds win this week it will work out great for the final five attendance. UMD vs UM in Thursday night game with the winner playing Nodak in the Friday night game.

    • Anonymous

      It would be CC vs UM and UNO vs UMD if all the home teams won.

      • Siouxbetcha

        No, Abc is right. #3UNO vs #6 CC and #4UMD vs #5UM if all the home teams win.

  • Mesteveo

    How can CC be ahead of UM in the Pairwise? Doesn’t make sense. someone explain

    • Siouxbetcha

      UM wins the individual comparison over CC, however CC has 15 overall comparisons to UM’s 13.

  • bigskyvikes

    I dont care, just cant wait to get there, hockey hockey hockey!!! GO SIOUX!!

  • Jeffffyb

    CC played and won more games against tougher competition. That’s why they’re ranked higher than the Gophers. Check out the Pairwise Rankings.

  • Guest

    This article would be better if they knew the name of BSU’s coach, it’s Tom Serratore…Frank is his brother.

  • Cyanwinters

    In a way, I kind of feel bad for that AIC radio guy.

  • Holterlori

    wonderful pics. how does one get a copy of a picture? there is a picture of my son with Paul Broten standing out on the ice during the ceremony that I would love to have a copy of. thanks,
    Lori Holter