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MADISON, Wis. – Two teams from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, winners of the last 13 national championships, have been selected to play in the quarterfinals of the 2013 NCAA Division 1 Women’s Ice Hockey Championship.
Defending national champion, 2012-13 WCHA regular season champ and No. 1 seed Minnesota (38-0-0) will host North Dakota (26-11-1), in the quarterfinal round, the NCAA revealed during Sunday night’s selection show. Puck drop is 4:00 pm CT Saturday at Ridder Arena. The game is a rematch of the 2013 WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF title game on Saturday (March 9) in Minneapolis when Minnesota continued its perfect season and extended its unprecedented winning streak to 46 games with a 2-0 victory. This will be the sixth meeting between the teams this season.
This is the eighth NCAA regional appearances for Minnesota. Minnesota also hosted the regional game in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012. The Golden Gophers beat North Dakota in the NCAA Regional at Ridder Arena last season. This is the second NCAA tournament appearance for North Dakota, which received one of the four at-large berths.
Eight teams are selected for the championship. Of the eight teams, the top-four teams are seeded. Three conferences were awarded automatic bids for the 2013 tournament. The remaining five teams were selected at-large. The automatic qualifying conferences and their representatives are the WCHA – Minnesota; ECAC Hockey – Cornell; and Hockey East Association – Boston University. Boston College, Clarkson, Harvard, Mercyhurst and North Dakota were all selected as at-large teams.
The quarterfinals will be played Saturday, March 16 and the other pairings have No. 2-seeded Cornell (27-5-1) hosting Mercyhurst (28-6-1), No. 3 Boston University (26-5-3) entertaining Clarkson (28-9-0) and Harvard (24-6-3) at Boston College (26-6-3), the No. 4 seed. The quarterfinal winners will advance to the 2013 NCAA Women’s Frozen Four, set for Friday, March 22 and Sunday, March 24 at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. The semifinal games will be played at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. CT on March 22. The championship game will be played at 3 p.m. CT on March 24.
In the 12 years of NCAA-sponsored tournaments, WCHA members have won all 12 titles – Minnesota Duluth has five, Wisconsin has four and Minnesota three. Minnesota defeated Wisconsin, 4-2 in the 2012 championship game at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, Minn. Six of this year quarterfinalists are repeaters from last year’s field, including North Dakota and Minnesota. The other repeaters are Mercyhurst, BC, Cornell and BU.