Yale, North Dakota, Boston College, Miami get No. 1 seeds for 2011 NCAA tournament

Teams from four different conferences earned the No. 1 seeds in the regional brackets for the 2011 NCAA tournament when the seeds were announced on Sunday.

Yale, North Dakota, Boston College and Miami are the top teams in the four regionals.

Yale, the No. 1 overall seed, hosts the East Regional in Bridgeport, Conn., on Friday and Saturday and plays Atlantic Hockey champion Air Force in the first round. Union and Minnesota-Duluth square off in the other first-round game.

North Dakota plays in the Midwest Regional in Green Bay, Wis., playing Rensselaer on Saturday. Denver plays Western Michigan at the Resch Center.

Boston College was bracketed in the West Regional in St. Louis, where it will open play Friday against Colorado College. Michigan and Nebraska-Omaha meet in the other regional semifinal.

“When we were looking at the bracket and New Hampshire ended up as a 4 seed, we couldn’t go to New Hampshire,” Boston College coach Jerry York said. “It was either Green Bay or St. Louis. Sometimes they tweak things a little, so we weren’t really positive.

“We don’t know a lot about [Colorado College]. We’ll have tapes of them and we’ll look at them. We have a good feel of how they play. They’ve been a good skating team over the years.

“This summer, I was in Switzerland watching the U.S. Under-17 team play and [CC coach Scott Owens] was with me. We talked and said it’s been too long since we’ve played each other. We were trying to think about scheduling each other down the road.”

Miami, the CCHA playoff champion, faces New Hampshire in the Northeast Regional in Manchester, N.H. on Saturday. Merrimack and Notre Dame were slotted into the other semifinal.

“Obviously, our goal this past weekend was to win the CCHA,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. “In doing so, we got the No. 1 seed. It’s exciting for us to be in the national tournament. … It’s going to be a tough draw to play New Hampshire in Manchester. We’ve been there before. It was tough. Their fans are right behind them. That having been said, it was no different than last night with Western’s fans [in the CCHA final].

“We’ve been in enough times to know you’ve got play your best hockey no matter what.”

Merrimack fell short in the Hockey East final against Boston College.

“Our guys are still getting over last night but it helps when you make the selection process,” Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy said. “The only thing the president of the college asked of me when I took the job was to schedule Notre Dame. It took six years, but it’s finally happened. It will be
an honor to play such a prolific program.

“To play in front of a home crowd is huge. I’d like to think that the committee took into account our crowd [at the Hockey East tournament] when they decided to put us in Manchester.”

The brackets work out so the national semifinals put the winners of the East and Northeast regionals, and the West and Midwest regionals.

The field consists of five WCHA teams, four from the CCHA, three each from Hockey East and ECAC Hockey, and one from Atlantic Hockey.

See the printable bracket (PDF) here, and follow our NCAA tournament page here.