ST. PAUL - By winning the NCHC Frozen Faceoff championship 3-2 over St. Cloud State on Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center, Minnesota Duluth not only captured a nice shiny trophy to bring back to Duluth.
The Bulldogs also avoided an unfavorable first-round matchup against the Providence Friars in the East Regional in Providence, R.I.
Instead as the second overall seed in this year's tournament behind the Huskies, the Bulldogs are projected to be heading to the Midwest Regional in Allentown, Pa. to take on Bowling Green on Saturday. The regional final is on Sunday.
Penn State is the host of the Midwest Regional and would have been slotted there if not for the Nittany Lions' loss to Notre Dame in the Big 10 championship game on Saturday. Penn State is this year's last team out finishing No. 16 in the Pairwise rankings - the system used to select and seed the NCAA tournament.
The Friars are not the hosts in the East - Brown is - but they'll very likely be staying home because bracket integrity puts them there and the NCAA selection committee has traditionally placed Providence in Providence.
That creates an unlucky draw for WCHA champion Minnesota State-Mankato, which as the No. 3 seed is going to be slotted in Providence. It can't be the No. 4 overall seed, Massachusetts, because that would create an intraconference matchup.
It's a tough break for the Mavericks.
Below are the projected brackets from News Tribune college hockey reporter Matt Wellens. After thinking about putting Arizona State in Fargo and Ohio State in Allentown, he's decided to agree with prognosticators at USCHO.com and CollegeHockeyNews.com. The switch is still something to watch our for.
Official NCAA tournament bracket announced at 6 p.m. Sunday.
1. St. Cloud State vs. 16. AIC
8. Denver vs. 9. Ohio State
2. Minnesota Duluth vs. 15. Bowling Green
7. Quinnipiac vs. 10. Arizona State
3. Minnesota State vs. 14. Providence
6. Northeastern vs. 11. Cornell
4. Massachusetts vs. 13. Harvard
5. Clarkson vs. 12. Notre Dame