Sun 22 Mar 2009
For the first time since 2000, Minnesota will not be part of the NCAA men’s hockey tournament as the Gophers were not selected to the 16-team field on Sunday.
Minnesota’s eight straight trips to the tournament marked the nation’s second-longest current streak and the second-longest in Minnesota history. Michigan is in the tournament for the 19th straight year and matched the Gophers for the most appearances all-time in the tournament with 32.
Minnesota finished the season 17-13-7 and was knocked out of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs with a 2-1 loss to Minnesota Duluth on Thursday in the play-in game of the WCHA Final Five. Three WCHA teams were selected to the field as Minnesota Duluth was the league’s automatic qualifier and Denver and North Dakota earned at-large berths.
The Gophers finished in a three-way tie in the PairWise rankings for the final spot in the field with Ohio State and Wisconsin, but Ohio State held a slight edge in the RPI over the Gophers and Badgers to earn the final berth.
Minnesota will host the NCAA West Regional this weekend at Mariucci Arena with Denver and Minnesota Duluth both participating. Denver plays Miami on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and Minnesota Duluth faces Princeton at 8 p.m. The regional title game is Saturday at 8 p.m. Minnesota also hosted the regional the last year it didn’t qualify for the field in 2000.
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