UND to meet Badgers in Cincy
MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Wisconsin’s dramatic overtime victory in the Big Ten title game helped get UND into the NCAA tournament.
UND will return the favor by trying to knock the Badgers out for the season.
In an ironic twist, UND and Wisconsin will play in the first round of the NCAA tournament at 7 p.m. Friday (ESPNU) in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati. The other game in the Midwest Regional is Ferris State against Colgate.
This will be UND’s 12th straight NCAA tournament appearance, the longest streak in the country. Denver has the second-longest streak at seven years, followed by Boston College with five years.
UND started the season 4-7-2, but went on a 19-6-1 charge down the stretch to reach the NCAAs, including Saturday afternoon’s win over Western Michigan in the third place game at the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Faceoff.
Wisconsin (24-10-2) is a veteran group led by a trio of senior forwards in Mark Zengerle, Tyler Barnes and Michael Mersch. Defensively, junior Jake McCabe is a standout and goaltender Joel Rumpel is a Hobey Baker Award finalist.
The Badgers are coming off of a Big Ten tournament title, which they won in overtime against Ohio State on Saturday night. If the Badgers lost that game, the Buckeyes would have been in the NCAA tournament and UND would have been out.
In the St. Paul Regional, Minnesota takes on Robert Morris and St. Cloud State plays Notre Dame. In the Worcester, Mass., Regional, Boston College takes on NCHC postseason champion Denver and UMass-Lowell plays Minnesota State-Mankato. In the Bridgeport, Conn., Regional, Union and Vermont will play in one game and Quinnipiac and Providence play in the other game.