The No. 5 Gopher Hockey program returns to the NCAA tournament this season, earning a No. 1 seed for the Northeast Regional, March 25-26, at SNHU Arena in Manchester, N.H. Minnesota opens up the tournament against future Big Ten foe Notre Dame on Saturday, March 25 at 2:30 p.m. CT. Cornell and UMass-Lowell face off in the opening game of the regional while the regional final is set for Sunday, March 26 at 2:30 p.m. CT.
Gophers Set New Standard for NCAA Tournament
The 2017 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament marks the 37th appearance in the national tournament for the Maroon & Gold — the most of any program in college hockey. The Gophers are 55-37 (.598) all-time in the NCAA tournament including five national championships (1974, 1976, 1979, 2002, 2003).
Gophers Make NCAA History
With a 14-5-1-0 record in conference play this season, the Maroon & Gold wrapped up the 2017 Big Ten Regular-Season Championship in the final series of the regular season. The conference title marks Minnesota’s fourth in four years in the Big Ten and sixth-straight regular-season conference title — setting a new NCAA record. Minnesota has won 18 regular-season conference championships in program history — eight of them under head coach Don Lucia.
Gophers Against the Northeast Regional Field
The Gophers open the regional against a future Big Ten foe and a team they are playing for the sixth-straight season in Notre Dame while the regional final will come against a team Minnesota has not seen in more than a decade (no matter who advances). The Gophers are 27-15-3 all-time against the Irish including a 1-0 mark in the NCAA tournament (a 5-2 victory on March 27, 2004). Meanwhile, the Gophers are 8-1-0 all-time against UMass-Lowell including 1-0 in the NCAA tournament (a 1-0 overtime victory on March 27, 1994) and 2-0 all-time against Cornell including 1-0 in the NCAA tournament (a 2-1 overtime win on March 27, 2005).
Bischoff Leads the Gophers Blue Line
Senior defenseman and alternate captain Jake Bischoff of Grand Rapids is one of several Gophers seniors having their best season with the Maroon & Gold. Bischoff has career bests in points (32), assists (27) and blocks (87). The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year leads all conference blueliners and ranks tied for seventh among NCAA defensemen in offensive points this year while his 87 blocks are eighth most in the nation. Bischoff’s career-best 10-game point streak came to an end in Minnesota’s Big Ten Tournament semifinal game.
Bischoff spoke to MNN Sports Director Mike Grimm earlier this week: