ITHACA, N.Y. — Cornell has received an at-large bid to the NCAA Men’s Hockey Championships and will play Hockey East champion UMass Lowell at noon Saturday in the first round at SNHU Arena.
The Big Red was named as the No. 3 seed in the Northeast Regional, where it will play the No. 2 seed River Hawks in the regional’s first semifinal. The game will be broadcast by ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
The second semifinal will pit the bracket’s top seed, Minnesota, and No. 4 seed Notre Dame at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The winners will then advance to the regional final at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The regional champion earns a berth in the Frozen Four from April 6-8 at United Center in Chicago.
Cornell (21-8-5) will be making its 20th all-time appearance in the NCAA tournament and chasing its third national title. The Big Red finished third in the ECAC Hockey regular season standings with 16-4-2 record in league play, then it finished second this weekend at the ECAC Hockey Championships after a 4-1 loss to top-seeded Harvard in Saturday’s final in Lake Placid, N.Y.
UMass Lowell (26-10-3) was both the Hockey East regular season and playoff champion, giving the team three league titles of the last five years. The River Hawks lost four straight games late in January before posting a 7-0 record in February. They then defeated New Hampshire in a three-game league quarterfinal series before topping Notre Dame in Friday’s semifinal, 5-1, and Boston College in Saturday’s championship, 4-3. Cornell and UMass Lowell have met just once before, with the River Hawks winning 3-2 game in the first round of the Florida College Classic on Dec. 28, 2007 in Estero, Fla.
In the other regional semifinal, Big 10 regular-season champion Minnesota (23-11-3) will take on Hockey East’s Notre Dame (21-11-5). The top-seeded Gophers were also the top seed in their conference tournament, but suffered a 4-3 double overtime loss to Penn State in the semifinals. The Fighting Irish, who will actually join the Big 10 next season, were 5-1-2 in February to earn a first-round bye in the Hockey East tournament. After a quarterfinal sweep of Providence, Notre Dame lost to UMass Lowell in the semifinals.
This is Cornell’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2012, when it reached the Midwest Region finals after an overtime upset of top-seeded Michigan. The Big Red last reached the Frozen Four in 2003, and its two national championships came in 1967 and 1970.