NCAA Hockey final 16: Q-cats top seed in nationals

The Quinnipiac Bobcats are back on top of the NCAA div. 1 polls.

The Quinnipiac Bobcats are back on top of the NCAA div. 1 polls and are the number-one seed heading into the NCAA Men’s hockey championship tournament this weekend.

Quinnipiac couldn’t quite complete an incredible season with a conference title, losing 4-0 to Brown in the semifinal of the ECAC championship on Saturday. However, it wasn’t the only top-ranked team to falter in its conference tournament.

Eight of 10 top seeds fell to the underdog in conference play, including last week’s number one ranked University of Minnesota Gophers who lost to Colorado College 2-0 in the semifinal of the WCHA playoff Friday.

Despite the loss the Bobcats regained the number one seed thanks in part to Greater Trail hockey products like former Trail Smoke Eater Travis St. Denis, and Montrose native’s Kellen and Conner Jones.

The former Div. II team will make only it’s second trip to the Sweet-16 and is poised to break into the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh next month for the first time.

Fittingly, both assistant captains, Connor and Kellen, had another fine season finishing tied for fourth in team scoring with the identical number of goals and assists, 11-11-22. St. Denis had an excellent freshman season adding eight goals and six assists in 37 games to go with a feisty, team-leading 70 penalty minutes.

Union won the ECAC title with a 3-1 victory over Brown Saturday, and the Bobcats bounced back with a 3-0 win over Yale in the consolation final.

Quinnipiac, along with Minnesota, UMass-Lowell and Notre Dame, in that order, were awarded No. 1 seeds for the 2013 NCAA men’s hockey tournament.

The automatic bids for this year’s tournament went to the conference champions from Atlantic Hockey (Canisius, 19-18-5), CCHA (Notre Dame, 25-12-3), ECAC (Union, 21-12-5), Hockey East (UMass-Lowell, 26-10-2) and the WCHA (Wisconsin, 22-12-7). UMass-Lowell doubled as the only regular-season champion.

The 11 at-large bids went to Boston College (22-11-4), Denver (20-13-5), Miami (24-11-5), Minnesota (26-8-5), Minnesota State (24-13-3), New Hampshire (19-11-7), Niagara (23-9-5), North Dakota (21-12-7), Quinnipiac (27-7-5), St. Cloud State (23-15-1) and Yale (18-12-3).

The East and Midwest Region winners will meet in one semifinal and the Northeast and West Region winners will face off in the other Frozen Four semifinal April 11.