One year after its dream of an NCAA championship was shattered in the most heartbreaking of fashions, Miami (Ohio) is back for another go -- and the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region.
Joining the Red Hawks as top seeds are Boston College in the Northeast, Denver in the East and Wisconsin in the West.
The 16-team NCAA men's hockey tournament field was announced Sunday morning, with six of the participants receiving automatic bids as the result of winning their conference championship: Boston College (Hockey East), Rochester Institute of Technology (Atlantic Hockey), Alabama-Huntsville (College Hockey America), Michigan (CCHA), Cornell (ECAC) and North Dakota (WCHA).
The remaining 10 teams received at-large bids, including three of the four No. 1 seeds as well as Alaska, Bemidji State, New Hampshire, Northern Michigan, St. Cloud State, Vermont and Yale.
Regional play begins Friday and Saturday in Albany, N.Y. (East Regional), St. Paul, Minn. (West), Worcester, Mass. (Northeast) and Fort Wayne, Ind. (Midwest). The Frozen Four will take place at Detroit's Ford Field on April 8 and 10.
Miami let a 3-1 lead over BU slip away in the final minute of regulation and lost 4-3 in last year's championship game. The Red Hawks went 27-7-7 this season and won't have to worry about the Terriers this time around -- they lost to Maine in the Hockey East semifinals and failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
This will be the fifth straight year Miami has made the tournament, not nearly the longest current streak. Michigan owns that honor, although the Wolverines had to beat the Red Hawks in the CCHA semifinals and then win the tournament in order to secure the automatic bid.
Red Berenson's squad also set the record for NCAA appearances with 33, one more than Minnesota. Michigan's nine championships is the gold standard in college hockey, but the last one came 12 years ago.