By Jayson Hajdu
Following an exhilarating weekend of conference championships, 16 teams will continue their pursuit of a Frozen Four berth when the 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Tournament gets underway Thursday.
Each regional champion will advance to the NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa (April 6-8).
All 15 tournament matchups can be seen on the ESPN network of channels. Canadian viewers can watch the entire tournament online via TSN+.
Visit College Hockey Inc.’s 2023 NCAA Tournament Media Kit (above) for more tournament information, statistics, and key storylines.
Buffalo News: Canisius hockey heads to Fargo, will face No. 1 Minnesota in the NCAA Tournament
Chicago Sun-Times: Wyatt Kaiser debuts in Blackhawks’ hard-fought loss to Coyotes
College Hockey News: NCAA Tournament, first look
College Hockey News: For Vaughan, the wait is over
EP Rinkside: NCAA Tournament selection Sunday bracket breakdown
ESPN: Sizing up the men’s hockey bracket on the way to the Frozen Four
FloHockey: Familiar finish sends Mavericks to NCAA Tournament
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Gophers men’s hockey success a perfect example of how local sports work
MLive: ‘Assassin line’ carving Western Michigan Hockey for NCAA Tournament run
New England Hockey Journal: Why each New England team can make a run in the NCAA Tournament
Sportsnet: College free agents to watch, and what Devon Levi brings to Sabres
The Athletic: Why NCAA free agent Hunter McKown chose the Blue Jackets
The Eagle-Tribune: Merrimack earns spot in NCAA Hockey Tourney, faces Quinnipiac in opener
The Rink Live: From the hockey insiders, a ‘what to do, see, eat and experience’ guide to Fargo
USCHO: Talking results, surprises from conference championship weekend, looking ahead to NCAAs
WIVB Buffalo: Devon Levi ‘super glad’ to be in Buffalo, progressing toward NHL debut
Inside Hockey East: Featuring Merrimack forward Jordan Seyfert, Providence defenseman Max Crozier
CHN Insiders: NCAA Regionals preview
Terrier Hockey Talk: Championship recap with Boston University captain Domenick Fensore
The Rink Live Weekend Rewind: NCAA Tournament preview
USCHO Weekend Review: Analyzing the brackets, reviewing a great weekend of conference playoffs
NHL.com: Devon Levi’s first day in Buffalo
Lordy Lordy, Look Who’s 40:
Big Ten rivals Michigan and Minnesota are both making their 40th all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the most among Division I men’s hockey programs:
Most NCAA appearances
Michigan, Minnesota – 40
Boston University – 38
Boston College – 36
North Dakota – 34
Minnesota State and St. Cloud State share the longest active tournament streak with five consecutive appearances.
The nation’s top 10 scorers are all in the NCAA Tournament, led by Michigan freshman Adam Fantilli (Nobleton, Ontario), who leads the country in points (61) and points per game (1.85) while ranking second in goals (27). Fantilli is one of five freshmen among the top 10:
National scoring leaders
61 – Adam Fantilli (Fr.), Michigan
55 – Collin Graf (So.), Quinnipiac
52 – Logan Cooley (Fr.), Minnesota
52 – Sean Farrell (Jr.), Harvard
49 – Jimmy Snuggerud (Fr.), Minnesota
48 – Ryan McAllister (Fr.), Western Michigan
47 – Lane Hutson (Fr.), Boston University
46 – Jason Polin (Sr.), Western Michigan
46 – Massimo Rizzo (So.), Denver
44 – Matt Brown (Sr.), Boston University
You Never Forget Your First:
A quartet of head coaches are making their first appearances in the NCAA Tournament: Scott Borek (Merrimack), Trevor Large (Canisius), Brandon Naurato (Michigan) and Jay Pandolfo (Boston University).
- Borek, in his fifth season at Merrimack, guided the Warriors to their first tournament berth since 2011.
- Large and Canisius secured their tournament berth in three years with a 3-0 blanking of Holy Cross in the Atlantic Hockey championship.
- Naurato, in his first season behind the bench, led the Wolverines to a second-place finish in the Big Ten and the No. 3 spot in the PairWise Rankings.
- Another first-year head coach, Pandolfo coached the Terriers to Hockey East regular-season and playoff titles and became the first in program history to win 20 games in his first season.
Feelin’ Hot, Hot, Hot:
Pandolfo’s Terriers are the nation’s hottest team with a seven-game winning streak entering the national tournament.
Zooming out a little further, Quinnipiac owns the best mark of any tournament qualifier both over the last 10 games (9-1-1) and since Christmas (16-3-0).
Best of the Best:
Ninety-two NHL Draft picks are participating in the NCAA Tournament, including nine first-rounders. Thirty of 32 NHL teams have at least one draft prospect playing, while 14 of 16 teams in the tournament have at least one draft pick on their roster.
NHL Draft picks per team
Harvard – 15
Minnesota – 14
Boston University, Denver, Michigan – 12
Ohio State, St. Cloud State, Western Michigan – 4
Cornell, Merrimack, Quinnipiac – 3
Colgate, Michigan Tech, Penn State – 2
NOTES BY REGION
Fargo Regional (Thursday-Saturday, Scheels Arena)
MSU and SCSU have qualified for five straight national tournaments, the longest such streak in the nation … Minnesota junior defenseman Brock Faber (Maple Grove, Minn.) has six points (all assists) in five career NCAA Tournament games, the most of any player in the field … Canisius-Minnesota features the oldest team in the field versus the youngest (tied) team in the field, respectively. The Canisius average age is 23.5 years, while Minnesota’s average age is 21.3, tied with Michigan for the youngest in the tournament … Minnesota State owns the nation’s best power play (27.9 percent).
Manchester Regional (Thursday-Saturday, SNHU Arena)
Both the 31 NHL Draft picks and 16 combined NCAA titles in Manchester are the most of any regional … DU senior G Magnus Chrona (Skelleftea, Sweden) leads all 2023 Tournament goalies with 114 career appearances and 71 wins. He’s 4-0 lifetime in the NCAA Tournament … Boston University freshman Lane Hutson (Chicago, Ill.) is the first defenseman in Hockey East history to win the league’s conference scoring title … Denver-Cornell is a “rematch” of the 1969 NCAA championship game.
Allentown Regional (Friday-Sunday, PPL Center)
With a combined 103 points, Michigan’s Adam Fantilli (61) and Luke Hughes (42) are the highest-scoring pair of teammates in the entire NCAA Tournament … Penn State boasts 16 players with double-digit point totals, tied with BU and Quinnipiac for the most in the field, but has done so without a single 30-point scorer … All four teams have at least one set of brothers on their roster (Michigan Tech has two brother duos).
Bridgeport Regional (Friday-Sunday, Total Mortgage Arena)
Quinnipiac graduate F Ethan de Jong (North Vancouver, British Columbia) leads all tournament participants in career points (141), goals (60) and games played (180) … Teammate Zach Metsa (Delafield, Wis.) is the top-scoring defenseman in the entire field with 116 career points … Merrimack is making its first tourney appearance since 2011, which had been the longest drought among 2023 participants … Harvard is the only team in the field with three 20-goal scorers: Alex Laferriere (21), Matthew Coronato (20) and Sean Farrell (20) … Ohio State owns the nation’s best penalty kill (89.5 percent).
You Can Quote Me On That:
“Somebody along the way said, ‘good things come to those who wait.’ Well, it’s been 30 years for me, so I’m really thrilled to be in this position with a championship going back to Colgate and our great fans.”
-- Colgate head coach Don Vaughan after winning the first ECAC Tournament championship of his 30-year tenure behind the Raiders’ bench. (source: USCHO).
NHL Note of the Week:
Twenty players in the 2023 NCAA Tournament are sons of former NHLers and 10 players have older brothers who have played in the NHL.
Fries at the Bottom of the Bag:
St. Cloud State graduate D Brendan Bushy (Thief River Falls, Minn.) will break Easton Brodzinski’s career games played record when he skates in his 177th career contest Thursday against Minnesota State in the Fargo regional … Minnesota freshman Logan Cooley (Pittsburgh, Pa.) is riding a 13-game point streak, the longest active streak in the nation … Boston University senior F Matt Brown (Wood Ridge, N.J.) and Western Michigan graduate F Cole Gallant (Dover, Fla.) each enter the tournament needing two points to reach 100 for their collegiate careers.
Conference Champions (playoffs):
Atlantic Hockey – Canisius
Big Ten – Michigan
CCHA – Minnesota State
ECAC – Colgate
Hockey East – Boston University
NCHC – St. Cloud State
Conference Champions (reg. season):
Atlantic Hockey – RIT
Big Ten – Minnesota
CCHA – Minnesota State
ECAC – Quinnipiac
Hockey East – Boston University
NCHC – Denver
Key College Hockey Dates:
April 1: Hobey Baker Memorial Award “Hobey Hat Trick” finalists announced
April 7-9: NCAA Frozen Four (Tampa)
April 8: National awards announced
College Hockey Inc. Resources:
- College Hockey Inc. Media Center
- College Hockey National Pronunciation Guide
- NHL Matchup Tool
- NCAA Alums in the NHL This Season
- Former Collegians in NHL Front Offices
- College Players With 1,000 NHL Games
- College Players 1,000 Career NHL points
- NHL Draft Picks Playing in the NCAA
- 2023 Pro Signings Tracker
Did you know? 92% of NCAA Division I men’s hockey players earn their degree!