Quinnipiac earns top seed in 2016 NCAA men's hockey tournament

Quinnipiac, St. Cloud State, North Dakota and Providence hold the top seeds in the 2016 NCAA men's hockey tournament, which kicks off on Friday.
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The only decision the selection committee needed to make was where Quinnipiac will play. 

The Bobcats earned the No. 1 seed and will open play in the East regional in Albany, N.Y., against RIT in the first round of the 2016 NCAA tournament on March 26. They'll meet the winner of the No. 2 Lowell and No. 3 Yale for a shot at the Frozen Four in April.

Quinnipiac posted an NCAA-best 29-3-7 record, but could be without forward Sam Anas, who was shaken up in the ECAC final against Harvard. The junior ranked in the top 10 in scoring with 48 points in 39 games

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​​“It's a little early [to tell]," QU coach Rand Pecknold said. "It was an ugly hit. I'm disappointed that happened. It was kind of a dirty play. It is what it is.”

St. Cloud State, North Dakota and Providence also claimed top seeds in their respective regionals as 16 teams clash for a shot at an NCAA title. 

In the Midwest regional in Cincinnati, North Dakota, which finished the season with a 30-6-4 record and first in the NCHC, will face Hockey East fourth-seed Northeastern, while Big Ten postseason champion Michigan is set to see Notre Dame in the opening round.

Winnipeg Jets prospect Kyle Connor carried Michigan to the league title with eight points in four games, including four goals against Penn State in the semifinals. The weekend outburst pushed Connor’s NCAA-leading point total to 69 for the season.

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​St. Cloud State will begin its play against Ferris State in the West regional in St. Paul, Minn. No. 2 Denver and No. 3 Boston University will drop the puck on the ice at the Xcel Energy Center in hopes of playing the winner of the Huskies-Bulldogs showdown.

The Northeast regional will pit No. 4 seed Providence, owner of a 27-6-4 record, against Minnesota-Duluth, while Hockey East regular season champion Boston College gets to see ECAC runner-up Harvard in Worcester, Mass. 

Harvard features one of the biggest names in the tournament in senior forward and Hobey Baker candidate Jimmy Vesey, who ranked among college hockey’s best with 24 goals and 46 points in 32 games. A 2012 draft pick of the Nashville Predators, Vesey could become a free agent if he does not agree to an entry-level deal with the team before Aug. 15.

The Frozen Four will start April 7 in Tampa with two games before the national title game on April 9. A full bracket can be found here.