Broncos draw North Dakota in NCAA tourney

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Photo of Bronco hockey team after winning the CCHA Tournament.

CCHA Champs!

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's hockey team makes its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance and second in a row as it heads to St. Paul, Minn., to battle the University of North Dakota Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

The Broncos earned a No. 4 seed after winning the CCHA Tournament Championship with a 3-2 victory over the University of Michigan Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

In previous matches with North Dakota, WMU is 0-4, but the two teams have not meet since two games each in Kalamazoo in 1997 and at North Dakota in 1998—and in 1997, North Dakota won the national championship.

The game will be carried live via ESPN3.com and replayed on ESPNU Sunday at 12:30 p.m. The game is available for syndication in local markets, and WMU News will be updated if the broadcast is picked up in the Kalamazoo area. Live radio coverage will be provided by the Bronco Radio Network on 96.5 FM WKZO and at wkzo.com.

The Broncos enter the tournament on a five-game winning streak, with all five wins against teams that qualified for the tournament.

WMU is 0-5 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, including two losses to Harvard in a best-of-three series in 1986. The Broncos fell to Denver, 3-2, in double-overtime at last season's Midwest regional.

Regional play begins Friday and Saturday, March 23-24. The Frozen Four will be played in Tampa Bay, Fla., Thursday, April 5, and Saturday, April 7.

Northeast Region (Worchester, Mass.)
No. 1 Boston College vs. No. 4 Air Force
No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth vs. No. 3 Maine

West Region (St. Paul, Minn.)
No. 1 North Dakota vs. No. 4 WMU Broncos
No. 2 Minnesota vs. No. 3 Boston University

East Region (Bridgeport, Conn.)
No. 1 Union vs. No. 4 Michigan State
No. 2 Miami vs. No. 3 UMass-Lowell

Midwest Region (Green Bay, Wis.)
No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 4 Cornell
No. 2 Ferris State vs. No. 3 Denver

The Northeast and West region winners will meet in one of the Frozen Four semifinal games April 5. Winners of the East and Midwest will meet in the other, and the winners of the semifinals meet for the national title at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 7.

NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Tournament Facts

Five CCHA teams made the 16-team field, the most from any conference. WMU joins Ferris State, Miami, Michigan State and Michigan representing the CCHA.

Tournament top seed Boston College will be trying for its third title in five years. In the past 10 years, 13 teams have played in the national title game. Boston College (2-2) has played in four. No other team has been there more than twice in the past decade.

Defending champion Minnesota-Duluth will try to become the first repeat national champion since Denver in 2005.

Most appearances: Michigan is making its 22nd consecutive appearance, longest active string, and owns the record for most overall appearances with 35. North Dakota has qualified for the 10th straight time, the second longest active string.

Most national titles: Michigan has won the most championships, with nine, but has not won a title since 1998. Denver, which last won in 2005, and North Dakota, which won in 2000, are tied with the next most, seven national titles each.

CCHA teams have played in four of the past five national title games. Michigan State won in 2007, Notre Dame lost in 2008, Miami lost in 2009, and Michigan lost in 2011.

Michigan universities have combined for 19 NCAA national men's hockey titles, nine more than the next closest state, Massachusetts. In addition to the University of Michigan (9 championships) other national champions from the state are Lake Superior State (3), Michigan State (3), Michigan Tech (3) and Northern Michigan (1).

Update March 24, 2012--WMU fell 3-1 to North Dakota in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Visit wmubroncos.com for more details and updates.

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