No 4 seed Air Force faces top-seeded Minnesota in NCAA West Regional
March 18, 2007
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS (719) 333-2313
MARCH 18, 2007
AIR FORCE TO MEET MINNESOTA IN FIRST ROUND OF NCAA WEST REGIONAL
U.S.A.F. ACADEMY, Colo. - The Air Force hockey team (19-15-5) earned the No. 4 seed in the 2007 NCAA West Regional and will face top-seeded, and No. 2 ranked Minnesota (30-9-3), Saturday, March 24, at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo. The game will be televised nationally by ESPNU.
Ticket information will be announced on Monday.
Air Force is making its first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament after winning the Atlantic Hockey Association Tournament with a 6-1 win over Army, Saturday, March 17, in Rochester, N.Y. Minnesota won the WCHA Final Five with a 3-2 overtime win over North Dakota, March 17, in St. Paul, Minn. The Gophers also won the regular season title in the WCHA.
In the other regional semifinal, second-seeded Michigan (26-13-1) faces No. 3 seed North Dakota (22-13-5), Saturday, at 5:30 p.m. The two semifinal winners will meet on Sunday at 4 p.m. with the winner advancing to the 2007 NCAA Frozen Four at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., on April 5 & 7.
Air Force and Minnesota have never played each other.
Quotes from Head Coach Frank Serratore "It was a magical weekend for us the way things fell into place. This is something you dream of. I'm elated to be playing the games in Denver, at altitude. It's great for our fans that have been here during the good times and bad and now they can see us play in Denver. There are nothing but positives for us. It's a monster field with Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota and the hometown Cinderella team. It's a great field."
"I knew that you only get so many cracks at a conference championship and an NCAA bid. Everything has to fall into place. You got to have the right group of kids, you got to have puck luck. For me and my career, if I was to go through my career here and not put a banner in our rink, it would have been tough to live with."
"If you look at our resume, in a one-game deal, we can be a scary opponent. After Minnesota lost to Holy Cross last year, there is no way they will overlook Air Force. We played some very good hockey teams this season, CC, Denver and Notre Dame and out-shot them all. We've shown that we can skate with the big dogs. Obviously, this is high stakes poker in the NCAA Tournament and we know that we will get Minnesota's best game on Saturday. But they're going to get ours as well."
Quotes from Sophomore Right Winger Mike Phillipich "It's an amazing feeling to get this kind of recognition for our program as a whole," said the MVP of the AHA Tournament. "We have a great bunch of guys. I can't imagine a better feeling than playing in the NCAA Tournament with this group of guys. Winning a championship is the most exciting thing we could imagine. It's a goal we have been striving for this entire season. The emotion of it overcame us last night, but come today, we've come back down the slope and know that we have a lot of work ahead of us still this year. There is no doubt that we are the underdog, a powerhouse every single year. But we've played Colorado College, Denver and Notre Dame and played them very close. We aren't going to look at them any different. We have to play our game to win."
Quotes from Sophomore Defenseman Greg Flynn "I think that playing in Denver is great for us to play close to home. I think it will add to the fun of it and make it even more special for us. I know Minnesota's team very intimately. They have a very skilled team and of course we are looked at as the underdogs. I've grown up and played with a lot of them. They have to play the game just like we do. We're not going out there not lose or to play close and be respectable. We are going out there to win.
Quotes from Freshman Andrew Volkening "It feels great. We've been working hard all year and it feels so good to be where we are.
"What I kept telling myself against Army was just don't let them score the first goal. We didn't want to chase them because they are so good defensively."
West Regional - Denver, Colo.; March 24-25 No. 1 Minnesota vs. No. 4 Air Force No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 North Dakota
Midwest Regional - Grand Rapids, Mich.; March 23-24 No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 4 Alabama-Huntsville No. 2 Boston University vs. No. 3 Michigan State
East Regional - Rochester, N.Y.; March 23-24 No. 1 Clarkson vs. No. 4 Massachusetts No. 2 St. Cloud State vs. No. 3 Maine
Northeast Regional - Manchester, N.H.; March 24-25
No. 1 New Hampshire vs. No. 4 Miami
No. 2 Boston College vs. No. 3 St. Lawrence