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Four Minnesota hockey teams in the NCAA tournament

The Gophers, Mavericks and Bulldogs all won their opening-round games.

MINNESOTA, USA — They call Minnesota the State of Hockey for a reason.

Out of the 16 teams in the NCAA tournament field, four — University of Minnesota, University of Minnesota-Duluth, St. Cloud State and Minnesota State University-Mankato — are from Minnesota.

"It's actually a down year. We had five in the tournament last year, three of them made it to the Frozen Four,” said hockey writer Jess Myers, who covers the University of Minnesota for The Rink Live.

He says the NCCA bracket created a rare opportunity for Minnesota hockey this year.

“If things go right, we could see four Minnesota teams in the Frozen Four,” Myers explains.

It was luck that all four Minnesota teams were placed in opposite corners of the NCAA bracket, however, St. Cloud State's first-round loss eliminated any chance for an all-Minnesota Frozen Four.

Mick Hatten covers the St. Cloud State Husky hockey team for The Rink Live, and he says the Huskies had the most difficult road to the Frozen Four this year.

"Quinnipiac is the toughest team in the country to score on going into this tournament, and Michigan is the top seed in the whole tournament,” Hatten said. “It’s a tough road for them.”

The Gophers won in overtime Friday to advance past the opening round, while both UMD and MSU-Mankato each won their first-round games on Thursday. St. Cloud State's tournament run ended in the first round with a 5-4 loss to Quinnipiac. 

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