The NCAA men's hockey tournament now will consist of 15 teams with the news Thursday that Notre Dame will not play because of COVID-19 issues, the NCAA announced Thursday.
The Fighting Irish, the No. 4 seed in the Northeast Regional in Albany, N.Y., were to play top-seeded Boston College at noon Saturday. Instead, the game will be ruled a no contest and the Eagles will advance to regional final to meet the winner of No. 2 seed St. Cloud State and No. 3 Boston University on Sunday. The NCAA had a deadline of 6 p.m. Monday for a replacement team to be included in the field.
"The NCAA and the Division I Men's Ice Hockey Committee regret that, because of COVID-19 protocols, Notre Dame's student-athletes and coaching staff will not be able to play in a tournament in which they earned the right to participate,'' the NCAA statement read. "The Notre Dame-Boston College game scheduled for Saturday afternoon at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York, will now be considered a no-contest, and therefore, Boston College will advance to the next round of the tournament. This decision was made in consultation with the Albany County Public Health Department and the NCAA Medical Advisory Group. Because of privacy issues, we cannot provide further details."
The Fighting Irish (14-13-2) were the last at-large team to make the tournament, and that spot opened when St. Lawrence, a sub-.500 team that won the ECAC tournament and its automatic NCAA bid, had to pull out because coach Brent Brekke tested positive for COVID-19.
In reaction to the no contest between Notre Dame and Boston College, the NCAA moved up the game between St. Cloud State and Boston University to noon Central. It had been scheduled for 5:30 p.m.