BC, Yale earn top seeds in NCAA hockey

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BC, Yale earn top seeds in NCAA hockey

Two New England teams -- Boston College and Yale -- earned top seeds, and two other N.E. schools earned at-large berths for the NCAA hockey tournament.

Seedings and pairings were announced Sunday morning.

The Bulldogs, winners of the ECAC championship, are the No. 1 seed in the East regional and will play No. 4 Air Force on Friday at Bridgeport, Conn. Union and Minnesota-Duluth are the other schools in the regional.

BC is the No. 1 seed in the West Regional, and the Hockey East champions will play No. 4 Colorado College Friday in St. Louis. Other schools in that regional: Michigan and Nebraska-Omaha.

The other two England schools will compete in the Northeast Regional in Manchester, N.H. The host school, New Hampshire, will face No. 1 seed Miami of Ohio, and No. 2 Merrimack will play No. 3 Notre Dame. Those games are on Saturday.

The four schools in the Midwest Regional, which will be played in Green Bay, are North Dakota, Denver, Western Michigan and RPI.

The winners of the regionals will advance to the Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minn., on April 7 and 9.

Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

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Rask: Last season 'something to rebound from' personally

BRIGHTON, Mass. – While David Pastrnak, Tuukka Rask and David Backes are back from competing in the World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, that doesn’t mean you’ll see those players on the ice over the next couple of days. Perhaps the trio will practice on Monday in the fourth on-ice session at main training camp, but Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed that none of those returning players will suit up against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the B’s preseason debut at TD Garden on Monday night.

“Yeah…absolutely,” said Sweeney when asked if those three players have been ruled out for Monday night. “They’re going to get through the weekend here. Next week, we’ll evaluate [them] when they get on the ice. But, all those guys will not be on the ice until next week.

“It might be case-by-case for each guy. Those guys have been playing for a while at a high level. It’s unique for David Backes coming into the organization, so he’d like to integrate himself. I talked yesterday with all three of them just to get a read of where they’re at. But, sometime first of next week, they’ll be on [the ice].”

Both Pastrnak and Rask have checked in with the Bruins media over the last couple of days after returning from Toronto, and the Bruins goaltender, in particular, has plenty of motivation coming off a down statistical season. The 2.56 goals against average and .915 save percentage were well below his career numbers, and people like B’s President Cam Neely have pointed to Rask as somebody that needs to have a better season for Boston to rebound back into the playoffs this year.

“There were a couple of years where the standards pretty high, so obviously when they go down there’s something to rebound from. You kind of know where you can be. That’s where I try to be every year and I’m working on being there this year, and taking us to the playoffs and moving forward,” said Rask. “But every year is a new year where you’ve got to work hard, and set your goals to be at your best. More often than not you hope [being at your best] is going to happen, and I hope this year is going to be a great year for us.”

Clearly Rask wasn’t alone in his struggles last season behind a mistake-prone defense that allowed plenty of Grade chances, and that could be a repeating phenomenon again this season for the Bruins unless the defense is substantially upgraded along the way.

As far as the other three B’s players still taking part in the World Cup, it could be a while for Patrice and Brad Marchand as Team Canada has advanced to the final best-of-three series that could also feature Zdeno Chara if Team Europe is victorious.