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NCAA Hockey Tournament 2011: Previewing Friday's East Regional Action

The 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship gets underway this weekend, with the first and second rounds Friday and Saturday, and the Regional Finals Saturday and Sunday. The sixteens teams in the bracket, led by the four No. 1 seeds -- Yale, Boston College, North Dakota and Miami (OH) -- will be be battling for a spot in the Frozen Four, just two weeks away. 

Play opens Friday, with two games from both the East and West Regionals, beginning with Minnesota-Duluth and Union at 3 p.m. ET. Boston College meets Colorado College at 9 p.m. (ESPNU). 

Our BC blog, BC Interruption, which is offering previews of all four regions, predicts an upset in the East Regional -- which they call "by far the easiest of the four brackets" -- with the Frozen Four spot going to Union. 

While Air Force did beat Yale in the regular season, I'm not expecting a repeat performance, especially with Yale playing close to home. In the second first round game, I like Union to get past Minnesota-Duluth. Finally, in the Regional final, I'm going with the mild upset in the Yale vs. Union rubber match.

2011 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship Schedule:

2011 NCAA Hockey Championship, First and Second Rounds (March 25-27)

Friday, March 25

3 p.m., East Region: Minnesota-Duluth vs. Union (Bridgeport, CT), ESPNU
5:30 p.m., West Region: Michigan vs. Nebraska-Omaha (St. Louis, MO), ESPN3
6:30 p.m., East Region: No. 1 Yale vs. Air Force (Bridgeport, CT), ESPNU
9 p.m., West Region: No. 1 Boston College vs. Colorado College (St. Louis, MO), ESPNU

Saturday, March 26

1:30 p.m., Midwest Region: No.1 North Dakota vs. Rensselaer (Green Bay, WI), ESPN3
4 p.m., Northeast Region: No. 1 Miami vs. New Hampshire (Manchester, NH), ESPNU
5 p.m., Midwest Region: Denver vs. Western Michigan (Green Bay, WI), ESPN3
7:30 p.m., Northeast Region: Merrimack vs. Notre Dame (Manchester, NH), ESPN3

6:30 p.m. East Regional Final (Teams TBD), ESPNU
9 p.m. West Regional Final (Teams TBD), ESPNU

Sunday, March 27, 2011

5:30 p.m. Midwest Regional Final (Teams TBD), ESPNU
8 p.m. Northeast Regional Final (Teams TBD), ESPNU

2011 NCAA Hockey Championship Semifinals (April 7)

Frozen Four Semifinal #1, ESPN2
Frozen Four Semifinal #2, ESPN2

2011 NCAA Hockey National Championship Game - April 9, 7 p.m., ESPN

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For more on the 2011 NCAA Hockey Championship, visit the StoryStreams at both SB Nation and SBN Boston as well as our Boston College blog, BC Interruption