MINNEAPOLIS The WCHA Final Five didn't end the way the Gophers would have liked it to, as Minnesota was bounced in the tournament's semifinals. But coach Don Lucia's team has a bigger goal in mind, and the journey to the NCAA championship begins Friday.
Minnesota, a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, will face Yale in the first round at 1 p.m. CT Friday in Grand Rapids, Mich. Though the two teams have squared off 19 times in their history, this will be the first postseason matchup. The Gophers own a 13-6-0 mark against the Bulldogs, but they'll be aiming to improve their postseason record against Yale to a perfect 1-0.
The Gophers were the top-ranked team in college hockey for a good portion of the year and finished the 2012-13 regular season with a 24-7-5 record. Minnesota went on to sweep Bemidji State in the first round of the WCHA playoffs before losing, 2-0, to Colorado College in the Final Five at Xcel Energy Center.
Yale, meanwhile, finished its regular season 16-10-3 ove...