NCAA hockey tournament 2013: Four Friday games kick off Road to Frozen Four

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The 2013 NCAA men's hockey tournament begins Friday with the semifinal games in both the West and Northeast Regionals.

The Yale Bulldogs were the last team to qualify for the 2013 NCAA men's hockey tournament, backing into the festivities thanks to a Michigan loss in the CCHA championship game last Sunday. Their prize? A meeting with the No. 2 overall seed Minnesota Golden Gophers to kick off the tournament in the West Regional.

Yale and Minnesota will play at 2 p.m. ET at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., followed by North Dakota and Niagara in the No. 2 vs. No. 3 matchup at 5:30 p.m. The winners will face off on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET in Grand Rapids for the right to go to the Frozen Four.

For a full preview of the West Regional, check in with Western College Hockey Blog.

The Northeast Regional also kicks off Friday with two games at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H. The UMass-Lowell Riverhawks hold the top seed in the region and will have a major close-to-home-ice advantage when they face off against the No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers, who earned an automatic bid by virtue of their WCHA tournament title, at 4:30 p.m. ET Friday.

No. 2 New Hampshire will also have a home-ice edge when they host the No. 3 Denver Pioneers in the night cap at 8 p.m. ET. Both teams qualified for the national tournament through at-large bids. The winner each first round game will face off in the Northeast Regional Final at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday evening.

For a full preview of the Northeast Preview, check in with WCH Blog.

Here's Friday's full schedule, including television info:

No. 1 Minnesota vs. No. 4 Yale
2 p.m. ET | TV: ESPNU
West Regional Semifinal | Grand Rapids, Mich.

No. 1 UMass-Lowell vs. No. 4 Wisconsin
4:30 p.m. ET | TV: ESPN3, NESN, Time Warner Wisconsin
Northeast Regional Semifinal | Manchester, N.H.

No. 2 North Dakota vs. No. 3 Niagara
5:30 p.m. ET | TV: ESPNU
West Regional Semifinal | Grand Rapids, Mich.

No. 2 New Hampshire vs. No. 3 Denver
8 pm. ET | TV: ESPNU
Northeast Regional Semifinal | Manchester, N.H.

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