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COVID-19 knocks Michigan Wolverines out of NCAA hockey tourney

Apr 5, 2018; St. Paul, MN, USA; Michigan Wolverines goaltender Hayden Lavigne (30) makes a save in the second period against Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 2018 Frozen Four college hockey national semifinals at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2018; St. Paul, MN, USA; Michigan Wolverines goaltender Hayden Lavigne (30) makes a save in the second period against Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 2018 Frozen Four college hockey national semifinals at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Michigan men’s ice hockey team withdrew from the NCAA Tournament on Friday due to COVID-19 protocols.

The eighth-ranked Wolverines (15-10-1) were scheduled to face Minnesota Duluth, the two-time defending national champions, in a Midwest Regional semifinal Friday in Fargo, N.D.

The game will be ruled a no-contest and Minnesota Duluth will advance to the regional final against the winner of the game between American International and North Dakota, the No. 1 team in the nation.

According to a statement from the school, there were positive COVID-19 test results within Michigan’s Tier 1 testing group. The exact number wasn’t provided.

“I’m devastated for these players. These student-athletes have done a wonderful job all year of making sacrifices to get to this point of the year,” Michigan coach Mel Pearson said. “It’s unfortunate. I don’t completely understand the final decision but I have to respect it.

“They’ve given so much and to get this opportunity taken away from them, it’s hard to swallow. I know it’s just a game, but it’s extremely important to these young men. It’s two years in a row now we’ve been denied an opportunity to compete in the national championship. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”

Notre Dame withdrew from the tournament due to COVID-19 protocols on Thursday. They were scheduled to meet Boston College in the East Regional semifinal in Albany, N.Y.

The national semifinals of the Frozen Four are scheduled for April 8 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, with the national championship game to be played April 10.

–Field Level Media