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1981 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament

The 1981 NCAA Men's Division I Ice Hockey Tournament was the culmination of the 1980–81 NCAA Division I men's ice hockey season, the 34th such tournament in NCAA history. It was held between March 19 and 27, 1981, and concluded with Wisconsin defeating Minnesota 6-3. All Quarterfinals matchups were held at home team venues while all succeeding games were played at the Duluth Arena in Duluth, Minnesota.

1981 NCAA Men's Division I
Ice Hockey Tournament
Finals site
ChampionsWisconsin Badgers (3rd title)
Runner-upMinnesota Golden Gophers (8th title game)
Winning coachBob Johnson (3rd title)
MOPMarc Behrend Wisconsin

1981 was the first year that the tournament guaranteed 8 teams to be selected for the championship as opposed the policy put in place in 1977 that gave the selection committee the ability to choose up to 4 additional teams at its discretion (two was the maximum the committee ever choose).


Qualifying teams[1]Edit

The NCAA permitted 8 teams to qualify for the tournament, four from each region (East and West). From the east the ECAC tournament champion and the regular season champions from the two ECAC divisions that did not contain the ECAC champion received automatic bids into the tournament with a fourth at-large bid going to one eastern team. From the west the two WCHA tournament co-champions and the CCHA tournament champion received automatic bids with a fourth at-large bid going to one western team.

East West
Seed School Conference Record Berth type Appearance Last bid Seed School Conference Record Berth type Appearance Last bid
1 Clarkson ECAC Hockey 26–6–3 Division champion 7th 1970 1 Minnesota WCHA 30–11–0 Tournament co-champion 10th 1980
2 Providence ECAC Hockey 17–13–1 Tournament champion 3rd 1978 2 Northern Michigan CCHA 26–11–3 Tournament champion 2nd 1980
3 Cornell ECAC Hockey 18–10–1 Division champion 8th 1980 3 Michigan Tech WCHA 26–13–1 Tournament co-champion 10th 1976
4 Colgate ECAC Hockey 21–10–2 At-large bid 1st Never 4 Wisconsin WCHA 24–14–0 At-large bid 6th 1978


The tournament featured three rounds of play. The two odd-number ranked teams from one region were placed into a bracket with the two even-number ranked teams of the other region. The teams were then seeded according to their ranking. In the Quarterfinals the first and fourth seeds and the second and third seeds played two-game aggregate series to determine which school advanced to the Semifinals. Beginning with the Semifinals all games were played at the Duluth Arena and all series became Single-game eliminations. The winning teams in the semifinals advanced to the National Championship Game with the losers playing in a Third Place game.

Tournament Bracket[2]Edit

March 19–21
March 25–26
National Championship
March 27
E1 Clarkson 2 6 8  
W4 Wisconsin 3 6 9  
  W4 Wisconsin 5  
  W2 Northern Michigan 1  
W2 Northern Michigan 7 3 10
E3 Cornell 3 4 7  
  W4 Wisconsin 6
  W1 Minnesota 3
W1 Minnesota 9 5 14  
E4 Colgate 4 4 8  
  W1 Minnesota 7 Third Place Game
  W3 Michigan Tech 2  
E2 Providence 3 5 8 W2 Northern Michigan 2
W3 Michigan Tech 7 6 13   W3 Michigan Tech 5

Note: * denotes overtime period(s)


(E1) Clarkson vs. (W4) WisconsinEdit

Wisconsin won series 9–8

(E2) Providence vs. (W3) Michigan TechEdit

Michigan Tech won series 13–8

(W1) Minnesota vs. (E4) ColgateEdit

Minnesota won series 14–8

(W2) Northern Michigan vs. (E3) CornellEdit

Northern Michigan won series 10–7


(W1) Minnesota vs. (W3) Michigan TechEdit

(W2) Northern Michigan vs. (W4) WisconsinEdit

Third Place GameEdit

(W2) Northern Michigan vs. (W3) Michigan TechEdit

National ChampionshipEdit

(W1) Minnesota vs. (W4) WisconsinEdit

Scoring summary
Period Team Goal Assist(s) Time Score
1st WIS Dan Gorowsky Newberry and Vincent 9:24 1–0 WIS
WIS John NewberryPP Vincent and Welsh 14:49 2–0 WIS
WIS Ed Lebler Ethier 19:49 3–0 WIS
2nd WIS Ted PearsonGW Lebler and Newberry 29:23 4–0 WIS
MIN Butsy Erickson Ulseth and Knoke 32:37 4–1 WIS
WIS John NewberryPP S. Lecy and Vincent 34:27 5–1 WIS
3rd MIN Mike KnokePP Jensen and A. Broten 40:10 5–2 WIS
MIN Butsy EricksonPP Hartzell and A. Broten 56:09 5–3 WIS
WIS Ed LeblerEN Driver 58:40 6–3 WIS
Penalty summary
Period Team Player Penalty Time PIM
1st WIS John Newberry Roughing 0:28 2:00
MIN Dave Jensen Roughing 0:28 2:00
WIS Bruce Driver Hooking 4:14 2:00
WIS Pat Ethier Interference 9:35 2:00
WIS Brian Mullen Charging 10:11 2:00
MIN Neal Broten Cross–Checking 10:11 2:00
WIS Jay McFarlane Charging 11:58 2:00
MIN Paul Butters Interference 14:15 2:00
2nd WIS Theran Welsh Holding 25:48 2:00
WIS Pete Johnson Hooking 30:31 2:00
MIN Scott Bjugstad High Sticking 32:51 2:00
MIN Mike Meadows Roughing 35:28 2:00
MIN Bob Bergloff Roughing 36:00 2:00
WIS Pat Ethier Elbowing 38:15 2:00
3rd WIS Ted Pearson Hooking 45:21 2:00
WIS Todd Lecy Interference 55:06 2:00

All-Tournament Team[4]Edit

* Most Outstanding Player(s)[5]


  1. ^ "NCAA Division 1 Tournament". College Hockey Historical Archives. Archived from the original on 2013-06-21. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
  2. ^ "NCAA Tournament". College Hockey Historical Archives. Retrieved May 19, 2013.
  3. ^ "1981 Championship Boxscore" (PDF). Wisconsin Badgers. Retrieved 2018-04-19.
  4. ^ "NCAA Frozen Four Records" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-06-22. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
  5. ^ "NCAA Division I Awards". College Hockey Historical Archives. Retrieved 2013-07-17.