College Hockey’s Frozen Four to Begin Thursday

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Posted Tue, Apr 12, 2011

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The NCAA’s field of 59 hockey teams has been narrowed down to the last four who will fight for the championship starting Thursday afternoon at the Xcel Energy Center.

Notre Dame, Minnesota-Duluth, North Dakota and Michigan will face off this weekend as the NCAA will conclude its’ hockey season that started in early October. The four teams won their each of their respective regional tournaments the weekend of March 31.

The first game will match the freshman-laden Notre Dame Fighting Irish against the “blonde headed” Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs.

Notre Dame got to the Frozen Four by beating both Merrimack and New Hampshire. They have a total of 12 freshmen. However, the Irish are anything but inexperienced, they have four seniors who earned a trip to the Frozen Four in 2008, and a coach in Jeff Jackson, who will at the helm of his 6th Frozen Four team. Jackson says that his team is ready, and has done a good job of making the large freshmen class an important part of the team.

“The chemistry of the group came together in a very positive way. Joe Lavin and Ryan Guentzel did a good job of incorporating our freshman,” said Jackson during a media day question session.

The de-facto Minnesota representatives got to the semifinal by beating Union 2-0, and winning 5-3 against Yale. The Bulldogs have promoted a “team-first” atmosphere, and it shows. The team has been sporting blond-dyed hair since the WCHA Final Five at the end of March. The Bulldogs come to the Frozen Four after having a strong second-half of the season.

The second game will pit two of the college hockey powerhouses against each other. Michigan and North Dakota have a combined 16 national titles, while Notre Dame and Minnesota-Duluth have zero.

The Wolverines got to the frozen four by a couple of one-goal victories against Nebraska-Omaha and Colorado College. Michigan’s last Frozen Four appearance in Denver in 2008 saw them lose to potential opponent, Notre Dame in overtime. The seniors who were on that 2008 team have found motivation in their freshman year disappointment, and say that they have a better, more complete team this year.

“We don’t have that one player who is dominant, or one line that is the dominant line. We’re just more of a team this year,” said Michigan coach, Red Berenson.

The Fighting Sioux are the favorites to win it all, but expect a challenge from Michigan. North Dakota beat Rensselaer and Denver in the Midwest Regional scoring 12 goals in two games. Despite being the overall 2 seed in the tournament, and a 1 seed in their regional, North Dakota knows that Michigan is a solid team and has won big games this year.

“They’re a complete hockey team that’s playing very well… We’re going to have to be at our best from the drop of the puck,” said Sioux coach, Dave Hakstol.

The semi-final games are Thursday afternoon at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. E.T., with the championship game scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. E.T.

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3 Responses to “College Hockey’s Frozen Four to Begin Thursday”

  1. Leah Says:

    I don’t know anything about hockey but good job! Well informed.

    Reply

  2. Corey Ward Says:

    Nice story, good hockey coverage. I like that you gave a recap of each teams journey to the frozen four.

    Reply

  3. Mark Braley Says:

    Good story, too bad DU couldn’t hang on until the frozen four

    Reply

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