Home US SportsNHL 2022 Frozen Four — NCAA men’s hockey tournament schedule, storylines, players to watch

2022 Frozen Four — NCAA men’s hockey tournament schedule, storylines, players to watch


The NCAA men’s hockey tournament is here, with a 16-team field battling by the regionals for a berth within the Frozen 4, to be held April 7 and 9 at TD Backyard in Boston.

The 4 prime seeds are Michigan (No. 1 within the Allentown, Pennsylvania area), Minnesota State (Albany, New York), Denver (Loveland, Colorado) and Western Michigan (Worcester, Massachusetts).

Regional play begins March 24 and 25, with regional finals scheduled for March 26 and 27. All video games will likely be broadcast on ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPNews and will likely be out there for streaming on the ESPN app.

To get you prepared for all of the motion, we have the total schedule of video games, a roundtable with faculty hockey analysts Dave Starman and Sean Ritchlin sharing their perception on the largest storylines, matchups and gamers, and a take a look at all 16 groups within the subject.

Soar to: Roundtable | Teams at a glance


All occasions Jap; all video games additionally out there on ESPN app

Albany (N.Y.) regional

March 24
No. 1 Minnesota State vs. No. 4 Harvard, midday, ESPNU
No. 2 North Dakota vs. No. 3 Notre Dame, 6 p.m., ESPNU

March 26
Regional last, 4 p.m. or 6:30 p.m., ESPNU

Loveland (Colo.) regional

March 24
No. 2 Minnesota Duluth vs. No. 3 Michigan Tech, 3 p.m., ESPNU
No. 1 Denver vs. No. 4 UMass Lowell, 9 p.m., ESPNU

March 26
Regional last, 4 p.m. or 6:30 p.m., ESPNU

Allentown (Penn.) regional

March 25
No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 4 American Worldwide, 3 p.m., ESPNU
No. 2 Quinnipiac vs. No. 3 St. Cloud State, 8 p.m., ESPNews

March 27
Regional last, 4 p.m. or 6:30 p.m., ESPN2

Worcester (Mass.) regional

March 25
No. 1 Western Michigan vs. No. 4 Northeastern, midday, ESPNU
No. 2 Minnesota vs. No. 3 UMass, 6 p.m., ESPNU

March 27
Regional last, 4 p.m. or 6:30 p.m., ESPN2

Frozen 4 at TD Backyard, Boston

April 7
Nationwide semifinals, 5 p.m. and eight:30 p.m., ESPN2

April 9
Nationwide championship sport, 8 p.m., ESPN2


What are the largest storylines coming into the match?

Dave Starman: The NCHC has 5 groups within the subject, all are within the prime 9 within the PairWise rankings. That league has been a beast this 12 months and within the second half of the season, no groups have performed a more durable power of schedule than these groups. That being stated, Minnesota is loaded, Michigan is loaded, and the query is who has the higher staff. I believe it’s Minnesota; the most-skilled groups normally by no means win this factor. UMass is popping out of a weaker Hockey East than traditional. I believe they may rise to the problem, however they’re little skinny in some key areas. And the quantity of high quality defensemen on this match is spectacular.

Sean Ritchlin: The West has been dominating all 12 months. With the NCHC getting 5 groups, the Huge Ten getting three and the CCHA two, it appears to be like like a 12 months when the Frozen 4 winner comes from the West. Might this be the 12 months the Huge Ten breaks by and wins a title? Michigan and Minnesota are enjoyable to observe, however these groups are youthful and lots of the gamers will likely be taking part in within the NCAA tourney for the primary time.

What gamers are you most wanting ahead to watching?

Starman: If North Dakota’s Jake Sanderson will get wholesome, he is one to observe for positive. Owen Energy of Michigan is unreal, however Sanderson is simply pretty much as good and his sport climbed this season.

The Michigan quartet of Kent Johnson, Energy, Matty Beniers and Mackie Samoskevich is all the time enjoyable to observe. So is Ben Meyers of Minnesota. For goaltenders, Quinnipiac freshman Yaniv Perets has been spectacular and Dryden McKay of Minnesota State is a superb story.

Ritchlin: Luke Hughes has actually developed right into a dominant pressure for Michigan as a freshman. Having Energy go to the Olympics gave him a chance to be the No. 1 man and he by no means seemed again. He has elite deception and the flexibility to create offense from anyplace on the ice. The Gophers have pretty much as good a defensive six as anybody within the nation: Jackson LaCombe and Brock Faber headline the crew.

Minnesota Duluth’s Noah Cates is a superb senior chief and Denver’s Bobby Brink has piled up a ton of assists. Western Michigan’s Ethen Frank can pile pucks within the web and the Broncos will want him to get his confidence early.

Bobby Trivigno of UMass performs the sport the best method and gives that mixture of management and talent groups have to win a tourney. If the Minutemen are going to go back-to-back, he must be the most effective participant within the tourney.

At Minnesota State, Julian Napravnik and Nathan Smith have been within the tourney a number of occasions and produce management and confidence. This can be a staff constructed to win a title, with an older, extra skilled crew and probably the most effective goalie within the nation in Dryden McKay.

What first-round sport and/or second-round matchup is probably the most intriguing?

Starman: An attention-grabbing matchup to me is St. Cloud’s offense in opposition to Quinnipiac’s protection. Quinnipiac performs protection very well. They defend onerous, they get in place, they take away the center very effectively, they pack it in once they must. Now do not get fooled by St. Cloud’s report, they play within the NCHC, the place mainly you are taking part in a top-15 staff each week. They will fly, they go three traces deep, they have 4 defensemen who can go. It will likely be attention-grabbing to see if Quinnipiac can decelerate what has turn out to be an excellent possession, high-flying, free-wheeling offense that performs with no concern in St. Cloud.

Ritchlin: UMass, the defending champs, in opposition to Minnesota is a superb check for each groups. The Gophers are very deep and play a stable 200-foot sport. UMass has continued to enhance all season and seems wholesome and able to make a run for a 3rd straight Frozen 4. For a second-round sport, the excitement can be enormous for a Minnesota Duluth-Denver sport in Loveland. If that occurs, it must be a traditional.

What groups do you assume have a shot at profitable all of it?

Starman: My mentor, John Davidson, all the time stated do not make predictions, they only piss coaches off that you need to work with. I’ll say that I believe there are seven groups that might win it and that Denver is totally loaded and, to me, is the most effective staff heading into this. They’ve that mixture of sufficient good gamers and depth, and are taking part in with a method that may give opponents matches. There is not any ego in that group.

Ritchlin: This match is huge open with so many unknowns. There are in all probability 10 groups which have a shot to win it, however I am going to slim it a bit to the 4 No. 1 seeds — Michigan, Minnesota State, Western Michigan and Denver — plus Minnesota Duluth and Minnesota.

Groups at a look

Michigan (29-9-1)

How did they get right here: Huge Ten champ
Seed: No. 1 in Allentown

With a roster that features 4 of the highest 5 picks within the 2021 NHL draft, the Wolverines lead the nation in star energy. In consequence, they’ve had gamers miss time to play within the Olympics and the World Juniors however nonetheless completed second within the Huge Ten behind Minnesota, then avenged 4 regular-season losses to Notre Dame by beating the Irish within the match semifinals and topping the Gophers within the title sport.

That is Michigan’s thirty ninth NCAA look, tied with Minnesota for probably the most of all time. The Wolverines have been to the Frozen 4 25 occasions and gained 9 nationwide championships, the final coming in 1998.

Quinnipiac (31-6-3)

How did they get right here: At-large berth
Seed: No. 2 in Allentown

Quinnipiac’s capacity to maintain opposing groups off the scoreboard is nearly onerous to know, however the Bobcats are also nice at placing the puck on web. (They outshot Harvard 49-17 within the loss to Harvard within the ECAC last.) The Bobcats have allowed simply 42 targets in 40 video games, with freshman Yaniv Perets posting a 0.97 GAA and 11 shutouts in 28 video games.

That is Quinnipiac’s eighth NCAA look and seventh within the final 9 tournaments. The Bobcats have made the Frozen 4 twice; they had been nationwide runners-up in 2013 and 2016.

St. Cloud State (18-14-4)

How did they get right here: At-large berth
Seed: No. 3 in Allentown

St. Cloud has simply 4 regulation wins in its final 16 video games, together with a sweep by the hands of Minnesota Duluth within the NCHC quarterfinals. Even so, the defending nationwide runner-up can’t be taken evenly given the competitors degree within the NCHC and the staff’s expertise in massive video games. Plus, the Huskies have the most effective energy play within the nation (.315 success charge).

That is St. Cloud State’s fifteenth NCAA look since 2000. The Huskies have made the Frozen 4 twice (2013, 2021).

AIC (22-12-3)

How did they get right here: Atlantic champ
Seed: No. 4 in Allentown

AIC is again within the NCAA subject after steamrolling Air Power 7-0 within the Atlantic championship sport. The Yellow Jackets began the season 3-9, however have been on a tear since then and are averaging 5.4 targets of their final 5 video games.

That is AIC’s third straight NCAA look. Though the Yellow Jackets have been the No. 16 total seed every time, they pulled off an enormous upset by beating St. Cloud State 2-1 in 2019.

Minnesota State (35-5-0)

How did they get right here: CCHA champ
Seed: No. 1 in Albany

The Mavericks capped a dominant season by beating Bemidji State to win the CCHA match Saturday night time. They lead the nation in objective differential by a mile, averaging almost three targets a sport greater than their opponents, as they’re No. 1 in targets scored (165) and second in targets allowed (51).

Minnesota State has made 4 straight NCAA tournaments and 7 of the final 9. The Mavericks made the Frozen 4 for the primary time final 12 months, shedding to St. Cloud State within the semifinals.

North Dakota (24-13-1)

How did they get right here: At-large berth
Seed: No. 2 in Albany

North Dakota had gained 9 of 10 earlier than shedding to Western Michigan within the NCHC semifinals and swept weekend collection from each Western Michigan and Minnesota Duluth in February. The massive concern with North Dakota is well being, significantly for Jake Sanderson, who is among the finest defensemen within the nation however whose standing is unclear. Even so, the Preventing Hawks had been 11-3 with out Sanderson this season.

That is North Dakota’s thirty fourth NCAA look; the Preventing Hawks have missed out solely 3 times since 1997. North Dakota has been within the Frozen 4 22 occasions and gained eight nationwide championships, most not too long ago in 2016.

Notre Dame (27-11-0)

How did they get right here: At-large berth
Seed: No. 3 in Albany

The Irish misplaced to Michigan within the Huge Ten semis, however had gained 13 of 16 within the second half of the common season, together with eight of their final 9, a stretch that included a win over Minnesota and a weekend sweep of Michigan. Notre Dame is a balanced staff, rating eleventh in targets scored per sport and sixth in targets in opposition to common.

That is Notre Dame’s sixth consecutive NCAA look and thirteenth total. The Irish have made the Frozen 4 4 occasions (2008, 2011, 2017, 2018).

Harvard (21-10-3)

How did they get right here: ECAC champ
Seed: No. 4 in Albany

Harvard is on fairly a run. The Crimson scored three targets with an additional attacker within the final 3:42 of regulation in a 4-3 additional time win in opposition to RPI within the ECAC quarterfinals, then beat Quinnipiac in OT within the title sport regardless of being outshot 49-17. It is all a part of a 13-3-1 spurt and an inconceivable NCAA look. Harvard have to be taken severely, although, as it’s simply exterior the highest 10 nationally in each scoring offense and protection.

That is Harvard’s twenty sixth NCAA look, and its fifth in six alternatives. (The Ivy League did not play hockey in 2021.) The Crimson have been to the Frozen 4 13 occasions and gained one nationwide championship (1989).

Western Michigan (25-11-1)

How did they get right here: At-large berth
Seed: No. 1 in Worcester

After a February skid, the high-scoring Broncos had been rolling with 21 targets over 5 straight wins earlier than getting blanked by Minnesota Duluth within the NCHC title sport. For the season, Western Michigan is fourth within the nation with 3.7 targets per sport, with Ethen Frank (26) main the best way.

That is Western Michigan’s seventh NCAA look and its first since 2017. The Broncos are searching for their first NCAA match win.

Minnesota (24-12-0)

How did they get right here: At-large berth
Seed: No. 2 in Worcester

The Gophers rode an undefeated February to the Huge Ten regular-season title earlier than falling to Michigan 4-3 within the championship sport. Minnesota ranks within the prime 10 nationally in each targets per sport (3.6) and targets allowed per sport (2.3).

That is Minnesota’s thirty ninth NCAA match look, tied with Michigan for probably the most of all time. The Gophers have been to the Frozen 4 21 occasions and gained 5 nationwide championships, the final coming in 2003.

UMass (22-12-2)

How did they get right here: Hockey East champ
Seed: No. 3 in Worcester

The defending nationwide champs efficiently defended their Hockey East crown by beating UConn 2-1 in additional time within the title sport. Convention participant of the 12 months Bobby Trivigno, fourth nationally with 48 factors, had three targets and two assists in three match video games. The Minutemen have transformed 9 of their final 18 power-play probabilities.

That is the fourth NCAA look for UMass and its third in a row. The Minutemen have been to the final two Frozen Fours, profitable the title final 12 months and ending as nationwide runner-up in 2019. (The 2020 match was canceled as a result of pandemic.)

Northeastern (25-12-1)

How did they get right here: At-large berth
Seed: No. 4 in Worcester

Northeastern got here on robust late within the season to assert the Hockey East regular-season crown earlier than shedding to UConn within the match semifinals. Goalie Devon Levi, whose 1.52 GAA is third within the nation, makes the Huskies harmful.

That is Northeastern’s eighth NCAA look and its third in 4 tournaments. The Huskies wish to transfer previous the primary spherical for the primary time since 1982, once they made their lone Frozen 4 look, shedding within the semifinals.

Denver (27-9-1)

How did they get right here: At-large berth
Seed: No. 1 in Loveland

One of the best staff in the most effective league, Denver gained the regular-season title within the NCHC, which has 5 of the highest 10 groups within the PairWise rankings, earlier than shedding to Minnesota Duluth within the convention semifinals. The Pioneers have scored 5 or extra targets 20 occasions this season and are No. 1 in targets per sport (4.38). Junior Bobby Brink is the nation’s main scorer (14 targets, 41 assists).

That is Denver’s thirty first NCAA look; the Pioneers had a streak of 12 straight appearances snapped final 12 months. They’ve been to the Frozen 4 16 occasions, profitable eight nationwide championships, most not too long ago in 2017.

Minnesota Duluth (21-15-4)

How did they get right here: NCHC champ
Seed: No. 2 in Loveland

It appears to be like like anyone might have woken a sleeping canine. After going 6-9-3 within the second half of the common season, the Bulldogs blitzed by the NCHC match as Ryan Fanti turned in back-to-back shutouts over prime seed Denver and No. 3 Western Michigan this previous weekend on the Xcel Heart.

Minnesota Duluth, which has made it to the final 4 Frozen Fours, is making its seventh consecutive NCAA look and fifteenth total. The Bulldogs have gained three nationwide championships, together with back-to-back titles in 2018 and ’19.

Michigan Tech (21-12-3)

How did they get right here: At-large berth
Seed: No. 3 in Loveland

Michigan Tech was rolling within the second half of the season, profitable 11 of 12 earlier than dropping a pair of one-goal video games to top-ranked Minnesota State. After beating Ferris State within the CCHA quarterfinals, the Huskies had been upset by Bemidji State 5-2 within the semis. Tech is fourth within the nation in scoring protection, permitting 2.0 targets per sport.

That is Michigan Tech’s fourth NCAA look since 2015 and 14th total, with 10 coming from 1956-1981.

UMass Lowell (21-10-3)

How did they get right here: At-large berth
Seed: No. 4 in Loveland

A bodily, defensive-minded staff (2.09 targets allowed per sport, fifth within the nation), the River Hawks scored seven targets within the Hockey East quarterfinals in opposition to Merrimack earlier than shedding to UMass within the semis.

That is UMass Lowell’s ninth NCAA look and its first since 2017. The River Hawks have misplaced within the first spherical solely as soon as (1988), however have made the Frozen 4 solely as soon as, shedding within the semifinals in 2013.

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