“CAWLDIGE HAWKEY” – the Men’s Frozen Four is Set

NCAA.com

College basketball holds the main light for the month of March but comparatively, the NCAA hockey tournament occurs simultaneously, with a much shorter layout.

If you are unfamiliar, the NCAA hockey tournament looks like this:

THE LAYOUT

Throughout the season, USA Today runs the men’s college hockey polls, ranking the top 20 teams as the Associated Press does with the top 25 in college basketball and football.

At the end of the season, teams go to battle in conference tournaments. The winners receive an automatic bid to the regionals. This year was Michigan State (Big Ten), Denver (NCHC), RIT (Atlantic), Cornell (Ivy), and Boston College (Hockey East).

Once the tournaments conclude, the top 16 teams are arranged into four – four team regionals hosted by the school closest to that rink, whether in the tournament or not.

These regionals are the same regions annually with a different host city each year.

This year’s regionals were hosted in these arenas in these cities – (top left) East Regional – Amica Mutual Pavilion (Providence RI), (bottom left) Midwest Regional – Centene Community Ice Center (St. Louis, MO), (top right) Northeast Regional – MassMutual Center (Springfield, MA) and (bottom right) West Regional – Denny Sanford Premier Center (Sioux Falls, ID).

The rest is pretty self-explanatory.

The teams in those regionals then go to work against one another. Seeded one through four, the highest seed plays the lowest and the two middle seeds face off. The winners square off, and the winning team punches their ticket to the big show – the Men’s Frozen Four this year at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

HOW THIS YEAR PLAYED OUT

Northeast Regional

3/29 – (1) Boston College vs (4) Michigan Tech – 6-1 BC
3/29 – (2) Wisconsin vs (3) Quinnipiac – 3-2 OT QU
3/31 – (1) Boston College vs (3) Quinnipiac – 5-4 OT BC

West Regional

3/28 – (1) Boston University vs (4) RIT – 6-3 BU
3/28 – (2) Minnesota vs (3) Omaha – 3-2 MINN
3/30 – (1) Boston University vs (2) Minnesota – 6-3 BU

Northeast Regional

3/28 – (1) Denver vs (4) Massachusetts – 2-1 2OT DU
3/28 – (2) Maine vs (3) Cornell – 3-1 CORNELL
3/30 – (1) Denver vs (3) Cornell – 2-1 DU

Midwest Regional

3/29 – (1) Michigan St. vs (4) Western Michigan – 5-4 OT MSU
3/29 – (2) North Dakota vs (3) Michigan – 4-3 UofM
3/31 – (1) Michigan St. vs (3) Michigan – 5-2 UofM

TOP NHL PROSPECTS IN FROZEN FOUR

Perennially, when the NHL Draft circles around, NHL teams have their pick of prospects from college, major junior leagues across Canada, the Western and Ontario hockey leagues as well as the United States Hockey League.

Some NHL teams have their top players playing across the four rosters in the final games of the NCAA men’s hockey season.

The list started at 10 overall prospects and has dwindled down to just five.

These names include Michigan forwards Rutger McGroarty (Winnipeg Jets) and Frank Nazar (Chicago Blackhawks), Boston University forward Ryan Greene (Chicago Blackhawks) and defenceman Lane Hutson (Montréal Canadiens) and Boston College forward Cutter Gauthier (Anaheim Ducks).

Denver does not have any prospects on the EliteProspects.com top 100.

The Frozen Four kicks off on April 11th on ESPN 2. See below for the full schedule.

UPCOMING: FROZEN FOUR MATCHUPS

W1 Boston University vs NE1 Denver – 4/11 @ 5:00 PM EST – ESPN2 and Westwood One

E1 Boston College vs MW3 Michigan – 4/11 @ 8:30 PM EST – ESPN2 and Westwood One

TBD vs TBD – Men’s Hockey National Championship – 4/13 @ 6:00 PM EST – ESPN2 and Westwood One

James Mackey

Credentialed Writer Covering the Arizona Coyotes

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