Minnesota Duluth vs. Ohio State 5 p.m., ESPN2
Records: Minnesota Duluth 23-16-3, Ohio State 26-9-5
Route to St. Paul: Minn. Duluth defeated Minn. St. Mankato 3-2 in OT and Air Force 2-1 to win the West Regional. Ohio St. defeated Princeton 4-2 and Denver 5-1 to win the Midwest Regional.
Last meeting: UMD defeated OSU 3-2 in overtime in the 2017 West Regional semifinals.
Series record: OSU leads 4-3-1.
Bulldogs at a glance: Minnesota Duluth earned the last at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and has taken full advantage by winning a pair of one-goal games in the West Regional. The Bulldogs, who lost 3-2 to Denver in last year’s NCAA title game, started the season 1-2-2 and were 7-9-2 in early December before going on their current 9-3 run. Minnesota Duluth, which lost 10 players off last year’s team to graduation or the pro ranks, relies on a defensive corps that has five freshmen in the three pairings. Leading those freshmen is Scott Perunovich, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer with 36 points on 11 goals and 25 assists. The line of sophomore Joey Anderson (11-16—27), junior Peter Krieger (11-19—30) and sophomore Riley Tufte (16-13—29) has combined for 86 points. Senior captain Karson Kuhlman (12-5—17) was the most outstanding player in the West Regional. Goalie Hunter Shepard (23-14-1, 1.95 goals-against average, .924 save percentage) seized the job after Hunter Miska left after one season to turn pro.
Key stats for the Bulldogs: UMD has played nine consecutive one-goal games in the NCAA tournament, winning six of them. They have won seven consecutive overtime games in NCAA play, dating to 1985.
Buckeyes at a glance: Ohio State might have the most impressive result in the NCAA tournament, its 5-1 rout of defending national champion Denver in the Midwest Regional final. The Buckeyes have won seven of their past eight games; their only loss was to Notre Dame in overtime in the Big Ten championship game. Ohio State gets the bulk of its offensive production from sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski (16-30—46) and junior forward Mason Jobst (21-22—43), but will be missing senior forward Matthew Weis (12-25—37) because of an upper-body injury. Junior goalie Sean Romeo (22-9-5, 2.06, .927) was the most outstanding player in the Midwest Regional. The transfer from Maine is a big reason why the Buckeyes have the nation’s best penalty kill (89.3 percent).
Key stats for the Buckeyes: Ohio State is 19-0-3 when scoring first and has outscored opponents 60-30 in the third period.