NCHC Frozen Faceoff preview
Where: Xcel Energy Center
TV: CBS Sports Network
No. 4 seed North Dakota vs. No. 1 St. Cloud State, 4 p.m.
Records: North Dakota 16-12-10, 10-10-6 NCHC; St. Cloud State 24-7-6, 18-5-4
Season series: St. Cloud State won 2-0-2
PairWise Rating: North Dakota is No. 14, St. Cloud State is No. 1
Fighting Hawks at a glance: North Dakota is sitting on the NCAA tournament bubble, likely needing at least one win to advance and host the West Regional in Sioux Falls. The Fighting Hawks swept Nebraska Omaha last week to advance to St. Paul, ending a four-game winless stretch. … Junior D Christian Wolanin leads UND with 34 points (12 goals, 22 assists) and is strong on the power play with eight goals and 11 assists. Junior F’s Shane Gersich (12-16—28) and Nick Jones (14-13—27) and sophomore D Colton Poolman (7-20—27) round out the top four in scoring. … Senior G Cam Johnson is 11-8-7 with a 2.16 goals-against average and .907 save percentage.
Huskies at a glance: St. Cloud State needed three games and a goal by junior F Mikey Eyssimont 8:14 into overtime to eliminate Miami (Ohio) in the quarterfinals and advance to the Frozen Faceoff. … Junior F Robby Jackson (15-27--42) leads a balanced offense that ranks second nationally (3.76 goals per game) and has four players with 30 or more points and eight with 20 or more. Eyssimont (17-22—39) was the star of the quarterfinal series with three goals and two assists. Defenseman and captain Jimmy Schuldt (10-28—38) is a team-best plus-19. The junior from Minnetonka and Hobey Baker Award finalist is a free agent and has garnered attention from NHL teams, including the Wild. … Freshman G David Hrenak (13-4-2, 2.02 GAA, .923 save percentage) has started the past eight games, going 5-1-2. He is one of 10 semifinalists for the Richter Award, given to the nation’s top goalie.
No. 3 Minnesota Duluth vs. No. 2 Denver, 7:30 p.m.
Records: Minnesota Duluth 21-14-3, 15-11 NCHC; Denver 20-9-8, 14-7-6
Season series: Denver won 4-0
PairWise Rating: Minnesota Duluth is No. 8, Denver is No. 5
Bulldogs at glance: Minnesota Duluth, which lost 3-2 to Denver in last year’s NCAA championship game, is the reigning Frozen Faceoff champion. To repeat, the Bulldogs will have to first get past the Pioneers, who have won the past five in the series, all by one goal. … Minnesota Duluth swept Western Michigan to advance and has won seven of its past eight. The Bulldogs have a balanced lineup, led by freshman D Scott Perunovich (10-24—34), junior F Peter Krieger (11-19—30) and sophomore F Riley Tufte (16-12—28). … Sophomore Hunter Shepard (12-12-1, 1.92, .927) is a Richter Award semifinalist.
Pioneers at a glance: Denver survived a three-game series against rival Colorado College to advance to the Frozen Faceoff. The Pioneers will bring a high-powered offense, led by sophomore Henrik Borgstrom (fifth nationally with 49 points on 21 goals and 28 assists, and a Hobey Baker finalist) and juniors Troy Terry (13-30—43) and Dylan Gambrell (12-29—41). … Senior goalie Tanner Jaillet (19-8-7, 1.90, .927) is the reigning Richter Award winner and is a semifinalist again. He has played in the past two NCAA Frozen Fours, going 2-1.
Third place: Semifinal losers, 3:30 p.m.
Championship: Semifinal winners, 7:30 p.m.