NCHC Frozen Faceoff preview

  • Updated: March 20, 2014 - 9:38 PM

Only North Dakota avoided an upset in the first round of the NCHC playoffs.

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Western Michigan coach Andy Murray formerly coached the Los Angeles Kings.

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When the National Collegiate Hockey Conference regular season ended, it looked as if the first-year league’s Frozen Faceoff would be a hot ticket.

St. Cloud State won the league title, followed by North Dakota, Omaha and Minnesota Duluth — the four schools closest to Minneapolis, and four teams with fans who would travel well.

But only North Dakota survived the first round of the playoffs to advance to a semifinal at Target Center on Friday against last-place Miami (Ohio), which shocked St. Cloud State with a two-game sweep last weekend.

Denver and Western Michigan meet in Friday’s afternoon semifinal.

North Dakota has made 11 consecutive NCAA tournaments but is on the bubble. The other three teams must win the Frozen Faceoff to earn the conference’s automatic berth.

NCHC Frozen Faceoff

At Target Center

Friday’s games

Denver vs. Western Michigan, 4:08 p.m.

Miami (Ohio) vs. North Dakota, 7:38 p.m.

Saturday’s games

Third place, 3:38 p.m.

Championship, 7:38 p.m.

TV: Semifinals and final on CBS Sports Network

Tickets: Single-session tickets are $75 or $40 and are available at Target Center.

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