NCAA FROZEN FOUR

Thursday semifinals, Saturday championship game in Buffalo, N.Y. • all games on ESPN2

Providence vs. Minnesota Duluth, 4 p.m.

UMD two wins from a repeat

Records: Providence 24-11-6, UMD 27-11-2

How they got here: Providence defeated Minnesota State Mankato 6-3 and Cornell 4-0 to win the East Region; UMD defeated Bowling Green 2-1 (OT) and Quinnipiac 3-1 to win the Midwest Region.

Friars at a glance: Providence features a clutch scorer in forward Josh Wilkins (16-29-45), who has seven power-play goals, plus Kasper Bjorkqvist (17-13-30) and Scott Conway (15-14-29). Goalie Hayden Hawkey is 24-11-5 with a 1.86 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.

Bulldogs at a glance: UMD’s success is the product of balanced scoring and stingy defense. Seven Bulldogs have 20 or more points, led by forwards Parker Mackay (15-15-30) and Justin Richards (10-19-29) and defenseman Scott Perunovich (3-26-29). Goalie Hunter Shepard led the Bulldogs to the 2018 NCAA title and hasn’t missed a beat this season, going 27-11-2 with a 1.82 GAA and .920 save percentage.

The Friars win if: … they get their power play going. Providence rallied from a 3-0 deficit against the Mavericks in the region opener by scoring four power-play goals.

The Bulldogs win if: … they play their usual, close-to-the-vest puck possession game and let Shepard take care of things. UMD thrives in tight, low-scoring games, as its six-game NCAA winning streak bears out.

Denver vs. Massachusetts, 7:30 p.m.

Hot freshman goalies to duel

Records: Denver 24-11-5, Massachusetts 30-9

How they got here: Denver defeated Ohio State 2-0 and American International 3-0 to win the West Region; UMass defeated Harvard 4-0 and Notre Dame 4-0 to win the Northeast Region.

Pioneers at a glance: Denver is in the Frozen Four for the third time in four years, this time under first-year coach David Carle. The Pioneers rank only 28th nationally at 2.8 goals per game. Forward Jarid Lukosevicius is the Pioneers’ top-goal scorer with 19. Freshman Filip Larsson (14-5-2, 1.86 GAA, .936 save percentage) stopped 50 shots in two region starts.

Minutemen at a glance: UMass is making its first Frozen Four trip and brings star power in sophomore defenseman Cale Makar. The No. 4 overall draft pick by the Colorado Avalanche in 2017, Makar is the nation’s third-leading scorer with 48 points on 16 goals and 32 assists. Freshman goalie Filip Lindberg (10-3, 1.42 GAA, .939 save percentage) made 30 saves in two region shutouts.

The Pioneers win if: … they can dictate the pace. Denver likes to slow things down.

The Minutemen win if: … the NHL-ready Makar imposes his will on an up-tempo game. UMass has scored four or more goals in six of its past eight games.

RANDY JOHNSON