All four teams in the Frozen Faceoff semifinals sit in the top 11 of the RPI rankings, and three are in the top seven. Top-ranked North Dakota, the NCHC regular-season champion, headlines the field with its Hobey Baker finalist goalie, Zach McIntyre. But last year’s Frozen Faceoff champ, No. 3 Denver, is lurking. Target Center, here they come.
(1) North Dakota
27-7-3, 16-6-2 NCHC
There’s a reason North Dakota is No. 1 across every major poll: The team simply doesn’t lose. North Dakota has one regulation loss in its past 17 games, going 14-1-1-1 over that stretch. Goaltender Zach McIntyre, a Hobey Baker finalist, has a 1.97 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage, and North Dakota has eight players with 20 or more points.
(6) St. Cloud State
The Huskies are the lone low seed to make the semifinals, having swept third-seeded Nebraska Omaha in the quarterfinals. Last year’s NCHC regular-season champs, the Huskies had an up-and-down season that included going 1-3 against North Dakota. Junior forwards Jonny Brodzinski (19-16—35) and Joey Benik (14-21—35) lead the scoring.
Last season’s Frozen Faceoff champs swept then-No. 6 Minnesota Duluth in the quarterfinals and is now 6-2 in its past eight games. Denver has one of the top defensemen in the country in another Hobey finalist, Joey LaLeggia, a 5-10 senior who’s third on the team with 38 points. Freshman Danton Heinen leads the Pioneers in scoring with 44 points.
(2) Miami (Ohio)
The Redhawks came into the postseason having lost three of their past six, and they needed three games to get past Western Michigan in the NCHC quarterfinals last weekend. Still, Miami has a deep, experienced roster led by senior forward Austin Czarnik, who leads the team with 32 assists and 40 points.