Denver, Minnesota-Duluth, Providence, UMass to Vie for 2019 NCAA Frozen Four National Title

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BUFFALO, NY — And then there were four.

Sixteen teams with visions of dancing with the NCAA Championship in their hands were whittled down to just four teams remaining following breakneck, end-to-end action this past weekend at Regionals.

West Regional Champion, The University of Denver, Midwest Regional Champion and defending National Champion, Minnestota Duluth, East Regional Champion, Providence, and Northeast Regional Titleist, The University of Massachusetts, each emerged victorious out of four NCAA Regional Finals, but the road to the 2019 Frozen Four is just beginning.

Providence (East Regional Champion) vs. Minnesota-Duluth (Midwest Regional Champion), KeyBank Center, Buffalo, NY, 5pm ESPN2

Providence Friars (24-11-6)

Road to the Frozen Four: Defeated Minnesota State, 6-3; Defeated Cornell, 4-0

Rallying from a 3-0 deficit in the first period, Providence scored six unanswered goals en route to a 6-3 victory over Minnesota State in the first round of regional play. On Sunday, the No. 4 Friars shutout No. 3 Cornell, 4-0, to secure a spot in Buffalo. This is Providence’s sixth NCAA tournament appearance since 2003, and its first Frozen Four appearance since winning the National Title in 2015.

Providence Head Coach Nate Leaman (8th Year): “We’re very happy and proud to get to this point. We had to beat two very good teams this last weekend in Minnesota State and Cornell. I like our team. I feel like we’ve grown throughout the year. We’ve built a lot of toughness, which I think is really important. We’ve played two of the other teams in the field so we feel good about that. We’re playing some good hockey right now.”

Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs (27-11-2)

Road to the Frozen Four: Defeated Bowling Green, 2-1; Defeated Quinnipiac, 3-1

The Bulldogs, the defending National Champions, return to the Frozen Four for the third straight season. Prior to this run, Minnesota-Duluth had competed in the Frozen Four only four other times. Coach Scott Sandelin, whose coaching career began with the Bulldogs in 2000, holds the best career NCAA playoff winning percentage (.760) of any active coach.

Minnesota-Duluth Head Coach Scott Sandelin (19th Year): “Obviously, real exciting to get back to the Frozen Four, really, really proud of our team. Certainly a good year for us, certainly some ups and downs which was expected, which you go through every year, but I think our team has grown through the year. We had to beat two very, very good hockey teams at Allentown in Bowling Green and Quinnipiac to advance, both real tight hockey games, real good hockey games, and like I said just real exited for our group to get back to another Frozen Four, especially for some of our seniors but more importantly for our program. It means a lot.”

University of Denver (West Regional Champion) vs. University of Massachusetts (Northeast Regional Champion), KeyBank Center, Buffalo, NY, 8:30pm ESPN2

University of Denver Pioneers (24-11-5)

Road to the Frozen Four: Defeated Ohio State, 2-0; Defeated American International, 3-0

Michigan has the most titles with nine (1948, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1996, 1998), but Denver (1958, 1960, 1961, 1968, 1969, 2004, 2005, 2017) is looking to pull even this year for the most championships in tournament history. Denver currently maintains the longest active NCAA tournament appearance streak, earning the team’s 12th appearance this season.

Denver Head Coach David Carle (1st Year): “Really excited for our program to be back in the Frozen Four. Thrilled to get to Buffalo next week and put our best foot forward. We’ve had great leadership all year long with our senior group, particularly Colin Staub and Jarid Lukosevicius, this is their third Frozen Four in their four years at Denver. They understand what it takes, what it means to be a Denver Pioneer and I think they’ve done an unbelievable job helping our young kids along, not just our freshmen, we have a large sophomore class as well — there are 19 between the two classes. It will be a new experience for those 19, but our juniors and seniors have obviously been there before. They’ve been a huge catalyst in our ability to grow throughout the year.”

University of Massachusetts Minutemen (29-9)

Road to the Frozen Four: Defeated Harvard, 4-0; Defeated Notre Dame, 4-0

UMass advances to the program’s first Frozen Four after dominant performances in its two regional performances. The Minutemen blanked Harvard, 4-0, in Friday’s opening regional game and then put on a repeat performance for Notre Dame, shutting out the Irish 4-0. This season marks the second time UMass has competed in the NCAA men’s hockey tournament. The Minutemen’s last appearance came in 2007 where its run ended in the second round.

Massachusetts Head Coach Greg Carvel (3rd Year): “Our program being a first (time Frozen Four attendee) — there’s been a lot of firsts this year for our group — we’re still a very young team, we’re 19 freshmen and sophomores, but our sophomore group is the backbone of our team. Last year, we played 10 or 12 freshmen every night, so these sophomores, really the backbone of our team, are a pretty experienced group. We come into the final of the Frozen Four excited. I thought we played very well in Manchester and we’re hoping to carry that into Buffalo.”

Related: 2019 Frozen Four Tournament Preview

Men’s Frozen Four, April 11 and 13
KeyBank Center, Buffalo, New York 

Thursday, April 11

Providence (East Regional Champion) vs. Minnesota-Duluth (Midwest Regional Champion), 5pm  ESPN2/WatchESPN

Denver (West Regional Champion) vs. University of Massachusetts (Northeast Regional Champion), 830pm ESPN2/WatchESPN

Saturday, April 13

National Championship, 8pm, EST, ESPN2/WatchESPN

Related: Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs – 2018 NCAA Frozen Four National Champions

 

Written by John Christian Hageny / @JCCSPORTS 

Special to HockeyClan

 

Main Image: The Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs celebrate after they won the championship game of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Championships on April 7, 2018 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota.The Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2-1 to win the National Championship. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

 

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