Three teams enter the 2019 NCAA men’s Frozen Four on a winning streak at college hockey’s marquee event. The other is making its first appearance.
Massachusetts is the only newcomer in the field that will play in the national semifinals on Thursday, April 11 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y. The Minutemen play eight-time NCAA champion Denver in the second semifinal, scheduled for 8:30 p.m. EDT.
Providence plays Minnesota Duluth in the other semifinal, which faces off at 5 p.m. EDT.
Providence (2015), Denver (2017) and Minnesota Duluth (2018) each won the championship in its most recent Frozen Four appearance.
All four teams headed to Buffalo got there with some impressive defense. UMass, Denver and Providence won regional semifinals by shutout; neither the Minutemen nor the Pioneers allowed a goal in two regional games.
The Bulldogs allowed two goals in two regional games.
It’s the first time in 39 years of an NCAA tournament with at least eight teams that more than two teams earned their Frozen Four spot via shutout.
UMass (30-9) earned its first Frozen Four spot by defeating Harvard and Notre Dame, both 4-0, in the Northeast Regional in Manchester, N.H.
Denver (24-11-5), with first-year coach David Carle, is in its 17th Frozen Four. The Pioneers downed Ohio State 2-0 and American International 3-0 in the West Regional in Fargo, N.D.
The Pioneers have won all three meetings against the Minutemen, in the 2004-05, 2006-07 and 2013-14 seasons.
Providence (24-11-6) trailed Minnesota State 3-0 on Saturday but then scored 10 unanswered goals, defeating the Mavericks 6-3 and Cornell 4-0 on Sunday. The Friars are making their fifth Frozen Four appearance.
Minnesota Duluth (27-11-2) rallied for a 2-1 overtime victory over Bowling Green on Saturday in the Midwest Regional semifinals in Allentown, Pa. The Bulldogs defeated Quinnipiac 3-1 on Sunday for their seventh Frozen Four trip and third straight.
The most recent meeting between the Bulldogs and the Friars also came in the NCAA tournament. Minnesota Duluth won 2-1 in double overtime in the 2016 Northeast Regional semifinal in Worcester, Mass.
Providence swept UMD in the 1983 NCAA quarterfinals. Overall, the Bulldogs have a 16-7-2 record against the Friars.
Minnesota Duluth and UMass were regional No. 1 seeds. Denver was a No. 2 seed and Providence was a No. 4.