NCAA Frozen Four Hockey 2018: Schedule, Bracket, Odds, Live Stream, Predictions,The Frozen Four may not get the same level of publicity as men’s college basketball’s Final Four, but don’t sell the NCAA championship in men’s ice hockey short.
This is a huge event that features the best players and teams in men’s college hockey, and it often produces the kind of heart-stopping play fans want to see.
Minnesota-Duluth and Ohio State will square off in the first semifinal at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, and the second game will feature Michigan and Notre Dame at approximately 9:30 p.m. ESPN2 will televise both games, which will also be live-streamed at WatchESPN.
Here’s the bracket, which shows how the four teams got to the Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minnesota.
These are four evenly matched teams, and the odds demonstrate that, per OddsShark:
Minnesota-Duluth (23-16-3) comes into its national semifinal game against Ohio State having beaten Minnesota State and Air Force in the West Regionals.
The Bulldogs are led by freshman defenseman Scott Perunovich, who has scored 11 goals and had 25 assists, and Peter Krieger, who has potted 11 goals and provided 19 assists.
Perunovich, a cool and calm presence for the Bulldogs, has been a huge surprise this term. He will likely get selected in one of the middle rounds of this year’s NHL entry draft, and that’s after he went undrafted after playing in the United States Hockey League last year.
Left wing Riley Tufte, whom the Dallas Stars selected in the first round of the 2016 draft, is also a factor after scoring 16 goals this season. Tufte is an excellent skater with impressive size (6’6″), and if he can continue to improve, he should be a force for the Bulldogs.
The Buckeyes (26-9-5) earned their spot in the Frozen Four by beating Princeton and Denver in the Midwest Regionals.
Ohio State is led by sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski, who has 16 goals and 30 assists and has a plus-19 rating. Junior center Mason Jobst is the Buckeyes’ top goalscorer, as he has put the puck in the net 21 times. He has added 22 assists.
Laczynski is not just an offensive threat. The Philadelphia Flyers prospect also does an excellent job on the defensive end. Jobst is an excellent skater, and he has the instinct to go to the premium scoring areas. He often gets there ahead of the defense, and that’s why he has had success.
Notre Dame (27-9-2) comes into it national semifinal game against Michigan having beaten Michigan Tech and Providence in the East Region to earn a spot in the Frozen Four.
Jake Evans is the top scorer for the Fighting Irish with 11 goals and 31 assists, and he has gotten plenty of support from Andrew Oglevie, who has 13 goals and 23 assists.
Evans has improved over the past two years, and he excels at setting up his teammates with quality scoring opportunities. Evans is not afraid to take a hit to make a big play, and he will likely become a player the Montreal Canadiens are eager to sign after selecting him in the seventh round.
Sophomore goalie Cale Morris could become the key player in the Frozen Four. He has had a remarkable year, recording a 1.91 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage.
Michigan (22-14-3) earned its spot in the Frozen Four by beating Northeastern and Boston University in the Northeast Region.
Cooper Marody has proved to be a big-time scorer and playmaker with 16 goals and 33 assists, while Tony Calderone has scored 24 goals to go with 18 assists.
The Edmonton Oilers own Marody’s rights, and they are likely keen on his competitiveness and playmaking ability. He can sense when he has an advantage over the defender, and he knows how to exploit it when he does.
Calderone is Michigan’s senior captain, and he has one of the best shots in the Frozen Four. If the Wolverines are going to have success in St. Paul, look for Calderone to get on the scoresheet.
Both of these semfinal matchups should be close games, and it would not be a surprise if either or both went to overtime.
Look for Ohio State to get the best of Minnesota-Duluth. The Buckeyes are solid skaters with plenty of depth, and that should allow them to progress to the championship game.
Notre Dame was impressive in beating Michigan Tech and Providence, and the Irish should be ready for a peak effort in St. Paul.
The Fighting Irish should have an advantage over Michigan because of Morris’ play in goal, and after getting to the final, look for Notre Dame to finish the job and win the national championship.