The state of hockey has two teams going head-to-head in the Frozen Four for a spot in the national championship.
Minnesota and Minnesota State meet in one of the two national semifinal games of the Frozen Four. The college hockey tournament is set to kick off this weekend, where the four remaining teams will battle for an NCAA title.
Minnesota won the Worcester region to get to the national semifinals. The Golden Gophers needed overtime to take down the reigning national champion UMass in their regional semifinals, but came out victorious with a 4-3 win thanks to a goal by captain Ben Meyers. In the finals, the Golden Gophers blanked Western Michigan 3-0 with goalie Justen Close stopping all 24 shots he faced.
Minnesota State came out on top in the Albany region. The Mavericks had two tightly contested matchups, first fighting off a Harvard comeback to beat the Crimson 4-3. In the regionals finals, Dryden McKay posted a 23-save shutout while Nathan Smith potted the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Notre Dame.
The winner of the semifinal matchup will take on the victor of the Denver-Michigan game.
Here is everything you need to know about the Minnesota-Minnesota State contest.
When is the Minnesota vs. Minnesota State semifinal game?
- Date: April 7
- Time: 5 p.m.
Both semifinal games of the Frozen Four are scheduled for Thursday, April 7. The championship game will take place Saturday, April 9.
How to watch the Minnesota vs. Minnesota State semifinal game?
Frozen Four TV schedule
The Minnesota-Minnesota State game will air live on ESPNU. Canadian viewers can watch the game on TSN.ca or through the TSN app.
Frozen Four streaming options
For those looking to stream the Frozen Four game, it will be available on Watch ESPN and the ESPN app.
Where is the NCAA Frozen Four being played?
- Frozen Four location: TD Garden, Boston
The TD Garden is the home of the Bruins and the NBA’s Celtics. This is the eighth time the city has hosted the event.
It’s also home to the annual Beanpot, the annual college hockey tournament featuring the four major college hockey schools of the Boston area — Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern and Harvard.
Who is the favorite in the Minnesota-Minnesota State game?
- Minnesota State: -155
- Minnesota: +110
Entering the semifinal matchup, Minnesota State is the favorite, according to Sports Interaction. The two programs are quite familiar with each other, despite not playing in the same conference.
The Mavericks of Minnesota State finished as the No. 1 team in the nation according to the USCHO rankings. Mike Hastings’ crew put together a record of 35-5-0, winning the CCHA title in the conference’s return after an eight-year hiatus.
The Golden Gophers ended as the No. 5 team in the rankings. Bob Motzko’s team concluded the regular season with a record of 24-12-0 and made it all the way to the Big 10 title game before falling to Michigan.
What is the head-to-head record between Minnesota and Minnesota State?
Overall, Minnesota has dominated head-to-head action, owning a 37-17-6 record against Minnesota State. However, the Mavericks have won the past three tournament contests between the two.
These two programs met last season in the regional tournament. The Mavericks blanked the Golden Gophers 4-0 to win their region and punch their ticket to the Frozen Four, where they eventually lost in the national semifinals to St. Cloud State.
Who are the projected starting goaltenders for Minnesota and Minnesota State?
Minnesota: Justen Close
Close didn’t begin the season as Minnesota’s starting goaltender, but when 2021 Mike Richter Award winner Jack LaFontaine left mid-season to sign with the Hurricanes, it opened the door for Close. The junior has seen action in 20 games for the Golden Gophers, sporting a record of 14-4-0. He has a GAA of 1.83 and a save percentage of .929%, both of which rank in the top 10 in the nation.
Minnesota State: Dryden McKay
McKay has been one of the best college hockey goalies since he arrived at Minnesota State in 2018. The Hobey Baker and Mike Richter finalist posted new career-highs in wins (37) and GAA (1.28) this season. His wins rank first in the nation, his GAA is second and his SV% (.934%) put him in a tie for third. McKay’s been the Mavericks’ best player all season and was named both the CCHA Goalie and Player of the Year.
Who are the leading scorers for Minnesota and Minnesota State?
Minnesota: Ben Meyers
The captain of the Golden Gophers has been red-hot leading into the Frozen Four. He leads his team in points (41) and goals (17) and is second in assists (24). Meyers, who was named one of the three Hobey Baker finalists, is riding an eight-game point streak heading into the national semifinals, with seven goals and nine assists during that span.
Minnesota State: Nathan Smith
Smith was among the nation’s point leaders all season long. Only Denver’s Bobby Brink has more points than Smith, as the junior forward has posted 50 points in 36 games. He leads Minnesota State in points while he is second in goals with 19 and in a three-way tie for first in assists with 31. The Coyotes prospect finished in the top-10 of Hobey Baker voting this season.
Who are the past champions of the NCAA Frozen Four?
Michigan has the most college hockey championships, with nine. Its last one came in 1998.
Denver and North Dakota have eight each, Wisconsin has six and Boston College, Boston University and Minnesota have five each.
Here are all the tournament winners over the past 10 years:
- 2021: UMass
- 2020: Tournament canceled because of COVID-19
- 2019: Minnesota Duluth
- 2018: Minnesota Duluth
- 2017: Denver
- 2016: North Dakota
- 2015: Providence
- 2014: Union
- 2013: Yale
- 2012: Boston College