NCAA Frozen Four Hockey 2021: Schedule, Bracket, Odds, Live Stream, PredictionsApril 8, 2021
All four of the No. 1 seeds in this year's NCAA men's ice hockey championship have been eliminated. However, there's still a quartet of strong teams that will battle it out in the Frozen Four this week in an attempt to end the 2020-21 season as national champions.
A trio of No. 2 seeds (Massachusetts, Minnesota State and St. Cloud State) and No. 3-seeded Minnesota Duluth will be the four teams competing in the Frozen Four semifinals on Thursday. The winners will advance to the championship game on Saturday night, and all of the action will be taking place at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
Minnesota Duluth has won the national title three times in program history (all coming since 2011), including in each of the past two tournaments in 2018 and 2019. (The 2020 tourney was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.) The Bulldogs are looking to become only the second team to win three straight national titles, joining Michigan, which won from 1951-53.
Here's everything else you need to know heading into this year's Frozen Four.
2021 Frozen Four Schedule, Odds
Thursday, April 8
No. 2 Minnesota State (-1.5) vs. No. 2 St. Cloud State, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN2
No. 2 Massachusetts vs. No. 3 Minnesota Duluth (-1.5), 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Saturday, April 10
Championship game, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Games can be streamed live on the ESPN app.
Odds to Win Championship
Minnesota Duluth: +225 (bet $100 to win $225)
Minnesota State: +250
St. Cloud State: +310
All odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Considering the success that Minnesota Duluth has had in recent years, it's not a surprise that it's the favorite to win the championship now that the Frozen Four field is set. The Bulldogs are also coming off an incredible 3-2 win in five overtimes over North Dakota, which was the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament.
That's the only game that Minnesota Duluth has played so far, as its first-round matchup against Michigan was canceled due to multiple positive COVID-19 tests within the Wolverines' program. Still, the Bulldogs weren't rusty when they returned to the ice. And they needed endurance to outlast North Dakota in a game that didn't end until Minnesota Duluth freshman forward Luke Mylymok scored the game-winning goal 2 minutes, 13 seconds into the fifth extra period.
Will the Bulldogs keep that momentum going? Massachusetts is a strong team, but it announced that it will be without four players for Thursday's game, including its leading scorer (redshirt senior forward Carson Gicewicz) and its starting goalie (junior Filip Lindberg).
With the Minutemen being short-handed, it's likely that the Bulldogs are going to handily win this semifinal matchup. And with that, Minnesota Duluth will advance to the championship game for the fourth straight tournament.
"We have a chance," Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said, per Matt Wellens of the Duluth News Tribune. "We got through the last game, and we put ourselves in a position to have a chance and that’s all you can ask for. It's a great opportunity and a lot of hard work ahead. As long as you have a chance, you can do it."
As for the other semifinal matchup, Minnesota State and St. Cloud State have each put up a lot of offense on its path to the Frozen Four. Minnesota State has defeated Quinnipiac and Minnesota, outscoring those two teams 8-3. Meanwhile, St. Cloud State owns tournament victories over Boston and Boston College, winning by a combined score of 10-3.
While Minnesota Duluth has won three national titles, the other three remaining teams have never won the championship.
Minnesota State vs. St. Cloud State should be a competitive game, and it will likely be decided by only one goal. But it will be Minnesota State, which is 22-4-1 this season, that keeps its impressive run going with a victory and advances to the national championship game.
However, it will be Minnesota Duluth that again ends the season as the national champions. Sandelin has the leadership to guide the team to the title, and the Bulldogs have already been tested with a five-overtime game against the top-seeded team in the tournament.
So, Minnesota Duluth will complete the three-peat, and it will do so by handily winning the next two games.
Prediction: Minnesota Duluth wins its third straight national title
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