NCAA Frozen Four Hockey 2022: Schedule, Bracket, Odds, Live Stream, PredictionsApril 7, 2022
NCAA Frozen Four Hockey 2022: Schedule, Bracket, Odds, Live Stream, Predictions
In the 2022 NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship, four teams have powered their way through the tournament. That sets the stage for some exciting Frozen Four matchups, beginning with a pair of semifinal games on Thursday.
This year's Frozen Four is taking place at TD Garden in Boston. Three of the four No. 1 seeds have reached this point, as Michigan, Denver and Minnesota State all have an opportunity to win the national title. The only non-No. 1 seed still in contention is No. 2 Minnesota, which beat No. 1 Western Michigan in the previous round.
None of these four programs have won a national championship over the past four years. Denver's last title came in 2017, while it's been longer for Minnesota (most recently in 2003) and Michigan (1998). Minnesota State has never won a national title since becoming a Division I program in 1996.
Here's everything else you need to know heading into the 2022 Frozen Four.
Frozen Four Schedule, Odds
Thursday, April 7
No. 1 Michigan (-1.5) vs. No. 1 Denver, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN2
No. 1 Minnesota State (-1.5) vs. No. 2 Minnesota, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Saturday, April 9
Championship game, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Games can be streamed live on the ESPN app.
Odds to Win Championship
Michigan: +150 (bet $100 to win $150)
Minnesota State: +275
No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 1 Denver
Michigan and Denver are both strong teams, and it will be exciting to watch these two No. 1 seeds face off with a place in the championship game on the line. However, the two teams have taken different paths to make it to this point.
For Michigan, it has been relying on its potent offense. The Wolverines have scored 12 total goals in their past two wins. They beat American International 5-3 in the first round and notched a 7-4 victory over Quinnipiac in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, Denver has been finding ways to win low-scoring games in the tournament. The Pioneers won 3-2 against UMass Lowell in the first round and then recorded a 2-1 victory over Minnesota Duluth, a program that won back-to-back national titles in 2018 and 2019.
Denver's defense is clearly playing well, with junior goaltender Magnus Chrona tallying 40 saves and allowing only three goals over the team's past two victories. But the Swede and the Pioneers' defensive unit will have their hands full trying to slow Michigan's high-powered attack.
The Wolverines' roster is loaded with future NHL talent. They have four players who were selected within the top five picks in the 2021 draft: sophomore defenseman Owen Power (No. 1 to Buffalo Sabres), sophomore forward Matty Beniers (No. 2 to Seattle Kraken), freshman defenseman Luke Hughes (No. 4 to New Jersey Devils) and sophomore forward Kent Johnson (No. 5 to Columbus Blue Jackets).
Michigan has won six straight games, which included the Big Ten tournament title, and it seems unlikely it will cool off now. Although Denver is a formidable opponent, the Wolverines have too many star players for the Pioneers to defend.
Expect Michigan to win by at least two goals and advance to the final.
Prediction: Michigan wins
No. 1 Minnesota State vs. No. 2 Minnesota
College programs from Minnesota typically fare well in this tournament, and this year is no different.
Either Minnesota State or Minnesota will be representing the state in the championship game, but the two teams must go head-to-head first to decide which one it will be.
Minnesota State has been consistently strong throughout the 2021-22 season, as it has won 37 games, the most of any team in the nation. The Mavericks pulled out a pair of close victories to open this tournament, beating Harvard 4-3 in the first round and topping Notre Dame 1-0 in the quarterfinals.
Of the four remaining teams, Minnesota is the underdog, considering it's the only one that isn't a No. 1 seed. The Golden Gophers beat UMass 4-3 to open the tournament and then knocked off No. 1 seed Western Michigan in the quarterfinals with a convincing 3-0 victory.
Both teams are anchored by strong goaltenders. Minnesota State senior Dryden McKay has been tremendous in the net throughout his career, while Minnesota junior Justen Close has impressed since becoming the starter midseason after Jack LaFontaine, the 2021 Mike Richter Award winner, left to sign with the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes.
Don't be surprised if this semifinal matchup is a low-scoring affair that could go either way, even if Minnesota State is favored to win. Still, the Mavericks are the better overall team, and they're going to do whatever is necessary to put away the Golden Gophers in a close game.
After losing to St. Cloud State in last year's Frozen Four semifinals, Minnesota State will make it to the championship game this year and have an opportunity to play for a national title.
Prediction: Minnesota State wins
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