Frozen Four to feature fresh faces
The field for the 2013 Frozen Four in Pittsburgh is set: University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Yale University, St. Cloud State University and Quinnipiac University will go head-to-head in this year’s tournament. None of the four teams have ever won an NCAA championship, and only one team, Yale, has been to the national finals, but that was 61 years ago. Back then, the entire tournament was just the final four teams.
This Frozen Four will make for an exciting event as all programs will be competing to capture its first NCAA championship.
St. Cloud State will play Quinnipiac on April 11 in Pittsburgh and UMass-Lowell and Yale will meet in the other game. The championship game will be played on April 13 at 7:00 p.m.
Let’s take a quick look at the four teams and how they got here!
In its first game of the regionals, Quinnipiac took on Canisius and trailed 3-1 in the third period before scoring three consecutive goals to squeak by the fourth-seeded Golden Griffins. The Bobcats became the second No. 1 seed to advance to the Frozen Four when it throttled Union in the regional final, 5-1.
Forward Matthew Peca recorded the fastest hat trick in Division-I NCAA tournament history, scoring three goals in a 3:12 span of the first period to lead top-seeded Quinnipiac past Union.
St. Cloud State University
The St. Cloud State men’s hockey team is going to the Frozen Four for the first time in school history. The Huskies easily routed Notre Dame in the Midwest Semifinals before eliminating Miami University of Ohio 4-1 in the finals. Freshman Joey Benik was the hero for SCSU, scoring two goals in each game after scoring just three goals in the 21 games before the regional. Benik didn’t play his first game this season until after Christmas due to a broken leg to start the season. He was named the regional’s Most Valuable Player for his weekend performance.
University of Massachuestts-Lowell
The River Hawks secured their first-ever Frozen Four bid with a 2-0 win over UNH in the Northeast Regional final. UNH was playing in their own backyard as the hosts of the regional, which was located in Manchester, N.H., less than an hour away from UNH’s Durham, N.H., campus. River Hawk goaltender Connor Hellebuyck stopped 28 shots to beat the team’s Hockey East rival.
Hellebuyck has allowed only four goals in six postseason games for the Hockey East champion River Hawks. The shutout over UNH was his sixth of the season.
Yale advanced to the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh by slaying WCHA behemoths Minnesota and North Dakota in the West Regional in Grand Rapids, Mich. The Bulldogs just barely snuck into the tournament after losing in the ECAC Semifinals and ECAC Consolation game. Yale’s Jesse Root scored the overtime game-winner against Minnesota nine seconds into the extra session. The Ivy League school then took care of North Dakota, 4-1, in the finals of the regional.