Four teams remain in pursuit of a national championship and now stand just two wins away from glory. The Frozen Four takes place in Pittsburgh starting on Thursday and, on Saturday night, college hockey's top team will be crowned.
The tournament's top overall seed, Quinnipiac, is still in contention, but isn't the favorite heading into the semifinals. That honor goes to UMass Lowell, the No. 3 seed. The other teams that will go to battle in Pittsburgh are St. Cloud State and underdog Yale.
Here's a look at all the important information for the Frozen Four. It's followed by a breakdown of every team left standing and their current odds to win the national title. All lines used are courtesy of SportBet.com.
Where: Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.
When: April 11 to April 13
Watch: ESPN (Final) and ESPN2 (Semifinals)
Live Stream: ESPN3.com
UMass Lowell (+165)
The favored River Hawks use a defensive-minded system that's been taken to another level recently thanks to the strong play of freshman goalie Connor Hellebuyck. He's allowed just one goal from 60 shots in the tourney, and his season save percentage is above .950, which is a terrific mark.
When it comes down to winning two games, nothing is more valuable than a red-hot goalie, which is probably why UMass Lowell has been inserted as the favorite. If Hellebuyck continues to stand on his head, the River Hawks will win the title.
They rely on a balanced offensive attack. Their leading scorer, sophomore forward Scott Wilson, has 16 goals in 40 games. But the team features 11 players who have scored at least five times. That depth will be key during the Frozen Four.
Quinnipiac almost suffered a shocking loss to Canisius in the opening round. The Bobcats were down 3-1 early in the third period before scoring three straight goals to pull off a major comeback. They looked far more like the top seed in a 5-1 win over Union.
The players to watch are Jeremy Langlois and Matthew Peca. The dangerous forward duo has accounted for 60 points and a combined plus-29 rating this season. They can also play in any situation, including the penalty kill, where they racked up three shorthanded goals.
Senior goalie Eric Hartzell gives Quinnipiac valuable experience between the pipes. He bounced back from a lackluster showing against Canisius to stop 18 of 19 shots against Union. A potential duel with Hellebuyck could loom in the championship game.
St. Cloud State (+340)
St. Cloud State will face Quinnipiac in the semifinals after wins over No. 4 seed Notre Dame and Miami (Ohio). Not only did the Huskies beat those two more heralded opponents, but did so in impressive fashion by a combined 9-2 score.
Drew LeBlanc, one of the top playmakers in the tournament, led the offensive charge. He has 37 assists in 42 games while also chipping in 13 goals. Jonny Brodzinski leads the team with 22 goals and has an eye-popping plus-27 rating.
The biggest questions for St. Cloud State come on the back end. Will the defense, led by Nick Jensen, Andrew Prochno and goalie Ryan Faragher, be able to slow down the Bobcats in the semifinals? Their first two tournament wins suggest an upset is within reason.
Finally, Yale checks in as the long shots as it prepares to face UMass Lowell. The Bulldogs were lucky to secure a berth in the event despite two losses in the ECAC tournament, and have taken full advantage of the opportunity with wins over Minnesota and North Dakota.
Jesse Root scored a thrilling overtime goal just nine seconds into overtime to eliminate the second-seeded Golden Gophers. He's one of four players on the squad with at least 10 goals, and all of them are either juniors or seniors.
Goalie Jeff Malcolm, who stepped up in a major way against North Dakota, is also a senior. So experience and leadership shouldn't be an issue. Finding enough offense to keep pace with the other semifinalists will be a struggle, and that's why Yale is the underdog in the Frozen Four.
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