April 4, 2011
UMD and UND will represent the WCHA at the Frozen Four
MADISON, Wis. – The North Dakota Fighting Sioux and the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs carry the collective hopes of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association into this week's 2011 NCAA Men's Frozen Four, commencing Thursday, April 7 and concluding Saturday, April 9 at Xcel Energy Center (18,064) in Saint Paul, Minn.
Those two WCHA teams make up half the field for this season's national championship, with Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) members Michigan and Notre Dame rounding out the four-team field.
On Thursday (April 7) at Xcel Energy Center, the two semifinal match ups will have No. 3-ranked Minnesota Duluth (24-10-6) vs No. 4-ranked Notre Dame (25-13-5) at 4:00 pm CT followed by No. 2-ranked Michigan (28-10-4) against No. 1-ranked North Dakota (32-8-3) at 7:30 pm CT. Both semifinal contests will be televised live by ESPN2 HD. UND enters championship weekend with a nation's best 15-game unbeaten streak at 14-0-1 since Jan. 28. The national championship game will then face-off on Saturday (April 9) at 6:00 pm CT. The title contest will be telecast live by ESPN HD.
This will be the fifth NCAA Men's Frozen Four held in Saint Paul, Minn. In 1989, 1991 and 1994 the championship was held at the old Saint Paul Civic Center while in 2002 it was held at Xcel Energy Center.
North Dakota, the 2010-11 WCHA regular season (MacNaughton Cup) and playoff (Broadmoor Trophy) champions, earned a berth in the Frozen Four after winning the NCAA Midwest Regional championship at Resch Center in Green Bay on March 26-27. Coach Dave Hakstol's top-seeded Sioux defeated No. 4 seed Rensselaer 6-0 on Saturday and then No. 2 seed Denver 6-1 on Sunday to claim the title. The Pioneers (25-12-5) skated past No. 3 seed Western Michigan, 3-2 in overtime, on that Saturday.
Minnesota Duluth, meanwhile, earned a trip to the NCAA Men's Frozen Four by capturing the NCAA East Regional held at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn, on March 25-26. Coach Scott Sandelin's No. 3-seeded Bulldogs won 2-0 against No. 2 seed Union, 2-0, on that Friday and then upended No. 1-seed Yale by a 5-3 margin on Saturday.
Michigan won the NCAA West Regional held at Scotttrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., while Notre Dame was victorious in the NCAA Northeast Regional held at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H. The Wolverines were the 2010-11 CCHA regular season champions while the Irish finished second.
The WCHA's three other national tournament participants – Colorado College, University of Denver and University of Nebraska Omaha – came up just short in NCAA regional competition last weekend.
At the West Regional held at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., the No. 4-seeded CC Tigers (23-19-3) defeated No. 1 seed and defending national champion Boston College 8-4 last Friday (March 25) night in their opener before falling one goal short of No. 2 seed Michigan, 2-1, in the title contest last Saturday (March 26). The UNO Mavericks (21-16-2), meanwhile, were edged 3-2 in overtime by the Wolverines last Friday.
The No. 2-seeded Pioneers (25-12-5) were 3-2 (ot) winners over No. 3 seed Western Michigan at the Midwest Regional last Saturday before falling to North Dakota in the title contest on Sunday.
Teams representing the men's Western Collegiate Hockey Association have captured a record 36 national championships since the league's founding in 1951, with the most recent title earned by Wisconsin in 2006 in Milwaukee. The Badgers' 2006 Frozen Four crown capped a run of five straight national championships for WCHA-member teams, with Minnesota winning in 2002 and 2003, Denver in 2004 and 2005, and Wisconsin in 2006.
The North Dakota hockey program has won seven previous national championships with those titles coming in 1959, 1963, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1997 and 2000. Sioux head coach Dave Hakstol, in his seventh season behind the bench, has now led his teams to five Frozen Four appearances, finishing as the national runner-up in 2005 in Columbus, Ohio in what was an historic all-WCHA national championship with eventual winner Denver, UND, Colorado College and Minnesota.
Minnesota Duluth is seeking the program's first NCAA men's hockey championship. The Bulldogs finished second in the 1984 national championship in Lake Placid, N.Y., losing to Bowling Green 5-4 in four overtimes under former coach Mike Sertich. Coach Scott Sandelin will be making his second Frozen Four appearance behind the UMD bench, with a previous showing in 2004 in Boston, Mass. Minnesota Duluth's other men's Frozen Four appearance came in 1985 in Detroit, Mich.
In this week's (March 21, 2011) USCHO.com Men's Div. 1 Hockey National Poll, the WCHA has five teams in the top 20 and five who received votes. North Dakota is again No. 1, Denver is No. 5, Minnesota Duluth is No. 11, Colorado College is No. 13 and Nebraska Omaha is No. 14. Also receiving votes this week were Wisconsin, Minnesota, Alaska Anchorage, Bemidji State and St. Cloud State.
In this week's (March 21, 2011) USA Hockey/USA Hockey Magazine Div. 1 Men's Poll, North Dakota is No 1, Denver is No. 5, Minnesota Duluth is No. 12, Colorado College is No. 13, and Nebraska Omaha is No. 14.
Through games of April 6, WCHA men's member teams own a collective 56-27-12 record in games vs other Div. 1 clubs this season for a .653 winning percentage. Against the four other Division 1 men's leagues, WCHA teams are 10-5-1 (.656) vs HEA teams, 10-8-4 (.545) vs ECAC Hockey teams, 18-12-7 (.581) vs CCHA clubs, 12-0-0 (1.000) vs Atlantic Hockey Association teams, and 6-2-0 (.750) vs independents.
By WCHA-member teams, non-conference records are: Alaska Anchorage (2-2-0), Bemidji State (4-2-0), Colorado College (6-4-1), Denver (5-2-2), Michigan Tech (2-4-2), Minnesota (3-2-1), Minnesota Duluth (7-0-1), Minnesota State (6-0-2), Nebraska Omaha (4-5-0), North Dakota (5-2-1), St. Cloud State (4-3-1) and Wisconsin (8-1-1).
This Week in the WCHA - 2011 NCAA Men's Frozen Four @ Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, MN
Games for Thursday, April 7
Semifinal #1: Minnesota Duluth (24-10-6) vs Notre Dame (25-13-5), 4:00 pm CT (TV – ESPN2 HD)
Semifinal #2: Michigan (28-10-4) vs North Dakota (32-8-3), 7:30 pm CT (TV – ESPN2 HD)
Games for Saturday, April 9
National Championship Game, 6:00 pm CT (TV – ESPN HD)
National Champions from the WCHA
Year Champion (Record) Coach
1952 Michigan (22-4) Vic Heyliger
1953 Michigan (17-7) Vic Heyliger
1955 Michigan (18-5-1) Vic Heyliger
1956 Michigan (20-2-1) Vic Heyliger
1957 Colorado College (25-5) Tom Bedecki
1958 Denver (24-10-2) Murray Armstrong
1959 North Dakota (20-10-1) Bob May
1960 Denver (27-4-3) Murray Armstrong
1961 Denver (30-1-1) Murray Armstrong
1962 Michigan Tech (29-3) John MacInnes
1963 North Dakota (22-7-3) Barry Thorndycraft
1964 Michigan (24-4-1) Al Renfrew
1965 Michigan Tech (24-5-2) John MacInnes
1966 Michigan State (16-13) Amo Bessone
1968 Denver (28-5-1) Murray Armstrong
1969 Denver (26-6) Murray Armstrong
1973 Wisconsin (29-9-2) Bob Johnson
1974 Minnesota (22-11-6) Herb Brooks
1975 Michigan Tech (32-10) John MacInnes
1976 Minnesota (27-13-2) Herb Brooks
1977 Wisconsin (37-7-1) Bob Johnson
1979 Minnesota (32-11-1) Herb Brooks
1980 North Dakota (31-8-1) Gino Gasparini
1981 Wisconsin (27-14-1) Bob Johnson
1982 North Dakota (35-12) Gino Gasparini
1983 Wisconsin (33-10-4) Jeff Sauer
1987 North Dakota (40-8) Gino Gasparini
1990 Wisconsin (36-9-1) Jeff Sauer
1991 Northern Michigan (38-5-4) Rick Comley
1997 North Dakota (31-10-2) Dean Blais
2000 North Dakota (31-8-5) Dean Blais
2002 Minnesota (32-8-4) Don Lucia
2003 Minnesota (28-8-9) Don Lucia
2004 Denver (27-12-5) George Gwozdecky
2005 Denver (32-9-2) George Gwozdecky
2006 Wisconsin (30-10-3) Mike Eaves