The defending national champion University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs will make their third NCAA Frozen Four appearance in as many years when they take on Providence College in the semifinals this afternoon at 4 p.m. (CT) at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y. The University of Massachusetts and the University of Denver will hit the ice later that night (7:30 p.m.) in the other first round matchup with the two winners meeting for college hockey’s top prize on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
THE RECORDS: The Bulldogs, who have reeled off six straight victories, are 27-11-2 overall and finished second in the final National Collegiate Hockey Conference standings at 14-9-1-0 before going on to capture the league playoff title. Providence sports a 24-11-6 record in all games to go with a 14-7-3- Hockey East mark (tied for second place with Northeastern University).
THE RIVALRY: UMD and Providence have met 25 times previously with the last of those coming on March 25, 2016 in Worcester, Mass., where the Bulldogs pulled out a heart-pounding 2-1 double-overtime victory over the defending national champion Friars in the semifinal round of the NCAA Northeast Regional. UMD holds a 16-7-2 lead in the all-time series, which began on Dec. 12, 1965 at the Brown University Tournament in Providence, and is 1-2-0 versus the Friars in the NCAA Tournament.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: UMD secured a trip to Buffalo and the 2019 Frozen Four by taking down Quinnipiac University 3-1 in the NCAA Midwest Regional title game on March 31 in Allentown, Pa. That came one night after the No. 1-seeded Bulldogs rallied for a 2-1 overtime triumph over No. 4 seed Bowling Green State University. In the semifinal clash with the Falcons, senior team captain Parker Mackay forced overtime by scoring with 3:01 to play in regulation then struck again 8:15 into sudden death. Freshman left winger Cole Koepke had a pair of assists for the Bulldogs, who outshot Bowling Green 32-21. The following evening, goals from senior center Peter Krieger and sophomore left winger Kobe Roth put UMD up 2-0 before Quinnipiac, with its goaltender pulled for an extra attacker, cut the deficit in half with a power play score at the 17:57 mark of the third. Mackay,iced the victory 66 second later with an empty net goal
Providence reigned supreme in the NCAA East Regional,rallying for a 6-3 win over No. 1 seeded Minnesota State University-Mankato in Saturday’s semifinals and then blanking No. 3 seed Cornell University 4-0 on Sunday for the tournament title.
(info and photo courtesy of UMD Sports)