Michigan, Minnesota carries the Big Ten banner for the hockey semifinals – Macomb Daily

High-end individual talents and some of the more decorated teams in the history of college hockey will deliver subplots to the Frozen Four in Boston this weekend.

Michigan, winner of nine national championships, most in Division I, achieves a record 26. Frozen Four appearance when the Wolverines take on Denver in the first semifinal match at TD Garden on Saturday.

Minnesota, winner of record-breaking 58 NCAA Tournament games plus five national championships, will face Minnesota State in the second semifinal.

Michigan won the Big Ten Tournament Championship after Minnesota won the crown in the regular season.

Six of the 10 Hobey Baker Award finalists are on the semifinals. Michigan has two (Matty Beniers and Luke Hughes), Minnesota State has two (Nathan Smith and Dryden McKay), Minnesota has one (Ben Meyers) and Denver has one (Bobby Brink).

Four Michigan players were selected in the top five of the 2021 NHL draft. Defender Owen Power went No. 1 to Buffalo; Beniers No. 2 to Seattle; Hughes No. 4 to New Jersey, and Kent Johnson No. 5 to Columbus.

Hughes leads the nation in goal by a defender with 17. Beniers leads Wolverines in points with 43. Power, Beniers, Johnson and Brendan Brisson were among the Wolverines who played at the 2022 Olympics.

“They’re dynamic,” Denver coach David Carle told NCAA.com. “You do not have to look very far to find really good hockey players in their lineup, so a completely different style and team than the one we played last weekend (in the regions), and it will be our job as coaches, our leadership group and our players to be prepared for what will stylistically be a different game. Michigan is full, of course, everyone has known that for the last 8-12 months and it will be a big challenge to try to slow them down. “

Here is the weekend schedule and a capsule look at each team:

Goalkeeper Erik Portillo’s play helped Michigan reach the Frozen Four. (AP Photo / Al Goldis)

Time schedule

Saturday: Semifinals (ESPN2) – Michigan vs. Denver, at 17.00; Minnesota Vs. Minnesota State, at 20.30

Monday: Championship match (ESPN2) – Semi-final winners at 20.00

Michigan Wolverines

Conference: Big Ten (won conference tournament)

Record: 31-9-1

Coach: Mel Pearson

Goalkeeper: Erik Portillo (31 wins this season)

Nick Blankenburg

Notes: Wolverines defeated Quinnipiac 7-4 in a regional championship match. … Michigan was No. 1 overall for the NCAA Tournament. … Defender Nick Blankenburg, who played on Romeo’s 2016 State Division 2 championship team, is Michigan’s captain.

Denver Pioneers

Conference: National Collegiate Hockey Conference (won the championship in regular season)

Record: 29-9-1

Coach: David Carle

Goalkeeper: Magnus Chrona (26-8-1 record with 2.16 GAA, .909 save%)

Notes: The Pioneers are 46-36-1 all the time against Michigan, but 0-3 in the NCAA Tournament. … Denver and Wolverines have not met since 2002, an NCAA quarterfinal match won by UM. … Denver is in the Frozen Four for the 18th time and for the fourth time in the last six tournaments. … The Pioneers’ eight national championships are just the second most ever. … Denver defeated Minnesota Duluth 2-1 in a regional final. .. Brink have collected 35 points in the last 23 matches.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

Conference: Big Ten (won the championship in regular season)

Record: 26-12-0

Coach: Bob Motzko

Goalkeeper: Justen Close (The junior is 14-4-0 since the takeover as Gophers’ starter)

Notes: Gophers is in Frozen Four for the 22nd time. … Minnesota defeated Western Michigan 3-0 in a regional final. … Michigan won three of its five games against Minnesota this season. … Minnesota won its most recent NCAA Championship in 2003. The Gophers also won in 2002, 1979, 1976 and 1974.… Minnesota is the only Frozen Four team that was not the No. 1 seed in a regional. … Meyers and Matt Knies played for the United States Olympic team.

Minnesota State Mavericks

Conference: Central Collegiate Hockey Association (won regular season championships and tournaments)

Record: 37-5-0

Coach: Mike Hastings

Goalkeeper: Dryden McKay (The Richter Award finalist has 10 shutouts, a Division I single-season record with 37 wins and a career record with 34 shutouts.)

Notes: The Mavericks have won 17 games in a row. … They were the second overall seed for the tournament. … Junior center Nathan Smith scored the only goal in the state’s 1-0 win over Notre Dame in a regional final. … Smith, a 2022 Olympic player, is the fourth Minnesota State player to have 50 points in a season. … Michigan defeated the Mavericks 3-2 on October 16th. … Minnesota State is the only 2021 Frozen Four contestant to qualify this year.

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