Frozen Four preview

Four of the six most experienced men’s Frozen Four teams are headed to play at the Xcel Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Photo courtesy of NCAA Tickets


After a round of exciting regional conference games, Boston College, Boston University, the University of Michigan and Denver University are all headed to St. Paul, Minnesota to face off in the Frozen Four. 

These four teams have extensive experience at this stage of the season. Michigan has 28 Frozen Four appearances, the most out of any team. Boston College has the second most appearances with 26 and Boston University has the third most with 24. Denver ranks sixth on the list with 18 appearances. 

Boston College earned the third spot in the Frozen Four after coming back from a 4-3 deficit to beat Quinnipiac 5-4 in overtime on March 31. Boston University beat Minnesota 6-3 on March 30 to secure their spot. Michigan beat Michigan State 5-2 to lock in their spot. Denver continued their seven-game win streak as they beat Cornell 2-1. 

These four teams have combined to win 28 of the 75 NCAA championships. Denver and Michigan are looking to become the first to win 10.

Boston College 

This is the first time since 2016 that the Eagles have made the Frozen Four. They have four of the nation’s top six scorers: Will Smith, Cutter Gauthier, Ryan Leonard and Gabe Perreault. Smith leads the league with 69 points, Gauthier is tied for second with 64 points, Leonard is fifth in the league with 59 points and Perreault is in sixth place with 57 points. 

The Eagles have a two-way defense that can score while keeping the puck away from their net. Boston College will enter the tournament with an average of 4.6 goals per game, a .921 save percentage and a 2.27 goals-against average. 

The other teams’ defenses will need to step up to try to stop the Eagle scoring machine. Goalies will have to make some unbelievable stops and their offense will need to make every shot count. 

The Eagles are ranked number one in the country and are currently the statistical favorite to win the Frozen Four with +145 odds

Boston University 

In 2023, the Terriers lost to the Minnesota Gophers in the semifinals of the Frozen Four. BU got their revenge this year by ensuring the Gophers did not make the tournament. 

Their roster features the projected number-one pick in this year’s NHL draft, Macklin Celebrini. The first year is tied for points with Boston College’s Gauthier. 

The Terriers will start the tournament with an average of 4.2 goals per game, a .916 save percentage and a 2.35 goals-against average. They also have a defense that loves to shoot, so other teams will need to work on blocking or tipping those shots from the blue line to keep BU in check. 

Junior sports media major Logan Bain is a longtime Boston University fan and hopes the Terriers will take home their sixth NCAA championship. 

“I’ve watched BU for a long time,” Bain said. “I have some friends that play at BU. I also have friends that play at [Boston College], but I’d like to see BU win because I love everything to do with BU hockey.” 

University of Michigan 

The Wolverines are making their third-straight Frozen Four appearance. It will be their second appearance under second-year coach Brandon Naurato. They are led in scoring by sophomore Rutger McGroarty, a first-round pick of the Winnipeg Jets in 2022. 

The 2024 Big Ten  player of the year, sophomore Gavin Brindley, is also a Wolverine. These two power forwards plus a strong defense will make Michigan a hard wall for any team to pass by. 

After losing to the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten tournament championship by a score of 5-4 in overtime, the Wolverines got their revenge. They beat the Spartans 2-1 on March 31 to advance to the Frozen Four. 

Michigan has a strong defense to keep the puck away from their net, but the defense also struggles to find the back of the opposing team’s net. They have an average of 4.2 goals per game, a .906 save percentage and a 2.38 goals-against average. 

First-year exploratory business major Katie Kelly thinks that all of the teams look good this year, but wants Michigan to win. 

“I think [Michigan] started off the year pretty strong, but they were [also] a little rough this year,” Kelly said. “I think they’re learning to play better as a team because the last few years, they’ve been losing a lot of good players [to the pros]. I think they’re finally getting where they need to be to be a successful championship team.” 

Junior biology major Anna Buescher thinks that Michigan’s solid foundation will help them win. 

“Michigan has always had a good hockey team,” Buescher said. “They’ve always been solid. It’s just something I feel in my heart.” 

Denver University 

The Pioneers have been in the Frozen Four 19 times, including the past three years. They have won seven straight games, including all six of their postseason contests. They won their last national championship in 2022, making them the most recent champions to play in this tournament. 

They also won the National Collegiate Hockey Conference by beating St. Cloud State and Omaha. Junior Jack Devine leads them in scoring with 27 goals. 

The Pioneers have the weakest defense with their goals-against average at 2.68, the lowest save percentage at .902 and no huge-star players with crazy statistics. However, they also have the strongest offense as they enter the tournament with the highest average of goals per game at 4.7. 

Other teams will need to play smart defensively and continuously pound shots at the net to try to take down the Pioneers. 

Boston University will play Denver University at 5 p.m. on April 11 followed by Boston College vs. University of Michigan at 8:30 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN2. The championship game will take place on April 13.

With Denver and Michigan both looking to be the first to have 10 NCAA trophies, Boston College having many star players and Boston University having an incredibly strong defense, this will be a Frozen Four for the ages. 


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