MINNEAPOLIS – With the final National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Quarterfinal series completed on Sunday night, the field for the 2015 NCHC Frozen Faceoff is set and the NCHC has announced the times for both semifinals on Friday, March 20 at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis. In the first semifinal, top-seeded No. 1/1 North Dakota battles sixth-seeded St. Cloud State at 4:08 p.m. CT, followed by second-seeded No. 5/5 Miami taking on fourth-seeded No. 8/7 Denver in the nightcap at 7:38 p.m. CT. Three of the four teams played in last year’s Frozen Faceoff as well, though three higher seeds advanced this year after three lower seeded teams made it to Target Center in 2013-14.
Both semifinal match-ups will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network with the winners advancing to the Frozen Faceoff championship game on Saturday, March 21 at Target Center at 7:38 p.m. CT. The championship game will also air nationally on CBS Sports Network with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The two semifinal losers meet first in the third-place game on Saturday before the championship at 3:38 p.m. CT with the game streamed on NCHC.tv.
Friday’s first semifinal pits the NCHC’s only two Penrose Cup champions against each other. Top-ranked North Dakota (27-7-3, 16-6-2-0 NCHC) is making it second straight appearance in the Frozen Faceoff after sweeping eighth-seeded Colorado College in its best-of-three quarterfinal series March 13-14 in Grand Forks. UND, which is the 2014-15 Penrose Cup and NCHC regular-season champions, finished in third place at last year’s inaugural Frozen Faceoff after falling to Miami in the semifinals and defeating Western Michigan in the third-place game. SCSU (18-17-1, 11-12-1-0 NCHC) is making its first ever appearance in the Frozen Faceoff after sweeping third-seeded No. 7/8 Omaha on the road at CenturyLink Center in its quarterfinal series last weekend. The Huskies won the inaugural Penrose Cup and NCHC regular-season title last year, but were swept by Miami in last year’s quarterfinal series. North Dakota won three of four meetings with SCSU during the 2014-15 regular season, including both games in Grand Forks Feb. 20-21 in their most recent meetings.
The second semifinal is a rematch of last year’s inaugural Frozen Faceoff championship game, which was won by Denver. The fifth-ranked RedHawks (23-13-1, 14-9-1-1 NCHC) were the final team to clinch a spot at this year’s Frozen Faceoff after winning a decisive game three Sunday night over seventh-seeded Western Michigan, 4-0, at Steve Cady Arena in Oxford to win their quarterfinal series, 2-1. Miami made the Frozen Faceoff last season as the No. 8 seed after upsetting top-seeded St. Cloud State in the quarterfinals and then defeated second-seeded North Dakota in the semifinals before falling in the championship game. The Pioneers (22-12-2, 13-10-1-1 NCHC) return to Target Center for the Frozen Faceoff after sweeping fifth-seeded No. 6/6 Minnesota Duluth in a quarterfinal series at DU’s Magness Arena last weekend. Denver is looking to defend its NCHC Tournament and Frozen Faceoff title after claiming the inaugural championship last season as the No. 6 seed. DU defeated Omaha in a three-game quarterfinal series a season ago, the knocked off Western Michigan and Miami, both by 4-3 scores, at the 2014 Frozen Faceoff to win the tournament crown. Miami and Denver split their four regular-season meetings this season, including their most recent series in Denver, Feb. 27-28.
In addition to the four hockey games at the Frozen Faceoff, fans can enjoy NCHC Fan Fest, presented by Bud Light, before the games each day. Fan Fest will include live music, interactive games, beverages and new this year, a selection of food trucks to feed fans with some of the best mobile cuisine the Twin Cities has to offer. Entrance to Fan Fest is free to all hockey fans starting at 11:30 a.m. CT on Friday, March 20. Fan Fest will move indoors to the Skyway level of Target Center on Saturday, March 21. Fans will need a Saturday-Session ticket to enjoy Fan Fest on day two with doors opening 90 minutes before the third-place game. Doors will open at 3 p.m. CT on Friday.
For tickets to the 2015 NCHC Frozen Faceoff, visit AXS.com, call 1-888-AXS-TIX (929-7849) or visit Target Center’s box office.