SAINT PAUL, Minn. – After a thrilling end to the NCHC best-of-three quarterfinal series Sunday night, the semifinal times for the 2018 NCHC Frozen Faceoff were announced Monday morning by the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). Opening the Frozen Faceoff’s debut at Xcel Energy Center, the new home of the NCHC’s championship weekend, will be top-seeded St. Cloud State against fourth-seeded North Dakota in the first semifinal on Friday, March 16, while second-seeded Denver and third-seeded Minnesota Duluth meet in the second semifinal.
Friday’s first semifinal between the Huskies and Fighting Hawks is set for 4:08 p.m. CT, while the second game of the doubleheader between the Pioneers and Bulldogs has puck drop set for 7:38 p.m. CT. The two semifinal winners then meet in the championship game on Saturday, March 17 at 7:38 p.m. CT, while the two losers meet in third-place game at 3:38 p.m. CT. Both semifinals and the championship game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network, while the third-place game is available on NCHC.tv.
St. Cloud State and North Dakota meet in the Frozen Faceoff semifinals for the second time, also squaring off in 2015, which resulted in a 3-1 SCSU victory. The Huskies (24-7-6) earned their third trip to the Frozen Faceoff with a three-game quarterfinal series win over eighth-seeded Miami, topping the RedHawks in overtime in Sunday’s decisive Game 3, after Miami won Game 2 in overtime. SCSU is 3-1 in its two previous trips to the Frozen Faceoff, winning the NCHC Tournament title in its last appearance in 2016 and advancing to the title game both times. North Dakota (16-12-10), which swept the Huskies in last year’s NCHC Quarterfinals, swept fifth-seeded Omaha this past weekend in the Quarterfinals with 4-0 and 4-3 wins, the latter in overtime. UND has now made it to the Frozen Faceoff all five years of its existence, but has yet to capture the title, going 1-3 in the semifinals, while falling to Minnesota Duluth in last year’s title game. The Huskies went 2-0-2 against UND in their four regular-season meetings this season.
The second semifinal is another rematch of last year’s national championship game as Denver tangles with Minnesota Duluth. The Bulldogs (21-14-3) are the defending Frozen Faceoff champions and are making their third straight trip to the NCHC’s championship weekend after sweeping sixth-seeded Western Michigan in the Quarterfinals this past weekend, pitching a pair of shutouts behind sophomore goalie Hunter Shepard. UMD is 2-0 in the Frozen Faceoff semifinals previously, falling in the title game in 2016 before beating UND in last year’s title game. Denver (20-9-8) and UMD have not met in the Frozen Faceoff previously, but the Pioneers did sweep the Bulldogs in the 2015 NCHC Quarterfinals. DU needed three games this year to earn its fifth straight trip to the Frozen Faceoff, knocking off seventh-seeded Colorado College Saturday and Sunday after falling in Game 1 last Friday. Denver is 1-3 in the semifinals in its first four Frozen Faceoffs, winning the inaugural 2014 title, but coming up short in each of the last three semifinals. The Pioneers swept all four meetings with Minnesota Duluth this season, winning each contest by one goal, the same margin they won the 2017 national title over UMD.
This is the third straight season all four higher seeds advanced to the Frozen Faceoff. All four 2018 Frozen Faceoff participants are ranked in the top 15 in the national polls, as well as in the top 15 of the PairWise Ratings, which determine the NCAA Tournament field, heading into the final weekend before the National Tournament.
Prior to puck drop each day, visit Fan Fest presented by Bud Light, which will take place Friday and Saturday from 2-7:30 p.m. CT in the Seven Corners Parking Lot, across W. 7th Street from Xcel Energy Center. Fan Fest will feature some of Saint Paul’s best food vendors, drinks, music and interactive games to get fans excited prior to the games. Admission is free to Fan Fest both days.
After the games each night, fans should head over to New Bohemia Wurst + Bier Haus and the Seventh Street Truck Park, located down 7th Street from Xcel Energy Center, for the official NCHC Post-Game Party. Other events surrounding the NCHC Frozen Faceoff include the NCHC Fan Skate, on Thursday, March 16, which is free to the public and takes place on the ice at Xcel Energy Center, as well as the NCHC Awards Celebration on the evening of March 16. A craft brewery tour is also available on three different days for those wanting to sample Saint Paul’s finest breweries, while practices on Thursday and Friday are open to the public. For a complete listing of events around the Frozen Faceoff, click here, and for complete coverage and Frozen Faceoff information, visit Frozen Faceoff Live.
Tickets to the 2018 NCHC Frozen Faceoff are on sale now for both all-session and single-day session tickets. For more information on or to purchase Frozen Faceoff tickets, visit NCHCHockey.com/tickets. Discounted hotel rates in Saint Paul are available at NCHCHockey.com/hotels.