newjerseydevils.com – The stage is set for the NCAA’s Frozen Four, and tonight continues the march toward the men’s ice hockey national championship.
The Maine Black Bears (23-14-2, 14-12-1 Hockey East) battle the Michigan State Spartans (24-13-3, 15-10-3 WCHA) at 4 p.m. EDT to open Thursday’s semifinal action at the Scottrade Center in St Louis.
The Black Bears appeared in last year’s Frozen Four, while the Spartans have gone six years since their last Frozen Four berth in 2001.
Each team has two NCAA championships to their credit, with Maine having prevailed in 1993 and 1999, and Michigan State in 1966 and 1986.
The second semifinal game of the evening pits the Hockey East tournament-winning Boston College Golden Eagles (28-11-1, 18-8-1 Hockey East) against the North Dakota Fighting Sioux (24-13-5, 13-10-5 WCHA) at 8 p.m. EDT.
Both teams reached last year’s Frozen Four, but this season the Eagles come in riding a 12-game winning streak, currently the longest in the nation. Boston College has won two national titles, most recently in 2001.
The Sioux, however, will be looking to raise an eighth championship banner to the rafters of Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks. Their mark of seven national championships ties the Sioux with the Denver Pioneers for second all-time, and only Michigan’s nine titles rank higher.
The winners of tonight’s semifinals will play in the NCAA Tournament final at the Scottrade Center on Saturday, April 7 at 7 p.m.
with wire services