New England teams made up half of the 16-team field in this year’s NCAA hockey tournament, and that pattern will hold true as Quinnipiac and Boston College skate into Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. to play in the 2016 Frozen Four.
The No. 1 overall seed Quinnipiac Bobcats (31-3-7) are back in the semifinals for the first time since 2013 after winning both the ECAC regular-season and tournament championships for the first time in school history. The team dominated the East Region with 4-0 and 4-1 wins over RIT and UMass Lowell, respectively.
Their top-scorer, Sam Anas, had been nursing a shoulder injury prior to tournament play, but the junior has suited up for both games and played well, including this eventual game-winning dangle Sunday night:
— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) March 28, 2016
Quinnipiac will go up against Boston College, the No. 2 seed from the Northeast Region.
The Eagles are headed to the Frozen Four for the 25th time in school history following a 3-2 victory over Minnesota Duluth on Saturday night. They have played in 11 of the last 16 Frozen Fours and are seeking their fourth championship since 2008.
Boston College is loaded with future NHL talent per usual, with 12 NHL picks on this year’s roster.
Thatcher Demko, a Vancouver Canucks prospect, has emerged as one of the top goalkeepers in the nation. His .936 save percentage ranks second among Division I goalies behind Army’s Patrick Gahagen.
Ottawa Senators first-round pick Colin White has 19 goals and 23 assists for 42 points this season, putting him fourth among the nation’s freshman.
On the other side of the bracket will be North Dakota taking on Denver in a battle between the two furthest west teams in the entire tournament.
The North Dakota Fighting Hawks are in the Frozen Four for the third straight year after defeating the red-hot Northeastern Huskies in the first round, 6-2, then taking down the Wolverines of Michigan in the quarterfinals, 5-2. They will be looking for their first title since 2000.
The Denver squad is making its first Frozen Four appearance in 11 years, but will enter play as one of the hottest teams in the nation, sporting an impressive 18-2-2 run. They are led by sophomore Bruins prospect Danton Heinen, who leads the team with 48 points, 10th in the nation.
BC vs Quinnipiac.
Denver vs North Dakota.
The Frozen Four is set. pic.twitter.com/ca9EEmkomU
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 28, 2016
The Big Bad Bruins