MINNEAPOLIS (March 14, 2016 ) – With the field set for the 2016 National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Frozen Faceoff, the NCHC has announced times for both semifinal match-ups on Friday, March 18 at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis.
The first semifinal Friday will feature top-seeded No. 2/2 North Dakota facing fourth-seeded No. 20/15 Minnesota Duluth at4:08 p.m. CT. The second semifinal then features a top-10 battle between second-seeded No. 5/5 St. Cloud State and third-seeded No. 6/6 Denver. Both semifinal contests, along with the Frozen Faceoff championship game, will be televised live nationally on CBS Sports Network.
“After considering many factors, including the student-athletes, the fans and television, the conference has decided to place an emphasis on bracket integrity with the announcement of game times for Friday’s semifinals,” NCHC Commissioner Josh Fenton said. “Being the top seed in this year’s tournament, North Dakota expressed their desire to play in the first semifinal on March 18. Our membership has indicated it is important to protect the top seed, which was earned throughout the regular season. I expect our membership to have further discussion on this topic in the future.“
The two semifinal winners then advance to the championship game at Target Center on Saturday, March 19 at 7:38 p.m. CT when the Frozen Faceoff champion will be crowned. The two semifinal losers meet first on Saturday in the third-place game at 3:30 p.m. CT. The third-place game is the only Frozen Faceoff game not on CBS Sports Network as that game will be streamed live on NCHC.tv.
The first semifinal pits back-to-back Penrose Cup champions North Dakota against Frozen Faceoff newcomer Minnesota Duluth. UND (30-5-3) heads to Minneapolis on an eight-game winning streak after sweeping eighth-seeded Colorado College in the NCHC Quarterfinals this past weekend. The Fighting Hawks, who won the 2015-16 NCHC regular-season title, have made all three Frozen Faceoffs but are yet to advance to the championship game yet. The Bulldogs (17-14-5) are making their first appearance at the Frozen Faceoff after sweeping fifth-seeded Miami in the quarterfinals last weekend, which marked UMD”s first two NCHC Tournament wins of any kind. The Bulldogs are riding a season-long six-game winning streak entering the Frozen Faceoff. North Dakota won all four meetings between the teams during the regular season though this is their first ever NCHC Tournament meeting.
The second semifinal features a pair of teams that tied for second place in the NCHC and are making return trips to Target Center for the Frozen Faceoff. St. Cloud State (29-8-1) is appearing in its second straight Frozen Faceoff after earning runner-up honors last season when the Huskies fell to Miami in the 2015 title game. SCSU enters the postseason on a four-game winning streak after sweeping seventh-seeded Western Michigan in the quarterfinals last weekend. Like UND, Denver (23-8-5) earned its third straight trip to the Frozen Faceoff, winning the inaugural NCHC Tournament crown in 2014 before taking third place last season. The Pioneers are riding an NCAA-best 11-game win streak into the semifinals, including sweeping sixth-seeded No. 17 Omaha in the NCHC Quarterfinals last weekend. SCSU swept Denver in Denver back onDec. 11-12 in the teams’ only meetings of the season. This will mark the first NCHC Tournament meeting between the teams.
For the first time in the three-year history of the NCHC, all four higher seeds advanced to the Frozen Faceoff, while all four quarterfinals series ended in sweeps for the first time as well. All four participating teams head to Target Center on winning streaks of at least four games while all four are all ranked in the top 15 nationally as well.
“We believe the 2016 Frozen Faceoff will be the best experience that we have seen yet for fans and look forward to welcoming people from all four teams at Target Center this weekend,” Fenton said.
Along with the hockey games, the popular NCHC Fan Fest will once again be held at Target Center prior to games each day, including outside on 1st Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets on Friday, March 18. Fan Fest will once again feature some of Minneapolis’ best food vendors, drinks, live music and interactive games to get people excited prior to semifinal games in Target Center. Admission is free to Fan Fest on Friday, while those with a ticket for Saturday can attend Fan Fest when it moves indoors.
In addition, an official NCHC Post-Game Party with drink and appetizer specials will also take place after the games each night at 508 Bar & Restaurant, which is only one block from Target Center. Other events surrounding the NCHC Frozen Faceoff include an NCHC Fan Skate, presented by Sports Minneapolis, on Thursday, March 17, which is free to the public and takes place on the ice at Target Center, as well as the NCHC Awards Celebration on the evening of March 17. For a complete listing of events and other Frozen Faceoff information, visit Frozen Faceoff Live.
For tickets to the 2016 NCHC Frozen Faceoff, visit AXS.com, call 1-888-AXS-TIX (929-7849) or visit Target Center’s box office. For additional NCHC Media Information Contact: Michael Weisman, Director of Communications| Email:[email protected]