Wednesday, February 28

Michigan to Face Off Against Denver in 26th NCAA Frozen Four Appearance – University of Michigan Athletics

Michigan to Face Off Against Denver in 26th NCAA Frozen Four Appearance

4/4/2022 8:39:00 PM

// Kristy McNeil

» Thursday’s (April 7) semifinal vs. Denver will be Michigan’s 86th all-time NCAA Tournament game.
» Michigan’s last national championship in 1998 was won in Boston at The Garden, site of this year’s Frozen Four.
» The Michigan-Denver winner will play Minnesota or Minnesota State in the national championship game on Saturday.

Thursday, April 7 — vs. Denver – NCAA semifinal (Boston, Mass.), 5 p.m.
TV: ESPN2 | Live Stats | Live Audio | Live Video

• Complete Game Notes (PDF)
• Michigan Frozen Four Central
• NCAA Bracket

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan ice hockey team (31-9-1) will face Denver in the first semifinal of the 2022 NCAA Frozen Four on Thursday (April 7) in Boston. Puck drop is slated for 5 p.m. at TD Garden and on ESPN2.

Wolverine Bites

• Michigan is 31-9-1 after beating American International and Quinnipiac to win the Midwest Region two weeks ago. U-M is in the NCAA Frozen Four for the 26th time.

• The Wolverines checked in at No. 2 in both the USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls, receiving the second-most first-place votes in each.

• Thursday’s semifinal against Denver will mark Michigan’s 86th all-time NCAA Tournament game. The Wolverines, with an NCAA-record nine national championships, have assembled a 55-30 all-time record in tournament play. They last won it all in 1998.

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• 2022 Big Ten scoring champion and unanimous first-team all-B1G choice Matty Beniers sits atop the U-M stat sheet with 43 points (20g, 23a) and a conference-leading 10 power-play goals, while second-team All-B1G Brendan Brisson (21g, 21a) has 42 points and a team-leading six game-winning tallies.

• B1G co-Freshman of the Year Luke Hughes, the nation’s top-scoring defenseman and CHN’s Freshman of the Year, has 17 goals and 39 points, followed by two forwards who were tabbed as All-B1G honorable mention: Kent Johnson, who enters with 37 points (8g, 29a), and last season’s leading scorer Thomas Bordeleau, at 36 points (11g, 25a) along with a 56.2% faceoff clip.

• Sophomore stalwart Owen Power returned from Olympic play to anchor the blue line with 32 points (3g, 29a) and was rewarded with a first-team All-B1G spot. First-year winger Mackie Samoskevich (10g, 19a) has been excellent since the WJC to sit at 29 points and earned a Big Ten All-Freshman team spot alongside Hughes.

• Beniers and Hughes were each tabbed as Hobey Baker top-10 finalists. Michigan and Minnesota State (Dryden McKay, Nathan Smith) are the only schools with multiple finalists.

• Power leads the Wolverines with 49 blocked shots, while captain Nick Blankenburg is second with 46. Blankenburg, another honorable mention all-conference pick, also set career highs offensively as a senior this season with 14 goals, 15 assists and 29 points.

• Sophomore Erik Portillo has started every game in net for the Wolverines this season. He has a 31-9-1 record including three shutouts, a .926 save percentage, and a 2.13 goals-against average. The Swedish standout is second in the NCAA with 1,081 saves as well as 31 wins. The Mike Richter Award semifinalist was named second-team All-B1G, a finalist for B1G Goaltender of the Year, and the Most Outstanding Player of both the B1G Tournament and the NCAA Midwest Regional in Allentown, Pa.

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Scouting the Pioneers

• Denver enters the Frozen Four, its 18th all-time appearance, with a 29-9-1 record after capturing the West Regional with wins over UMass Lowell, 3-2, and Minnesota Duluth, 2-1.

• Head coach David Carle’s team, led by forward Bobby Brink (Hobey Baker Hat Trick), boasts the top-scoring offense in the nation at 4.28 goals per game to earn a share of the NCHC’s regular-season title before falling in the NCHC semifinals to Duluth.

• The Denver forward corps is highlighted by Brink, who paces the nation with 42 assists and 56 points and stands a good chance of winning the Hobey. Seniors Cole Guttman (19-26-45) and Brett Stapley (16-25-41) and transfer Cameron Wright (21-10-31) provide experience for the group, while underclassmen Carter Savoie (22-22-44), Carter Mazur (14-22-36) and Massimo Rizzo (11-23-34) continuously play beyond their years.

• On the back end, the Pioneers are ranked 13th in team defense (2.31 goals per game). Sophomore Mike Benning leads the group with 14 goals and 34 points, while freshmen Sean Behrens (3-26-29) and Shai Buium (3-14-17) have stepped into the lineup with ease.

• The Pioneers have leaned on netminder Magnus Chrona this season. The Swede is 26-8-1 with six shutouts along with a 2.16 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.

Up Next

The Michigan-Denver winner will advance to the NCAA championship game and face the winner of Minnesota and Minnesota State on Saturday (April 9) at 8 p.m.

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