Frozen Four Preview: Minnesota Duluth vs Ohio State
After a loss to Denver in the National Championship game last season, the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs are on their way back to the Frozen Four.
The only non-Big Ten team in the Frozen Four, the Bulldogs will look to win a National Championship in the same building that they won it all in back in 2011. The Bulldogs will have to get through the Ohio State Buckeyes first, with the two teams facing off in St. Paul on Thursday, April 5th at 5 pm CT on ESPN 2. After that game is completed, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will take on the Michigan Wolverines. The winners of both games will meet on Saturday night to determine a National Champion.
The Bulldogs vs Buckeyes game is an interesting one. Duluth was literally the last team to make it into the tournament as it was between them and the Minnesota Golden Gophers for the last spot. Ohio State had a little different path, as they were a 1 seed going into the tournament.
The Bulldogs had an uphill battle to climb right away in the NCAA Tournament. They were down 2-0 in the first period against in-state rival Mankato before making a comeback and winning 3-2 in overtime. The next night, the roles were reversed as the Bulldogs were the ones with a 2-0 lead, but that lead stood and Duluth cashed in their ticket to a second straight Frozen Four trip.
The Ohio State Buckeyes scored two goals within 20 seconds in the first period of their opening game of the tournament along with two more in the third period to get by Princeton 4-2. The Buckeyes than went on to defeat the defending champs Denver with a resounding 5-1 victory. This marks the first Frozen Four trip for Ohio State since their first and only appearance in 1988 in which they lost to Boston College in the semifinals.
The two teams never played each other this season. Ohio State has the more impressive tournament resume with the wins over Mankato and Denver, but Duluth has a huge advantage in home ice. Duluth is roughly 150 miles away from St. Paul and no doubt will have the crowd advantage, which can't be overlooked. The Xcel Energy Center also holds good memories for the Bulldogs, as the last time the Frozen Four was held there, the Bulldogs beat Michigan for title.
Who's ready for some college hockey this weekend?