Semifinal Matchups, Times Set for 2024 NCHC Frozen Faceoff

Omaha to face North Dakota in first semifinal at 4 p.m. on Friday at Xcel Energy Center,

followed by St. Cloud State against Denver at 7:30 p.m.

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Following a pair of NCHC Quarterfinal Game 3s Sunday night, all four berths in the 2024 NCHC Frozen Faceoff, set for March 22-23, have been locked up. No. 5 ranked North Dakota and No. 3 Denver swept their way to Saint Paul, while No. 18 St. Cloud State and No. 12 Omaha needed all three games to book their trip to Xcel Energy Center.

With matchups set, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference announced the start times for each Frozen Faceoff semifinal at Xcel Energy Center on Friday, March 22. Fifth-seeded Omaha will face top-seeded North Dakota in the first contest at 4 p.m., while No. 3 seed St. Cloud State will tangle with second-seeded Denver in the night cap at 7:30 p.m. The winners then advance to the championship game on Saturday, March 23 with puck drop set for 7:38 p.m. at Xcel Energy Center. All three Frozen Faceoff games will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.

North Dakota (26-10-2) swept eighth-seeded Miami in the NCHC Quarterfinals by a combined score of 12-2 to earn a fourth straight trip to the conference semifinals. The 2023-24 Penrose Cup champions have made nine of the 10 Frozen Faceoffs in NCHC history, but UND’s lone NCHC Tournament title came in 2021 on home ice at Ralph Engelstad Arena. The Fighting Hawks are 2-6 all-time in the Frozen Faceoff semifinals.

Omaha (22-11-4) topped No. 4 seed and No. 10 ranked Colorado College in three games over the weekend to earn its first-ever trip to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff. The Mavericks dropped Friday’s quarterfinal opener in overtime, but bounced back for 3-1 and 2-1 wins, with Sunday’s one-goal win giving Omaha its first trip to the conference semifinals since 2001 in the CCHA. The Mavericks were the lone road team and lower seed to win an NCHC Quarterfinal series this year. UNO heads to Saint Paul after going 6-1-0 in its last seven games and 8-1-1 in its last 10.

Omaha took three of four games against North Dakota during the regular season, including sweeping UND in Omaha just two weekends ago for the first time in program history. In Grand Forks on Jan. 12-13, the Mavericks won in overtime to open the series, while the Fighting Hawks won in regulation the next night.

Denver (26-9-3) swept No. 7 seed Minnesota Duluth a combined 9-2 to win its NCHC Quarterfinal series. The Pioneers are the lone team to make all 10 Frozen Faceoffs in conference history. DU has captured a pair of NCHC Tournament titles, winning the inaugural Frozen Faceoff in 2014 and claiming the crown again in 2018 in the first Frozen Faceoff at Xcel Energy Center. However, the Pioneers are only 2-7 in their nine appearances in the NCHC semifinals. Denver heads to Saint Paul having won six of seven games and, like Omaha, is 8-1-1 in its last 10 games.

St. Cloud State (17-15-5) needed three games to dispatch of sixth-seeded and 14th-ranked Western Michigan in the NCHC Quarterfinals. The Huskies won Friday’s opener, 5-2, then used a 5-1 win on Sunday night to punch their ticket back to the Frozen Faceoff after dropping Saturday’s Game 2. SCSU is the defending Frozen Faceoff champions, winning its second NCHC Tournament title last season (also in 2016). The Huskies are making their seventh trip to the Frozen Faceoff overall and are a perfect 6-0 in the NCHC semifinals.

The Pioneers and Huskies met four times during the regular season with Denver going 3-0-1 in those games, including sweeping SCSU in St. Cloud back on March 1-2. The teams have met twice before at the Frozen Faceoff, splitting a pair of games. The Huskies won a semifinal in 2016 while Denver won its second Frozen Faceoff title over SCSU in 2018.

All-session and single-day tickets to the 2024 Frozen Faceoff are on sale and can be purchased HERE, while ticket information can be found here. Discounted student tickets to the Frozen Faceoff are available through each participating team’s athletic department ticket office.

In addition to the three Frozen Faceoff games at Xcel Energy Center Friday and Saturday, fans in Saint Paul will have plenty of other events and activities to participate in. On Thursday, March 21, fans can attend team practices throughout the day, starting at 10:15 a.m. and running until 3 p.m. Fans attending practices should enter Xcel Energy Center through Gate 1, which will open at 10 a.m. Following each practice on Thursday, a press conference will be held with the head coach and select student-athletes. Fans can watch all of Thursday’s press conferences live (or archived) for free on NCHC.tv.

Later on Thursday night, the Conference will host its annual NCHC Awards Celebration at the St. Paul Event Center, when the Conference will announce its individual award winners. Parents and guests of participating teams and individual award winners are welcome and may purchase tickets to the NCHC Awards Celebration by RSVPing to Heather Weems (hweems@nchchockey.com) by Monday, March 18 at 5 p.m. Fans and family members not in attendance can watch the event live for free on NCHC.tv. The Awards Celebration begins at 5:15 p.m. That same night back at Xcel Energy Center, fans can skate on the same ice as the Frozen Faceoff as part of the annual NCHC Fan Skate, which runs from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Thursday night.

Fan Fest once again returns to the Frozen Faceoff on Friday and Saturday, before the hockey games each day. Featuring music, tasty food and drinks, interactive games like bubble hockey, air hockey and more, Fan Fest will take place on Friday from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at a new location, Smorgie’s Bar & Restaurant (127 7th St. W), across from Xcel Energy Center. Fan Fest is free and open to the public.

Prior to the Frozen Faceoff Championship Game Saturday night, the Minnesota Wild battle the St. Louis Blues at Xcel Energy Center at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon. A separate ticket is required for the Wild game.

Fans traveling to Saint Paul for the Frozen Faceoff can book hotel rooms through a special link from Visit Saint Paul here.

For more information on Xcel Energy Center and its fan policies, including bag policy, click here. For the latest Frozen Faceoff news, schedule, videos and more, visit NCHChockey.com and NCHC.tv, and follow the NCHC on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

 GAME SCHEDULE

Friday, March 22 (times CT) 

·       Omaha vs. North Dakota – 4:07 p.m.

·       St. Cloud State vs. Denver – 7:37 p.m.

Saturday, March 23 (times CT) 

·       Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues – 1 p.m. (separate ticket required)

·       Championship Game – 7:38 p.m.

PRACTICE SCHEDULE (open to public/enter through Gate 1)

Thursday, March 21 (times CT) 

·       Practice 1: 10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

·       Practice 2: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

·       Practice 3: 12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

·       Practice 4: 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.