NCAA DI Men's Hockey

Frozen Four: NCAA Men's Hockey Tournament Predictions

Frozen Four: NCAA Men's Hockey Tournament Predictions

College hockey analyst Chris Peters offers his predictions for the 2024 NCAA men's hockey tournament regionals.

Mar 27, 2024 by Chris Peters

Over four days, the best men’s college hockey teams in the country will battle it out for a trip to St. Paul to play in the 2024 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four. The regional portion of the NCAA men’s tournament has often been a difficult proving ground for top teams as anything can happen in single elimination and one bad game or sometimes even one mistake can end your season.

This year’s tournament field is absolutely loaded with talent and every team has to believe they can go on a run. 

To get you ready for the tournament ahead, longtime college hockey analyst Chris Peters delivers his tournament predictions for the 2024 NCAA men’s hockey tournament regionals.

Providence Regional Predictions

Boston College vs. Michigan Tech Predictions

Boston College 5, Michigan Tech 1

No one has been able to slow down Boston College and I don’t think Michigan Tech is going to be the team to do it. There’s no question the Huskies have the capability to hang with top teams and they’ve got a goalie that can steal a game, but the Eagles are playing too well.

While much of the focus is on the scoring attack BC has, goaltender Jacob Fowler (MTL) has a winning pedigree and has played some of his best hockey down the stretch. As Mike McMahon said as a guest on our Talking Hockey Sense podcast, Fowler just may be the most important player for BC’s title chase.

Quinnipiac vs. Wisconsin Predictions

Quinnipiac 2, Wisconsin 1

This is a very tough game to predict as you’ve got two teams with tremendous structure, more than enough offensive firepower and solid goaltending. Wisconsin has been one of the best teams all season in terms of goal prevention, but they’ve sat idle the last few weeks after losing in the Big Ten quarterfinal against Ohio State.

Quinnipiac also lost in their conference tournament, but the defending national champs have experience on their side. I also think their offensive prowess is a bit more pronounced than Wisconsin’s. I expect a tight matchup between teams coached by Mike Hastings and Rand Pecknold.

Providence Regional Final Predictions

Boston College 4, Quinnipiac 2

The Eagles played Quinnipiac at the beginning of the season and beat them 2-1 in OT. That was before Boston College really got its offense cooking. They’re now averaging 4.5 goals per game. Offense won’t be easy to come by here, but I think the Eagles still find a way.

Springfield Regional Predictions

Denver vs. UMass Predictions

Denver 4, UMass 3

This is basically a home game for UMass as they’ll be just 30 minutes from their own campus. Denver, meanwhile has to fly across the country and that’s not an insignificant factor. DU may still not have Massimo Rizzo (PHI) healthy, which also makes things difficult.

That said, UMass has just one win against top-15 teams this season. They’ve battled inconsistency and spells where they struggled offensively. Denver has a number of offensive weapons led by Hobey Baker finalist Jack Devine (FLA) that can find the net and goaltender Matt Davis has been a difference maker of late.

Cornell vs. UMass Predictions

Cornell 3, Maine 2

I am so excited for this particular matchup because I think they’re two competing styles. Maine has some real offensive flair, while Cornell is a team that loves to gum up a game. I think the latter style often serves a team better in the playoffs. The Big Red lead the NCAA with the fewest goals allowed per game with an average of 1.9 goals against.

Cornell has gotten spectacular goaltending this year from Ian Shane and their defensive group doesn’t cut corners. Meanwhile, there’s enough offensive talent up front to put pressure on the opposition offensively. I think Cornell’s heaviness and defensive structure may be a bad matchup for a Maine squad that boasts two of the nation’s top freshmen in Josh and Bradly Nadeau (CAR).

Springfield Regional Final Predictions

Cornell 2, Denver 1

Cornell is a real dark horse as they only were able to reach the tournament based on winning ECAC as they were on the Pairwise bubble. They found a way to win there and I think they can do it again in this regional, especially if Denver is still missing Massimo Rizzo.

Boston University vs. RIT Predictions

Boston University 4, RIT 2

I really feel RIT is a legitimate upset threat to BU. They’ve got some structure, veteran scoring led by Carter Wilkie and a goaltender that has been on fire of late in Tommy Scarfone. Despite my confidence in RIT’s ability, BU’s dynamic skill is the difference for me. 

BU has a number of players that can take over a game at any time led by freshman sensation Macklin Celebrini, the projected No. 1 pick in the upcoming NHL Draft. I don’t think BU is without holes and they’ve been somewhat inconsistent at times this season, but I think they’ve got more players that can push them through this first round than RIT does.

Minnesota vs. Omaha Predictions

Minnesota 5, Omaha 3

Omaha has picked up some very interesting wins including three straight over North Dakota to close out their season. They fell just short of an NCHC playoff title, but still played their way into the tournament as an at-large bid. The biggest difference between them and Minneosta could be experience.

The Gophers have a lot of players back from last year’s NCAA finalist team that lost in heartbreaking fashion. They’re hungry to avenge that. However, the Gophers have struggled to stay consistent and they’ve basically had to rebuild their blue line from last year, which has been their Achilles heel at times. I still think they’ve got enough depth to outlast Omaha in the first round, though.

Sioux Falls Regional Final Predictions

Boston University 5, Minnesota 4

A rematch from last year’s Frozen Four, this time I think BU has the better outfit to get past Minnesota. Defensively neither team should scare the other, but I do think BU’s best offensive weapons have played better than Minnesota’s best offensive weapons this year and that will be the difference.

Maryland Heights Regional Predictions

Michigan State vs. Western Michigan Predictions

Michigan State 4, Western Michigan 3

This is a really tough matchup for a No. 1 seed, but Michigan State has stepped up time and time again this season. I think Western Michigan has a real shot if goalie Cameron Rowe is at the top of his game. Western has the horses to skate with Michigan State.

That said, Michigan State’s advantage to me is a very reliable Trey Augustine (DET) in net. They also have a talented D corps led by freshman Artyom Levshunov and a number of transfer additions that have bolstered their offensive attack. The Spartans are vulnerable, but I don’t think the Big Ten champs are going out in the first round.

North Dakota vs. Michigan Predictions

North Dakota 5, Michigan 3

This is a dream matchup between two of college hockey’s true blue bloods. Bot teams have had highs and lows this season, but North Dakota has probably been the more reliably consistent of the two. That said, Michigan’s shown an ability to outscore their problems and if their offense gets rolling it’s very hard to stop.

The difference in this game to me is North Dakota’s defensive capabilities. They have a number of blueliners that play disciplined, get in lanes and make things harder on the opposition. It will slow Michigan’s skill down in a way that is similar to what Quinnipiac did to them last year in the Frozen Four. 

This is an absolutely star-studded affair in terms of NHL prospects in this game, but I think the difference-makers are going to be a lot of North Dakota’s undrafted, older defensemen who will be more disciplined in the face of Michigan’s incredible skill. 

Maryland Heights Regional Final Predictions

North Dakota 2, Michigan State 1

This is another dream matchup with great teams on both sides. I’ve got North Dakota winning this one largely on the back of their Hobey Baker finalist Jackson Blake. He has been near unstoppable and I think he’ll make a claim for his spot in the Hobey Hat Trick here. But this will by no means be an easy game. This should be an absolute battle to the finish.

Frozen Four Predictions

The four teams I'm predicting to reach the 2024 NCAA Men's Frozen Four are: 

  • Boston College
  • Boston University
  • Cornell
  • North Dakota

NCAA Hockey Regionals Schedule

Here’s the schedule:

Thursday, March 28:

  • 2:00 p.m. ET -  No. 3 Denver vs. UMass in Springfield (ESPN2/ ESPN+)
  • 5:00 p.m. ET - No. 2 Boston University vs. RIT in Sioux Falls (ESPNU/ ESPN+)
  • 5:30 p.m. ET - Maine vs. Cornell in Springfield (ESPNEWS/ ESPN+)
  • 8:30 p.m. ET - Minnesota vs. Omaha in Sioux Falls (ESPNU/ ESPN+).

Friday, March 29:

  • 2:00 p.m. ET - No. 1 Boston College vs. Michigan Tech in Providence (ESPNU/ ESPN+)
  • 5:00 p.m. ET - No. 4 Michigan State vs. Western Michigan in Maryland Heights (ESPNU/ ESPN+)
  • 5:30 p.m. ET - Wisconsin vs. Quinnipiac in Providence (ESPNEWS/ ESPN+)
  • 8:30 p.m. ET - North Dakota vs. Michigan in Maryland Heights (ESPNU/ ESPN+).

Saturday, March 30:

  • 4:00 p.m. ET - Regional Final Game 1 at Springfield (ESPNU/ ESPN+)
  • 6:30 p.m. ET - Regional Final Game 2 at Sioux Falls (ESPNU/ ESPN+).

Sunday, March 31:

  • 4:00 p.m. ET - Regional Final Game 1 at Providence (ESPN2/ ESPN+)
  • 6:30 p.m. ET - Regional Final Game 2 at Maryland Heights (ESPNU/ ESPN+).

Frozen Four 2024 Schedule

Here is the schedule: 

Frozen Four 2024 National Semifinals:

Thursday, April 11:

  • 5:00 p.m. ET - Semifinal 1 at Xcel Energy Center | St. Paul, MN (ESPN2/ ESPN+)
  • 8:30 p.m. ET - Semifinal 2 at Xcel Energy Center | St. Paul, MN (ESPN2/ ESPN+).

Frozen Four 2024 National Championship Game

Saturday, April 13:

  • 6:00 p.m. ET - National Championship at Xcel Energy Center | St. Paul, MN (ESPN2/ ESPN+).

Where To Watch The 2024 NCAA Men's Hockey Tournament

ESPN's family of networks is the broadcast home for the 2024 NCAA men's hockey tournament. Regional games will primarily air on ESPNU and ESPNEWS with select games airing on ESPN2. All games will also stream exclusively on ESPN+.

NCAA Hockey Tournament Locations 2024

The 2024 NCAA Men’s Hockey regionals are played in four different locations. 

  • Maryland Heights, Mo. | Centene Community Ice Center 
  • Providence, R.I. | Amica Mutual Pavilion 
  • Sioux Falls S.D. | Denny Sanford PREMIER Center
  • Springfield, Mass. | MassMutual Center

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