The field for the 2021 NCAA Frozen Four at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh was locked in Sunday night, as were the game times.
Minnesota Duluth, the defending back-to-back national champions, will take on Massachusetts at 8 p.m. CT on Thursday, April 8 on ESPN2 in the second of two national semifinal games.
Minnesota State-Mankato, making its first Frozen Four after beating Minnesota on Sunday, takes on St. Cloud State at 4 p.m. CT on April 8 on ESPN2.
The winners will play for the national championship at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 10, in Pittsburgh.
The entirety of last year's NCAA tournament, including the Frozen Four, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bulldogs beat the Minutemen in the last NCAA championship game two years ago at KeyBank Arena in Buffalo, 3-0, to win back-to-back national championships. Making their fourth-straight Frozen Four appearance, the Bulldogs are attempting to become just the second team to ever three-peat as national champions, joining the 1951, 1952 and 1953 Michigan Wolverines.
If UMD reaches the NCAA title game for a fourth-straight time, it will square off against a familiar foe either way.
St. Cloud State is not only the Bulldogs' chief NCHC rival, which it has played seven times already this season, but their coach is Brett Larson, a former assistant of Scott Sandelin. Larson, a native of Duluth, helped coach the Bulldogs to NCAA titles in 2011 and 2018.
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Minnesota State is coached by Mike Hastings, under whom Sandelin coached at the 2019 World Junior Championship. Sandelin's son, Ryan, is also a sophomore forward for the Mavericks. Ryan Sandelin scored two goals in the Loveland regional this weekend, including the overtime game-winner on Saturday against Quinnipiac.
Ryan Sandelin is one of six Hermantown natives playing in this year's Frozen Four, along with teammate Wyatt Aamodt, a junior defenseman. The other four former Hawks — Darian Gotz, Blake Biondi, Cole Koepke and Jesse Jacques — all play for the Bulldogs.