The nightcap in St. Paul features two teams who have combined for 16 national titles, Michigan and North Dakota.
The Wolverines, who won the CCHA regular season crown, are on a nice streak, having won 11 of their last 12 games. However, Michigan’s streak seems modest compared to the one the Sioux have built. UND hasn’t lost since the last weekend in January, going 14-0-1 during that stretch.
Michigan will have to rely on goalie Shawn Hunwick and pointman Jon Merrill to play keys roles in tonight’s game, because North Dakota is one of the deepest teams in college hockey. Led by Hobey Baker finalist Matt Frattin, the Sioux will roll four lines, get production out of each of them and try to break down the Wolverines with their speed, size and physicality.
Players to watch
Michigan boasts a dangerous duo in Carl Hagelin and Louie Caporusso, who have combined for 78 points. Hunwick was the West Regional MVP, holding the Wolverines’ opponents to three goals on the weekend.
For the Sioux, Frattin is the obvious player to focus on. The senior forward has a national-best 36 goals, is second in points and hasn’t been held off the scoresheet since North Dakota’s last loss. Aaron Dell, the WCHA goaltender of the year, has been nearly unbeatable at times this year, collecting six shutouts and a .924 save percentage.
Michigan is a remarkable 21-1-3 when scoring first this season. Hagelin has seven power play goals in 2010-11, and boasts five career NCAA tournament points in eight games.
The Sioux aren’t only deep up front, but have maybe the best blueline in the nation. Their best defenseman, Chay Genoway, is only one of two pointmen not drafted by an NHL squad.
Carl Hagelin—Louie Caporusso—Chris Brown
Scooter Vaughan—Kevin Lynch—AJ Treais
Ben Winnett—Matt Rust—Luke Glendening
Luke Moffatt—Jeff Rohrkemper—Derek DeBlois
Jon Merrill—Chad Langlais
Kevin Clare—Greg Pateryn
Lee Moffie—Mac Bennett
Evan Trupp—Brad Malone—Matt Frattin
Jason Gregoire—Corban Knight—Brett Hextall
Brent Davidson—Brock Nelson—Danny Kristo
Mario Lamoureux—Carter Rowney—Derek Rodwell
Derek Forbort—Ben Blood
Andrew MacWilliam—Chay Genoway
Derrick LaPoint—Jake Marto