The 2019 NCAA hockey tournament is down to the Frozen Four and 18 former BCHLers, representing nine BCHL clubs, are still alive and competing for a national championship.
The Merritt Centennials will have two alums in the mix for the NCAA Division 1 Championship.
The Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs will take on the Providence Friars in the first semifinal on Thursday at 2 p.m. PDT at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y. Semifinal number two sees the Massachusetts Minutemen and the Denver Pioneers going head to head at 5:30 p.m PDT.
The Bulldogs are the defending national champions after defeating Notre Dame 2-1 in last year's final and are making their third-straight appearance in the Frozen Four after they beat Bowling Green 2-1 in overtime and Quinnipiac by a score of 3-1 to advance to the final weekend of the tournament. Quinnipiac featured 2 Centennials alums in Nick Jermain and Zach Metsa.
This will be the fifth Frozen Four appearance for Providence and the first since they won their first and only national championship in 2015 when they defeated Boston University 4-3 in the finals. There are five BCHL alums on the Friars roster, including two of the team's top scorers in Merritt Centennials alum and Minnesota Wild draft pick Brandon Duhaime (33 points) and former Penticton Vees forward Scott Conway(29 points). The Friars got to the Frozen Four by beating Minnesota State 6-3 and Cornell 4-0 on the first weekend of the tournament. Minnesota State featured former Cents goaltender Jacob Berger, and Cornell featured former Cents forward Michael Regush.
UMass is making their first ever appearance in the Frozen Four after they had a pair of 4-0 wins over Harvard and Notre Dame on the first weekend of the tournament. The Minutemen are led by Hobey Baker finalist and Hockey East Player of the Year Cale Makar. The sophomore defenceman and former AJHL standout was drafted fourth overall by the Colorado Avalanche in 2017 and won a gold medal with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships in 2018.
The Pioneers lead the way with 10 BCHL grads on their roster. This is the third time in the last four years Denver has made it to the Frozen Four and their first since winning their eighth national championship in 2017, which is second only to Michigan's nine titles. Like UMass, they have yet to surrender a goal during the tournament as they beat Ohio State 2-0 and American International 3-0 on the opening weekend. The Pioneers have former Centennials forward Tyler Ward on the roster who has 5 goals and 9 assists on the year.
Thursday's semifinals will be broadcast on TSN2. The national championship game takes place on Saturday at 5p.m. PST and will be broadcast on TSN.ca and on the TSN app.