2013 Frozen Four Semifinal Preview: Hobey Finalists square off in battle between St. Cloud and Quinnipiac

Quinnipiac senior goaltender Eric Hartzell - QU Athletics

Two of the three Hobey Hat Trick Finalists will be playing in the second semifinal at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh tonight. Senior goaltender Eric Hartzell of Quinnipiac will look to stop St. Cloud senior Drew LeBlanc and the rest of the Huskies.

East Regional Champs

QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY (29-7-5 Overall, 17-2-3 ECAC)

Head Coach: Rand Pecknold (Connecticut College '90)

Nickname: Bobcats

Location: Hamden, CT

Enrollment: 8,400

Frozen Four appearances: None

NHL Draft Picks: 3

Vs.

Midwest Regional Champs

ST. CLOUD STATE (25-15-1 Overall, 18-9-1 WCHA)

Head Coach: Bob Motzko (St. Cloud '87)

Nickname: Huskies

Location: St. Cloud, MN

Enrollment: 15,000

Frozen Four appearances: None

NHL Draft Picks: 5

Two Hobey Baker Hat Trick Finalists will be squaring off in tonight's second semifinal between St. Cloud State and Quinnipiac. SCSU senior forward Drew LeBlanc will be going up against QU senior goaltender Eric Hartzell. Both programs are appearing in the Frozen Four for the first time.

Offense:

Quinnipiac lacks high-end depth, but certainly has some skilled players who can be dangerous. Bobcats Sophomore Matthew Peca, a Tampa Bay Lightning prospect, tallied four goals in the regionals including a natural hat trick in the finals. He is the right wing on the top line with Connor and Kellen Jones. Keep an eye out for Jordan Samuels-Thomas, a Bowling Green transfer, who uses his big body to his advantage in front of the net. Jeremy Langlois is another crafty forward on that second line.

For St. Cloud, Drew LeBlanc, Nic Dowd, Jonny Brodzinski, Ben Hanowski and Kalle Kossila are all very good players that scored consistently throughout the rigorous WCHA seasons. Watch for freshman Joey Benik who had a big performance in the regionals after an injury-plagued season.

Defense:

St. Cloud Junior defenseman Nick Jensen might be the best blue liner in the WCHA. He leads a very well tested Huskies defense in to Frozen Four action.

Quinnipiac has played great team defense all season. Rand Pecknold has four seniors on his blue line that will bring experience and poise in a big game.

Goaltending:

Quinnipiac has the edge in goaltending as senior Eric Hartzell has consistently proven all season to be a winner. His numbers have been off the charts and he was a huge reason behind their 21-game winning streak earlier in the year.

Sophomore Ryan Faragher is no slouch, but he doesn't have the reliability of Hartzell. As his coach talked about yesterday, he can certainly steal a game or two.

This should be a great game between two schools that are new to the Frozen Four landscape. The winner will move on to Saturday's championship game against either Yale or UMass-Lowell.

Jeff Cox covers college hockey for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation for continuing coverage of the 2013 Frozen Four.

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