It was a straight-forward first round of the playoffs in the NCHC this weekend, with the high seed winning all eight games and advancing without needing a deciding Game 3 on Sunday.
That sets up an exciting Frozen Faceoff next weekend at the Target Center with four teams all currently inside the NCAA Tournament field. The semifinal match-ups for Friday are as follows:
#3 Denver vs. #2 St. Cloud State
#4 Minnesota Duluth vs. #1 North Dakota
Game times for the semifinals are set for 4:00pm CST and 7:30pm on Friday. It hasn't been officially determined which team will play early and which will play late, but it's strongly suspected that top seed North Dakota will opt to play in the early game on Friday, allowing the most possible rest for Saturday.
North Dakota and St. Cloud are in strong position to earn a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament next weekend. Denver also could potentially move into the top four with a strong weekend and some help elsewhere around the country.
Red-hot Minnesota Duluth is on the NCAA Tournament bubble. One win next weekend would put them in a better position for an at-large bid, though if they don't win the NCHC Tournament, they'll likely be sweating out the results of other conference tournaments where teams outside the bubble could potentially steal their bid.