Eight Blackhawks Prospects Earn Bids To NCAA Frozen Four Tournament


The NCAA Hockey Season is coming to an end as the calendar turns to Spring. But before the book can be closed on the 2017-18 season, there is the Frozen Four Tournament to name a National Champion. This year, the Chicago Blackhawks are well represented in the tournament with eight prospects playing for six different schools.

Ian Mitchell and Blake Hillman attempt to defend Denver University’s 2017 National Championship, but have a tough test ahead. The Blackhawks prospects trying to unseat Hillman, Mitchell, and the rest of the Pioneers squad are Chad Krys of Boston University (Hockey East Champions), Ryan Shea and Dylan Sikura of Northeastern University, Dennis Gilbert of the University of Notre Dame (Big Ten Champions), Beau Starrett of Cornell University, and Evan Barratt of Penn State University.

Eight Blackhawks Prospects Vying For NCAA Championship

The Frozen Four tournament begins on March 23 with the Regional semi-finals on March 23 and 24 and the Regional finals on March 24 and 25. The Regional final winners advance to the NCAA Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minnesota on April 5 with the National Championship taking place on April 7 at the Xcel Energy Center.


No Blackhawks representation in the West Region, which has top-overall seed St. Cloud State take on Air Force and Minnesota-Duluth squaring off against Minnesota State.


In the East Region, #2 overall seed Notre Dame takes on Michigan Tech, while Providence faces Clarkson. Big Ten champions Notre Dame and Dennis Gilbert look to advance to back-to-back Frozen Four’s after falling to eventual National Champion Denver last year in Chicago. This year marks Notre Dame’s 10th NCAA Tournament appearance as they look for their fourth Frozen Four.


Things get really interesting in the tournament’s Northeast Region as Beau Starrett and #3 overall seed Cornell take on Chad Krys and Boston University in the Regional semi-final. Also, in the Midwest Region is the University of Michigan taking on Ryan Shea and Dylan Sikura of Northeastern University.

For Starrett and Cornell, this is the 21st NCAA Tournament appearance in school history and their first back-to-back appearances since 2009 and 2010. Cornell has eight Frozen Four appearances in school history, but has not made the National Semi-Finals since 2003.

As for Krys and the Boston Terriers, this is the 36th NCAA Tournament appearance in school history and their fourth trip in a row. Last season, Boston fell an overtime goal short of the Frozen Four as they lost to eventual National Runner-Up Minnesota-Duluth. Boston is attempting to reach their 23rd Frozen Four, with their last appearance coming in 2015.

Northeastern will be looking for their second Frozen Four appearance in school history with their sixth bid in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies have never won an NCAA Hockey National Championship with their only Frozen Four appearance coming in 1982. A lot of Blackhawks eyes will be on Northeastern as Sikura has become one of the most sought-after NCAA players over the last two seasons. Chicago drafted Sikura in the sixth round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.


Finally in the Midwest Region, the winner of #4 overall seed Ohio State and Princeton will face the winner of Evan Barratt and Penn State University versus defending National Champions Blake Hillman, Ian Mitchell, and the Denver Pioneers.

For Penn State, a program that joined the NCAA in the 2012-13 season, this marks the second NCAA tournament appearance in back-to-back years. Last season ended for the Nittany Lions at the hands of Denver University in the Regional Final. No doubt that Penn State will be looking for revenge, but it won’t be easy against a stacked Pioneers squad. Denver is making it’s 29th NCAA Tournament appearance and have made the tournament 11 years in a row dating back to the 2008 tournament. A powerhouse in NCAA hockey over the last decade and change, Denver has 16 Frozen Four appearances program history with back-to-back appearances in 2016 and 2017, winning their 8th National Championship last year in Chicago, defeating Minnesota-Duluth.

Another team that a lot of the Blackhawks community will be paying attention to as Pioneers freshman defenseman Ian Mitchell has garnered a lot of praise as a top-end defensive prospect. The Blackhawks drafted Mitchell in the second round of last year’s NHL Entry Draft and was named to the NCHC Conference All-Tournament team as Denver defeated St. Cloud State.

How To Watch

Here is the full TV Schedule for the NCAA Frozen Four Tournament from USCHO.com:

East Regional

At Webster Bank Arena, Bridgeport, Conn., March 23-24

• Friday: Notre Dame vs. Michigan Tech, 3 p.m., ESPN2

• Friday: Providence vs. Clarkson, 6:30 p.m., ESPNU

• Saturday: Friday winners, 6 p.m., ESPNU

West Regional

At Denny Sanford PREMIER Center, Sioux Falls, S.D., March 23-24

• Friday: St. Cloud State vs. Air Force, 4 p.m., ESPNU

• Friday: Minnesota State vs. Minnesota Duluth, 7:30 p.m., ESPN3

• Saturday: Friday winners, 9 p.m., ESPN2

Northeast Regional

At DCU Center, Worcester, Mass., March 24-25

• Saturday: Cornell vs. Boston University, 1 p.m., ESPNews

• Saturday: Michigan vs. Northeastern, 4:30 p.m., ESPNews

• Sunday: Saturday winners, 4 p.m., ESPN2

Midwest Regional

At PPL Center, Allentown, Pa., March 24-25

• Saturday: Ohio State vs. Princeton, 3:30 p.m., ESPNU

• Saturday: Denver vs. Penn State, 7 p.m., ESPN3

• Sunday: Saturday winners, 6:30 p.m., ESPNU

Frozen Four

At Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn., April 5-7

• Thursday, April 5: West Regional winner vs. Midwest Regional winner, 6 or 9:30 p.m., ESPN2; Northeast Regional winner vs. East Regional winner, 6 or 9:30 p.m., ESPN2

• Saturday, April 7: Semifinal winners, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2


Center Ice Forums Eight Blackhawks Prospects Earn Bids To NCAA Frozen Four Tournament

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    Mario Tirabassi

    The NCAA Hockey Season is coming to an end as the calendar turns to Spring. But before the book can be closed on the 2017-18 season, there is the Froz
    [To continue reading full article, click here: Eight Blackhawks Prospects Earn Bids To NCAA Frozen Four Tournament]

    Mister Ricochet

    Fantastic Frozen Four primer, Mario.  Very well done and very helpful.   Didn’t realize ESPN had the rights for some reason.  I stream thru Playstation Vue and they offer all 3 ESPN’s and ESPNU and allow unlimited recording and archive recordings for 28 days so I’m set to analyze the Hawk prospects.  ……. As an aside I love Vue and get all sports for 44 bucks a month for anyone interested.  No limit on recording, none.  Record 20 shows at once if you choose.

    Of course the D prospects are priority 1 but looking forward to Cornell’s Starret.  Thought the Hawks reached in the 3rd rd for a kid out of a barely Tier II USPHL that is below the Tier I USHL and Tier II NAHL and BCHL by a good bit.  But at 6ft 5in as an 18 yr old and the difficulty of finding NHL power forwards, Hawk fans should know this, I can see the reasons for the reach.   First chance to see him in the NCAA.    http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=252369

    IMO ND Dman Dennis Gilbert is the closest to being NHL ready.  A 96 3rd rd pick with 2 full yrs of jrs and in his 3rd yr at Notre Dame skating in the 6 man rotation since he was a freshman.  Would love to hear a thought or two from anyone after they see him for a game or two.  A stay at home crease clearing type, average to slightly above skating, 1st unit PK guy at 6ft 2in 200 lbs.   An aside I went to a ND game 2 months ago and 21 of the 23 on the game day roster came from lil ole USHL.   http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=267396

    Would add Penn State is as fun hockey as you’ll ever see.  Pure hair on fire up and down hockey.  Taught to never pass up a shot and they don’t.  Even in their first yrs of existence they were at the top of NCAA in SOG.  Hawk prospect Evan Barratt a center with Team USA and of obvious interest.  http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=303599

    On the USHL theme Coach Montgomery of Denver won two cups in the lil ole USHL with Dubuque (owned by 2 MN Wild owners and Pete Chiarelli) before moving on to Denver.  His roster is full of USHL alum as well.


    Mario Tirabassi

    Thanks for reading and the added insight! Should be a great tourney!

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