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NAHL alums ready for the Frozen Four

April 11, 2013

Teams participating in the 2013 Men’s Frozen Four won’t wear, “Hello, my name is” stickers during this week’s games in Pittsburgh, but the gesture wouldn’t be inappropriate.

A refreshing lineup takes the ice for Thursday’s two national semifinal games at the Consol Energy Center. Three teams — Quinnipiac, St. Cloud State and UMass-Lowell — are Frozen Four first-timers. The fourth, Yale, hasn’t advanced this far since 1952, the “Frozen Four” term not yet coined.

Which means players and coaches from traditional powers such as North Dakota, Minnesota, Boston College, Michigan and Denver will turn on the television with the rest of us.

Instead, it’s the Yale Bulldogs, UMass-Lowell River Hawks, Quinnipiac Bobcats and St. Cloud State Huskies. Two teams won their conferences (UMass-Lowell the Hockey East regular-season and tournament titles and St. Cloud State the regular-season Western Collegiate Hockey Conference title).

UMass-Lowell and Yale play Thursday’s first semifinal at 4:30 p.m. ET, followed by Quinnipiac and St. Cloud State at 8 p.m. ET. Saturday’s national championship game is set at 8 p.m. ET, with all games on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ home ice.

All four teams: Quinnipiac, St. Cloud State, UMASS-Lowell and Yale all feature NAHL alumni on their respective rosters.

23 NAHL alumni will be represented when the four teams take to the ice at Consol Energy Center for the national semifinals on April 11th. For the first time since 1958 — and only the second time since the tournament’s inaugural event — the Frozen Four will be made up of four teams all looking for their first national championship.

St. Cloud State beat Notre Dame 5-1 and Miami 4-1 in the Midwest Regional. The Huskies won a share of the WCHA regular season title for the first time and feature nine NAHL alumni on their roster: TJ Belisle, forward (Springfield 2011-12), Brooks Bertsch, forward (St. Louis 2008-10), Brandon Burrell, defense (Wenatchee 2008-10), Nic Dowd, forward (Wenatchee/St. Louis 2008-09), Ryan Faragher, goaltender (Bismarck 2009-11), Kevin Gravel, defense (Marquette 2008-09), Jimmy Murray, forward (Texas 2010-11), Joe Phillippi, goaltender (Fairbanks 2008-11) and Cory Thorson, forward (Owatonna 2008-10).

Massachusetts-Lowell added to a growing trophy case by advancing through the Northeast Regional, beating Wisconsin 6-1 and New Hampshire 2-0. The River Hawks feature seven NAHL alumni on their roster: Adam Chapie, forward (New Mexico 2010-12), Mike Fallon, forward (Springfield 2010-11), Christian Folin, defense (Austin 2010-12), Connor Hellebuyck, goaltender (Odessa, 2011-12), Zack Kamrass, defense (Springfield 2008-09), Jake Suter, defense (Owatonna 2009-10) and AJ White, forward (Michigan 2010-12).

Quinnipiac rallied for a 4-3 win over Canisius and routed Union 5-1 in the East Regional. The Bobcats rolled to the ECAC Hockey regular season title and feature five NAHL alums: Alex Barron, defense (Bismarck 2009-10), Tom Hilbrich, defense (Alpena 2009-10, Fresno 2010-11), Soren Jonzzon, forward (St. Louis 2008-09), Jacob Meyers, goaltender (Alexandria 2010-12) and Zach Tolkinen, defense (Owatonna 2008-09, Fairbanks 2009-10).

Yale won the West Regional by beating Minnesota 3-2 in overtime and North Dakota 4-1. The Bulldogs feature two NAHL alumni on their roster: Clinton Bourbonais, forward (Traverse City 2007-08, St. Louis 2008-09) and Nick Maricic, goalie (USNDTP 2006-08).

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