2024 NCAA Hockey Conference Final Preview – HockeyStickMan
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2024 NCAA Hockey Conference Final Preview

The road to the Men's Frozen Four begins this weekend with all six Men's conference tournaments set to wrap up on Saturday evening. Though college basketball gets most of the praise this time of year, NCAA hockey has been on the rise and is worthy of some viewership from hockey fans. With each conference champ getting an auto-bid into the NCAA tournament, there is always lots to play for.

College hockey is a completely different beast than pro hockey, and that's why we love it.  Student sections, classic arenas, and college kids just playing hockey for the love of the game are all part of what makes it great.  Both of my brothers played Division 1 hockey at Dartmouth, which helped grow our affection for collegiate hockey. To add to the fact, the NCAA pathway is now becoming a more popular way to the NHL which makes college hockey worthy of your attention. 

Today, HockeyStickMan serves dozens of men and women’s Division 1 hockey programs, and love getting the chance to check out their facilities when we do a pickup. Hopefully, the teams we work with will all be making deep runs, and we won't have to grab any of their gear until this summer!

Hockey East Tournament
This year's Hockey East tournament is sure to be a good one with #1 ranked Boston College taking on #12 University of Massachusetts. Game two of this doubleheader at the Garden has the potential first overall pick, Macklin Celebrini and #2 Boston University play #7 University of Maine.

These star-studded match-ups feature some of the best prospects in the game today with a few American studs of Cutter Gauthier and Will Smith, who are both World Junior Gold Medalists this past winter, as well as Lane Hutson from Boston University who leads all NCAA defensemen in points-per-game. Celebrini, Gauthier, Smith, and Hutson are all Hobey Baker nominees and are looking to push their program into the Frozen Four.

                                           

Semi-Final #1 March 22th, 4:00 ET:
#12 University of Massachusetts  vs #1 Boston College

Semi-Final #2 March 17th, 7:30 ET:
#7 Maine vs #2 Boston University

Final March 23th, 7:30 ET

📺 NESN, NESN+
📍TD Garden, Boston, MA

Atlantic Hockey Tournament
The Atlantic Hockey Conference was one of the NCAA's weakest this year, with only Rochester currently ranked in the top 20. There is lots of quality throughout the division though, and we're sure there will be plenty of fireworks this weekend.

The finals look to be a thrilling game as #19 RIT takes on unranked American International University. These two finalists have split their season series one game apiece but RIT has gained the edge in the Atlantic Final as they get home-ice advantage this time out.

RIT is a sure favorite in this game as goalie Tommy Scarfone has led the conference in save percentage and finished second with a 2.19 save percentage. Offensively, RIT has 5 of the conference's top 10 leaders in points, and forwards Matthew Wilde, Gianfranco Cassaro, and Elijah Gonsalves are all tied for third in the conference with 17 goals each.

                                                

Semi-Final #1:
American International (2-1 Series Win) vs Holy Cross

Semi-Final #2:
#19 RIT (2-0 Series Win) vs Niagara

Final March 23rd, 7:05 ET

📺 FloHockeyTV.com
📍Gene Polisseni Center, Rochester, NY

ECAC Hockey Tournament
Played at iconic Herb Brooks Arena, the ECAC tournament is always a great event. Defending champs, #6 Quinnipiac will be the favorite as they had the best record in the ECAC. The competition will be stiff though as they play St. Lawrence who went 8-10-4 in ECAC not to mention that semi final #2 will be a tightly contested matchup between #14 Cornell and Dartmouth.

Quinnipiac’s Colin Graf is a player to look out for in these games. Graf is a 2023 and 2024 top-10 Hobey Baker award finalist and not to mention he is also up for ECAC player of the year. He ranks sixth in points per game at the national level and was a major part in the 2023 winning team and looks to be the first team to go back-to-back since 2018-2019.

                                                       

Semi-Final #1 March 22th, 4:00 ET:
#6 Quinnipiac vs St. Lawrence

Semi-Final #2 March 22th, 7:30 ET:
#14 Cornell vs Dartmouth

Final March 23th, 5:00 ET

📺 ESPN+
📍Herb Brooks Arena, Lake Placid

NCHC Hockey Tournament

The 2022 National Champs, #3 Denver Pioneers remain the team to beat in the NCHC, though there is plenty of tough competition as always. North Dakota and Denver both finished with an equal amount of wins in both the NCHC and overall college play.

Denver and North Dakota have both won the National Championship within the past 10 years. These two mega hockey programs continuously produce quality NHL players and the talent from these schools shows in this tournament every year. 

Jack Devine from Denver looks to take this conference final by storm. He is nominated for NCHC forward and player of the year as well as a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. He finished first in scoring with 27 goals in 38 games and finished the year with 54 points. Another Hobey Baker Award finalist is North Dakota’s Jackson Blake, who ranked second in points in the NCAA with 21 goals and 36 assists.

                                                      

Semi-Final #1 March 22nd, 5:07 ET:
#4 North Dakota vs #11 Nebraska-Omaha

Semi-Final #2 March 22th, 8:37 ET:
#3 Denver vs #17 St. Cloud State

Final March 23th, 8:30 ET

📺 CBS Sports
📍XCEL Energy Center, St Paul

CCHA Hockey Tournament
For the CCHA Hockey Tournament, it will be the Michigan Tech Huskies visiting the #20 Bemidji State Beavers in the finals. In the single elimination Semi Finals, the Huskies defeated Minnesota State in a close 4-3 battle while Bemidji had a smooth ride to the finals beating Lake Superior 4-1.

Bemidji State looks to be favored in this game as they are unbeaten in their last 11 games (10-0-1) including nine straight wins. Michigan Tech are on a four-game winning streak as well and looks to have an edge over Bemidji winning the season series 2-1-1.

Michigan Tech has two of the top five leading goal scorers in the CCHA in Isaac Gordon and Ryland Mosley as well as Gordon being tied for the conference lead in points. LLeyton Roed led BSU in points, netting 14 goals and 16 assists.

                                                        

Semi-Final #1:
#20 Bemidji State 4-1 Lake Superior State

Semi-Final #2:
Michigan Tech 4-3 Minnesota State

Final March 22th, 8:07 ET

📺 FloHockeyTV.com
📍Sanford Center, Bemidji, MN

BIG 10 Hockey Tournament
Finally, the Big 10!  This conference has been some of the best in college hockey, with all 3 out of the four semi-finalists being ranked in the top 10. #5 Michigan State defeated Ohio State 2-1 while #10 Michigan beat #8 Minnesota 2-1 in the second semi-final.

Michigan State is 3-1 in the season series against rival, Michigan. However, Michigan is looking to three-peat as conference champions.

There will be plenty of talent in the BIG 10 final. The top six point leaders in the conference belong to Michigan. Rutger McGroarty, Team USA World Junior Captain and Winnipeg Jets draft pick, led the conference in points and points per game with 51 and 1.59.

                                                           

Semi-Final #1:
#5 Michigan State 2-1 Ohio State

Semi-Final #2:
#10 Michigan 2-1 #8 Minnesota

Final March 23th, 8:00 ET

📺 Big 10 Network
📍Munn Ice Arena, East Lansing, MI

Regionals
March 28 - 31

📺 ESPN U | ESPN2
📍Centene Community Ice Center, Maryland Heights, Mo | Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence, RI | Sanford Center, Sioux Falls, SD | MassMutual Center, Springfield, MA

Frozen Four
April 11 & 13

📺 ESPN2
📍Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN

Many games are also available in Canada on TSN+

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