When: Friday, March 25 & Sunday, March 27
Where: PPL Center, Allentown, Pa.
Matchups: Michigan vs. American International, March 25, 3 p.m., ESPNU; Quinnipiac vs. St. Cloud State, March 25, 8 p.m., ESPNews; championship, March 27, 4 p.m./6:30 p.m., ESPN2

How they got here: Won Big Ten tournament championship

Overall season record: 29-9-1

Top players: F Matty Beniers (19-22-41), F Brendan Brisson (19-18-37), D Luke Hughes (17-20-37), G Erik Portillo (29-9-1, 2.06 GAA, .928 SV%)

Why they will advance to the Frozen Four: No matter how you slice it, Michigan is the most talented of the 16 teams in this year’s field. With five players scoring 30 or more points this season, the Wolverines can hurt you with multiple lines.

Why they will not advance to the Frozen Four: Tournament play is a different animal and most of Michigan’s top guns don’t have any NCAA tournament experience.

Quinnipiac goaltender Yaniv Perets has posted 11 shutouts this season for Quinnipiac (photo: Rob Rasmussen).

How they got here: At-large bid

Overall season record: 31-6-3

Top players: G Yaniv Perets (21-5-2, 0.96 GAA, .948 SV%, 11 shutouts), D Zach Metsa (9-25-34), F Wyatt Bongiovanni (15-18-33)

Why they will advance the Frozen Four: Quinnipiac set an NCAA Division I men’s record with 16 shutouts and counting. Perets has been outstanding, and the Bobcats have a veteran and deep defensive unit. QU is good controlling the puck and cutting down on its opponent’s space in the neutral zone.

Why they will not advance to the Frozen Four: As good as the Bobcats have been over the last decade, Quinnipiac has had some tough luck in the playoffs since making the Frozen Four in 2016, including in Saturday’s ECAC title game when the Bobcats played well, but lost in overtime. Offensively, Quinnipiac creates plenty of chances, but the Bobcats have had some stretches this season where they’ve struggled to score.

Kevin Fitzgerald led SCSU in scoring this season (photo: Jim Rosvold).

How they got here: At-large bid

Overall season record: 18-14-4

Top players: F Kevin Fitzgerald (17-18-35), D Nick Perbix (6-25-31), F Jami Krannila (15-15-30), G Dávid Hrenák (16-11-4, 2.25 GAA, .914 SV%)

Why they will advance to the Frozen Four: St. Cloud State reached last season’s national championship game, and plenty of weapons are back from that team.

Why they won’t advance to the Frozen Four: The problem is, the weapons haven’t been firing often enough lately. SCSU was swept at home in the first round of the NCHC playoffs, and the Huskies went 4-5-1 in their last 10 games.

Blake Bennett put on a show in the Atlantic Hockey tournament (photo: Kelly Shea/AIC).

How they got here: Won Atlantic Hockey tournament championship

Overall season record: 22-12-3

Top players: F Chris Theodore (10-18-28), F Blake Bennett (18-14-32), D Zak Galambos (5-23-28), G Alec Calvaruso (10-4-0, 2.38 GAA, .911 SV%)

Why they will advance to the Frozen Four: The Yellow Jackets got off to a slow start but are 19-3-2 since Thanksgiving. They’re the oldest team in the field and have 13 players with NCAA tournament experience, with AIC making its third consecutive appearance.

“We are certainly hoping this can be our competitive advantage,” said AIC coach Eric Lang. “We can’t boast seven first round NHL draft picks. We will have to play the ultimate team game. We have adversity thrown our way for the last month or so. We have come out on the other side with great results. These guys won’t be in awe of anything that’s in front of us.”

Atlantic Hockey teams are typically low seeds but are 3-1 in the opening round over the past four tournaments.

Why they will not advance to the Frozen Four: As the overall No. 16 seed, AIC has the toughest road to Boston. The Yellow Jackets were just 1-6-1 out of conference, 0-3-1 against teams in this year’s tournament.

NHL Hockey Playoffs
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