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Odds, picks, predictions for Michigan vs. Denver in Frozen Four

We break down the matchup between Michigan and Denver at the Frozen Four NCAA men’s hockey tournament.

Forward Carter Mazur (34) of Denver celebrates while skating the glass with the team after winning the game. The University of Denver took on the University of Minnesota Duluth in the 2022 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey West Regional Final at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colorado on Saturday, March 26, 2022. DU won the game 2-1. Photo by Eric Lutzens/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Two of the blue bloods of college hockey will clash Thursday in Boston when Midwest No. 1 seed Michigan Wolverines (31-9-1) meet the West No. 1 seed Denver Pioneers (29-9-1) in the Frozen Four. Puck drop is 5 p.m. at TD Garden on ESPN2.

Both teams are no stranger to the Frozen Four.

Michigan is in their 26th Frozen Four and has won nine NCAA championships. The Wolverines, however, haven’t won the title since 1998 and haven’t advanced to the championship game since 2011.

Denver is in their 18th Frozen Four and has won eight NCAA championships. The Pioneers most recently hoisted the trophy in 2017.

Midwest No. 1 Michigan: 31-9-1

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll Ranking: 2

Tournament history

First round: Won over American International, 5-3
Quarterfinal: Won over Qunnipiac, 7-4

Players to Watch

Defenseman Owen Power: Three goals, 32 points; All-Big Ten First Team; 2022 Olympian (Team Canada); No. 1 pick in 2021 NHL Draft (Buffalo Sabres).

Forward Matty Beniers: 20 goals, 43 points; All-Big Ten First Team; 2022 Olympian (Team USA); No. 2 pick in 2021 NHL Draft (Seattle Kraken)

Defenseman Luke Hughes: 17 goals, 39 points; Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Year; No. 4 pick in 2021 NHL Draft (New Jersey Devils)

West No. 1 Denver (29-9-1)

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll Ranking: 3

Tournament history

First round: Won over UMass-Lowell, 3-2
Quarterfinal: Won over Minnesota-Duluth, 2-1

Players to Watch

Forward Bobby Brink: 14 goals, 56 points; Hobey Baker Award Finalist; All-NCHC First Team; No. 34 pick in 2019 NHL Draft (Philadelphia Flyers)

Forward Carter Mazur: 14 goals, 36 points; NCHC All-Rookie Team; No. 70 pick in 2021 NHL Draft (Detroit Red Wings)

Forward Carter Savoie: 22 goals, 44 points; All-NCHC Second Team; No. 100 pick in 2020 NHL Draft (Edmonton Oilers)

Goalie Matchup

Michigan’s Erik Portillo (31-9-1, three shutouts, .926 save percentage, 2.13 goals-against average) vs. Denver’s Magnus Chrona (26-8-1, six shutouts, .909 save percentage, 2.16 goals-against average)

Michigan vs. Denver odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Puckline: Denver +1.5 (-195), Michigan -1.5 (+155)
Over/under: Over 6.5 (-130), Under 6.5 (+100)
Moneyline: Denver +130, Michigan -160

The Pick

Moneyline: Michigan
Goal total: Over 6.5

This should be an exciting up-and-down game with some stellar offensive players on both teams. Denver leads the nation with 4.28 goals per game, but Michigan has shown throughout the tournament that it can score with anyone. Beniers and 21-goal scorer Brendan Brisson will get the puck in the back of the net. Brink has had an amazing season and will find some areas on the ice to make things happen. But Michigan is too deep in my opinion and their strength on the blueline with Power and Hughes will keep Denver at bay just enough to advance to Saturday’s championship game.

Prediction: Michigan 5, Denver 3

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