Ian Mitchell won’t be suiting up in a Blackhawks uniform this season after his college team, the University of Denver, beat American International 3-0 on Saturday night to make the NCAA’s Frozen Four in Buffalo, New York.
Denver will face the University of Massachusetts (UMass) in a national semifinal at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN 2 on Thursday, April 11 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo. The Blackhawks’ season ends Saturday, April 6 against the Predators in Nashville.
Mitchell, who was drafted in the second round in 2017 by Chicago, hasn’t recorded a point in two tournament games, but he’s played a large role on the Pioneers’ blue line. The right-handed defenseman has six goals and 21 assists in 37 games during his sophomore season.
It’ll be Mitchell’s first Frozen Four appearance after the Pioneers were bounced by Ohio State in a regional final last year. Denver has won eight NCAA titles, with the last won coming in 2017. It’s the first time UMass has made the Frozen Four.
In the other semifinal, reigning NCAA champion Minnesota Duluth will meet Providence at 4 p.m. April 11. The Bulldogs defeated Quinnipiac, 3-1, while the Friars shut out Cornell and Blackhawks prospect Beau Starrett, 4-0, to advance to the Frozen Four on Sunday.
Starratt (2014 third-rounder) scored a goal in Cornell’s 5-1 win over Northeastern and Ryan Shea (2015 fourth-rounder) in the first round.
The Denver-UMass semifinal will have two Illinois natives on each side. Minnesota Duluth and Providence do not have any Illinois players.
Denver: Defenseman Erich Fear (Winnetka) and goaltender Michael Corson (Darien)
UMass: Forward Brett Boeing (Barrington) and defenseman Jake McLaughlin (Hinsdale)
Chicago Steel alums
While Minnesota Duluth and Providence don’t have any Illinois players, they do have seven former Chicago Steel players between them. The Bulldogs have forward Koby Bender, who only played two games with the Steel in 2015-16, and assistant coach Adam Krause, who suited up in 36 contests in 2010-2011.
The Friars have five former Steel players: forwards Jack Dugan, Brandon Duhaime, Greg Printz and Jason O’Neill and defenseman Ben Mirageas. The Minnesota Wild selected Duhaime in the fourth round in the 2016 NHL draft. Mirageas and Dugan were taken in the third and fifth rounds by the Islanders and Golden Knights, respectively, in 2017.
How to watch
Frozen Four semifinals
When: Thursday, April 11
Semifinal 1: Minnesota Duluth vs. Providence, 4 p.m.
Semifinal 2: Denver vs. UMass, 7 p.m.
When: 7 p.m., Saturday, April 13
Championship: Semifinal winner 1 vs. semifinal winner 2