ST. PAUL (AP) -- The NCAA, as it tried to do in basketball, kept teams closer to home for the opening rounds of this year's men's hockey tournament.
That cut down on travel costs -- and surprises.
When Maine meets New Hampshire Thursday afternoon in a Frozen Four semifinal -- essentially the East Regional championship -- the two schools will be playing for the fifth time this season. The Wildcats went 2-1-1 against the Black Bears, including a 3-1 win in the Hockey East conference championship game.
THE FROZEN FOUR
At Xcel Energy Center
Thursday, April 4
Maine (25-10-7) vs. New Hampshire (30-6-3), 12:30 p.m.
Minnesota (30-8-4) vs. Michigan (28-10-5), 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 6, 7 p.m.
"We know their power play," said New Hampshire forward Darren Haydar. "We know their penalty kill, their forecheck, their breakout. I don't think there are many secrets out there."
WCHA runner-up Minnesota and CCHA champion Michigan, the other semifinalists, don't compete in the same conference but have played each other every season since 1993.
The Gophers (30-8-4), who went to Ann Arbor in November and beat the Wolverines 5-2, know exactly what they're up against Thursday night.
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