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Bemidji State has a long history of success in Division II, III and the NAIA, winning 13 national championships. It became a Division I school in 1999 but never made it to the Frozen Four until it got an automatic bid from the College Hockey America conference. The Beavers will have to find a new place to compete, though, because the conference is planning to disband after next season.

If it weren't for Bemidji State, its opponent Thursday night would have the Cinderella crown. This is the first trip to the Frozen Four for the RedHawks (formerly known as the Redskins), though, unlike Bemidji, it plays in the much stronger CCHA.

Miami coach Enrico Blasi said he believes the presence of the two first-timers in the Frozen Four will only enhance the popularity of college hockey.

“It wouldn't surprise me from here if you saw different Frozen Four teams the rest of the way,” he said before the game. “Coaches across the country do a great job. They recruit quality players, and they all work hard. I think it is great for college hockey to have programs like Bemidji and Miami University in the Frozen Four.”