WISCONSIN, MINNESOTA DULUTH, NORTHEASTERN, AND AIR FORCE TO PLAY IN THE 2023 KWIK TRIP HOLIDAY FACE-OFF
January 5, 2023
PRINCETON, N.J. – The Kwik Trip Holiday Face-Off returns to Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee with Wisconsin, Minnesota Duluth, Northeastern, and Air Force comprising the third annual event from December 28-29.
Wisconsin, who won the inaugural event in 2021 and advanced to the title game of the 2022 tournament last week, enters this weekend’s series with Big Ten foe Notre Dame with a pair of underclassmen atop the scoring chart. Freshman Cruz Lucius leads the Badgers in goals (8), assists (10), and points (18), while sophomore defenseman Corson Ceulemans has 13 points on five goals and eight assists. Head coach Tony Granato is in his seventh season at his alma mater and is a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame and a two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year honoree. The Badgers have 26 NCAA Tournament appearances and six National Championships on their resume.
In 23 seasons behind the Minnesota Duluth bench, head coach Scott Sandelin has led the Bulldogs to over 430 wins and three National Championships, including back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019. The Bulldogs head into their NCHC weekend series at Bemidji State led in scoring by freshman Ben Steeves, who has a team-best 12 goals and 15 points. Sophomore Dominic James is second on the team with six goals to go with his 11 points. In addition to their three National Championships, Minnesota Duluth has been to 15 NCAA Tournaments.
Northeastern is under the direction of second-year head coach Jerry Keefe, who is the reigning Hockey East Coach of the Year for guiding the Huskies a 25-13-1 mark, including 15-9-1 in league play in earning the program’s first-ever regular season title. This year, the Huskies get their production from senior Aidan McDonough, who leads the team in goals (12) and points (25) and is tied for the lead in assists (13). Behind him, sophomore Justin Hryckowian is tied with McDonough with 13 assists and adds 10 goals to the cause. Junior Gunnarwolfe Fontaine is the third Husky with 20 or more points, posting seven goals and 13 assists. Northeastern, who takes on UConn at Fenway Park on Saturday, has been to the NCAA Tournament eight times.
In 26 years at the Air Force Academy, Frank Serratore has led the Falcons to 432 wins, one of seven active coaches (along with Scott Sandelin) with over 400 career wins. He has also guided the Falcons to seven conference championships and seven NCAA Tournament appearances – the only NCAA trips in Academy history. Heading into this weekend’s Desert Hockey Classic, Air Force is led in scoring by juniors Will Gavin and Nate Horn, each of whom is tied for the team lead with six goals and 13 points.
An on-sale date for tickets to the 2023 Kwik Trip Holiday Face-Off as well as the schedule will be announced at a later date.
In the 2022 Kwik Trip Holiday Face-Off last week, Clarkson scored six unanswered goals in downing No. 15 UMass, 6-3, in the semifinals and then captured the title with a 3-1 win over Wisconsin.
About the Kwik Trip Holiday Face-Off
First played in 2021, the Kwik Trip Holiday Face-Off has quickly become a highlight on the college hockey calendar. It attracts the top programs in the sport with an opportunity to win a championship in a state that loves hockey and a magnificent venue – Fiserv Forum in downtown Milwaukee.
About Kwik Trip
Kwik Trip is a family-owned company founded in 1965. Kwik Trip operates 800+ stores and employs 36,000 co-workers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan and Illinois. The stores receive daily deliveries of fresh baked goods, dairy products, soups, salads, fruit, produce, sandwiches and sell grocery products, general merchandise, gasoline and related petroleum products. The company is vertically integrated operating its own bakery, dairy, bottling line, kitchens, food safety lab, distribution center, ice plant, LP plant, blow mold facility, transportation company and health clinics. Kwik Trip serves over 10 million guests per week and consistently ranks as a Top Workplace in each of its markets sharing 40% of its pretax profits with coworkers.
About the Gazelle Group
The Kwik Trip Holiday Face-Off is produced by the Gazelle Group of Princeton, N.J. The Gazelle Group is a sports marketing firm, specializing in event production and management, client representation, and sponsorship consulting. In addition to the Kwik Trip Holiday Face-Off, Gazelle produces numerous nationally-recognized college basketball events, such as the Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, the Legends Classic, the Gotham Classic, the Sunshine Slam, and the College Basketball Invitational. For more information on the Gazelle Group, please visit www.gazellegroup.com.
About Fiserv Forum
Fiserv Forum is a preeminent sports and entertainment arena in downtown Milwaukee that opened on Aug. 26, 2018. Designed by Populous, Eppstein Uhen Architects and HNTB, the venue offers incomparable sightlines, customer service, technology and amenities. Fiserv Forum includes 17,341 seats for basketball, 15,178 for hockey and up to 18,000 for concerts, with 34 luxury suites and three clubs. The world-class arena is home to the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and Marquette University’s men’s basketball team and was selected to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention and the 2024 Republican National Convention. Fiserv Forum hosts a diverse variety of year-round events, including major concerts, family shows and other sports and entertainment events. Fiserv Forum is the anchor of the surrounding 30-acre Deer District neighborhood, which is Milwaukee’s premier location for people to live, work and play. In 2021, Fiserv Forum was awarded LEED Gold Certification for sustainability performance. Founding Partners for Fiserv Forum include Fiserv, BMO, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Johnson Controls, Motorola, Potawatomi Hotel and Casino and Beechwood Sales and Service / Anheuser-Busch. For more information, please visit fiservforum.com.
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