Frozen Four 2011: Minnesota-Duluth Defeats Michigan 3-2 In Overtime To Capture First Ever National Title

For the first time in school history, Minnesota-Duluth has climbed to the summit of collegiate hockey. The Bulldogs won the National Championship Saturday night.

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Michigan Hockey Wins Second 2011 Frozen Four Semifinal

In what could be considered the elite game of the two semifinal games, the Michigan Wolverines faced off against the North Dakota Fighting Sioux in the second semifinal at the Frozen Four. Both schools have been apart of various Frozen Fours over the years and have won a combined 16 national championships. 

In terms of the game, it was a defensive battle between both teams as Michigan's Ben Winnett scored the game winning goal at the 13:26 mark of the first period. Winnett found a loose rebound and put it past North Dakota goaltender Aaron Dell for the first goal of the game. Scooter Vaughan iced the game for the Wolverines with an empty net goal with 35 seconds left in the game. 

It wasn't for the lack of offensive chances for North Dakota but Michigan's goaltending was the difference for the Wolverines. The Fighting Sioux outshot the Wolverines 40-20 in the game and by 26-10 in the final two periods. Michigan's Shawn Hunwick made 14 saves in the first and a total of 40 saves to preserve the shutout to get Michigan to the National Championship game. Dell made 19 saves in the losing effort for North Dakota. Dell was the top goaltender of the season with a 30-6-2 record and 1.81 goals against average in 39 appearances this year but his offense failed to find the back of the net for only the third time this season. 

There was a scary moment early in the first period for North Dakota. Freshman forward Brock Nelson was fighting for a puck near the Michigan net when he got tangled with a Michigan player and was sent awkwardly into the boards. He was down on the ice for a few minutes and then was eventually stretchered off the ice. According to reports, Nelson was taken to the nearest hospital for precautionary reasons, but was moving all limbs and had some lower back pain. 

Michigan will be taking on Minnesota-Duluth, the winner of the first semifinal game, in the National Championship on Saturday night. 

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Minnesota-Duluth Hockey Wins First 2011 Frozen Four Semifinal

Minnesota Duluth got the lucky fortune to essentially being the home team for the Frozen Four as the finals are being held 150 miles from the campus. The Bulldogs took advantage of it along with their six powerplay chances to defeat Notre Dame 4-3 to advance to the National Championship game. 

Both Notre Dame and Minnesota-Duluth traded goals back and forth early in the game, with a total of five goals in the first period scored between the two teams. Jeff Costello got the scoring started 49 seconds into the game for Notre Dame. J.T Brown scored three minutes later on the powerplay to tie the game up for the first time for Minnesota-Duluth. T.J Tynan scored to give Notre Dame their last lead of the game at the 9:46 mark of the first period and Kyle Schmidt scored 1:06 later to tie the game up again. Mike Connolly scored the final goal of the first period at 13:31 to give Minnesota-Duluth the final lead of the game. 

The first period featured a total of five goals and 26 shots on goal. The Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs were coming into this game with a record of 13-1-1 when they were leading after the first period.The Bulldogs received three powerplay chances in the first period and were able to convert on two of them. Overall in the game, Minnesota-Duluth went 3 for 6 on the powerplay while Notre Dame went 0 for 5. 

After the offensive bonanza in the first, the second period saw both defenses crackdown on the offensive chances. Minnesota-Duluth scored once more in the second period, a Jack Connolly powerplay goal at the 5:51 mark of the period, and a total of 12 shots happened in the second period.

The third period saw Notre Dame turn up the offense to try and make up the two goal deficit they had built. Calle Ridderwall scored a shorthanded goal at the 2:05 mark of the third period to close the gap but it wasn't enough to keep the Bulldogs from the finals. Notre Dame outshot Minnesota-Duluth 15-2 in the third period, but only scored the one goal. Notre Dame goaltender Mike Johnson made 17 saves in the losing effort while Minnesota-Duluth goaltender Kenny Reiter made 31 saves for the win.

The Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs will face off against the winner of the North Dakota/Michigan matchup in the second semifinal. This will be Minnesota-Duluth's second appearance in the National Championship game in the history of the university. 

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