Michigan 2, North Dakota 0
Sometimes, all you need is a great goaltending performance to win a big hockey game, especially in a single-elimination tournament like that of the NCAA. When one game is all that's guaranteed to be left in your season, one player can have that kind of impact.
That's exactly the impact that Shawn Hunwick, goaltender of the Michigan hockey team, had on Thursday night in the National Semifinal against the favored North Dakota Fighting Sioux. His team jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a goal from Ben Winnett about midway through the first period.
From that point on, the game was all about the Sioux, who outshot Michigan 26-7 over the last 40 minutes of the game. They were clearly the more talented team, controlling play for long stretches in the offensive zone, not allowing Michigan to get into any sort of rhythm at all.
But defensemen blocked shots -- 16 in total -- and Hunwick ultimately made 40 saves on the evening, enough to shock the best team remaining in the tournament. After an empty netter in the final minute, North Dakota's fate was sealed.
Minnesota-Duluth 4, Notre Dame 3
After knocking out the nation's best team in the East Regional Final, the UMD Bulldogs probably feel like they can do anything, but winning a National Championship still might be kind of unbelievable.
Well, they should believe it, because with one more win, that's exactly what will happen. The Bulldogs used incredible special teams play on Thursday night to defeat the young Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, 4-3. It's UMD's first trip to the national title game in 26 years.
They scored three of their four goals on the power play, including Jack Connolly's game-winner in the second period, while stopping all five Notre Dame power plays in the process. The Irish did pull closer with a shorthanded goal in the third period, but that wasn't enough to overcome the Bulldogs.