Minnesota-Duluth reaches Frozen Four
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Mike Connolly scored a short-handed goal and had three assists as Minnesota-Duluth beat top-seeded Yale 5-3 to earn a trip to the Frozen Four on Saturday.
Kenny Reiter made 30 saves for UMD (24-10-6), which used four second-period goals, three on the power play, to take a four-goal lead into the third.
Not Good To Be No. 1
Spring arrived too early for too many teams that carried the burden of being a No. 1 seed into this NCAA hockey tournament, writes David Albright. Story
"Kenny was phenomenal, I mean he stood on his head all weekend and made huge stops," said Jack Connolly, who added a goal and two assists for UMD.
This will be the fourth trip to the Frozen Four for Minnesota-Duluth and first since 2004. This one will be in St. Paul, about 150 miles from Duluth.
"It's not often you get an opportunity like that to have the whole state behind you," Mike Connolly said. "So we're definitely excited."
Ryan Rondeau, who went almost 240 minutes without giving up a goal before Air Force scored on him in the first round, made 16 saves for Yale (28-7-1) and was pulled at the end of the second period in favor of sophomore Nick Maricic, who made just his third appearance this season.
It was the second consecutive loss in a regional final for Yale.
Minnesota-Duluth opened the scoring with 2 minutes left in the first period when Justin Fontaine and Mike Connolly broke out of the Yale zone short-handed and Connolly put the puck past Rondeau.
Wade Bergman's slap shot from just inside the left point made it 2-0 less than 3 minutes into the second period, and Duluth made it 3-0 when Jack Connolly scored from the bottom of the right faceoff circle .
Yale's Brian O'Neill appeared to put the Eli's back into the game, scoring on a one-timer with 8:30 left in the period.
But 8 seconds later, he was called for making contact with the head of Minnesota-Duluth's Jake Hendrickson, drawing a major penalty and a game misconduct that left Yale unhappy with the call.
"In hindsight, the game was over then," Yale coach Keith Allain said. "You've got momentum and they take one of our top players out of the game and put us on the penalty kill for five minutes."
UMD's Mike Seidel scored a few seconds into the power play, and Justin Fontaine scored on a 5-on-3 just over a minute later after another Yale penalty.
Broc Little and Denny Kearney scored for Yale in the third, but it was too little, too late.
UMD has won six of its seven meetings with Yale, the last in 2005.
Michigan 2, Colorado College 1
Red Berenson produced another Frozen Four for Michigan on the same slab of ice where he was honored by the St. Louis Blues earlier this month.
Scooter Vaughan's end-to-end rush gave Michigan the lead on the game's first shot and the Wolverines bottled up Colorado College throughout, earning a spot in the Frozen Four with a 2-1 victory in the NCAA regional final in St. Louis.
Lee Moffie had a goal and an assist in the first period for Michigan (28-10-4), which has won 11 of 12 and will face Denver or North Dakota in the national semifinals April 7 in St. Paul, Minn. It's the 24th Frozen Four and first since 2008 for a school that leads the nation with nine national titles and has made 21 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances under Berenson.
The Blues paid tribute to Berenson, Joe Mullen, Garry Unger and Keith Tkachuk for wearing No. 7 with distinction on March 7. Berenson, who scored a franchise-record six goals in a game in 1968 and later coached the Blues, acknowledged winning in St. Louis was special.
"And yet this was about our team and the University of Michigan, putting our best foot forward," Berenson said. "My history here is really irrelevant in terms of this building and this event."
Michigan had to erase an early two-goal deficit to beat Nebraska-Omaha in overtime in the regional semifinals but grabbed a two-goal lead in the first period and kept the pressure on despite leaning heavily on the penalty kill for the second straight night. The Wolverines outshot Colorado College 43-21.
"You're playing against one of the best power plays in the country," Berenson said. "And we survived it."
Rylan Schwartz scored a power-play goal with 3:35 to go for Colorado College (23-19-3), which failed to follow up an eight-goal outburst in its semifinal upset of top regional seed Boston College. Colorado College was 1 for 7 on the power play, and opponents were 1 for 13 in the tournament.
"Obviously, we got outshot badly, but all in all there we are with 30 seconds left with a chance to tie it and a couple good chances to boot," Colorado College coach Scott Owens said. "We didn't have quite the same jump we had last night.
"We were a little tired in some areas, and part of that had to do with Michigan."
Jaden Schwartz, a freshman who was the Blues' first-round draft pick in 2010, assisted on his older brother's goal and totaled two goals and three assists in the tournament.
"I thought it was pretty cool," Schwartz said. "You kind of sit back and imagine what it would be like playing in the NHL here."
Michigan goalie Shawn Hunwick had a run of 43 consecutive saves in the regional before Schwartz tipped in a rebound.
"I don't think I was in too much of a rhythm or a groove, I was just trying to play my game," Hunwick said.
Joe Howe was the standout for Colorado College with 41 saves.
"There's a lot of saves but two I wish I had back," he said. "I don't care if I had 100 or zero, we lost the game."
Vaughan drove the net and beat Howe at 2:23 of the first even though Colorado College had four men back. Moffie scored his eighth goal, most among Wolverines defensemen, on a power play at 17:33 of the first.
Not long before the game, officials considered and ultimately decided against awarding Michigan's overtime goal in the semifinals to Greg Pateryn, whose shot from the right point started the play. The puck deflected off the end boards and Kevin Lynch was credited for tipping it off a defenseman and into the net, although the replay wasn't conclusive.
Officials reviewed the deciding goal against Nebraska-Omaha for more than 10 minutes after initially ruling no goal.
New Hampshire 3, Miami (Ohio) 1
Kevin Goumas scored twice and New Hampshire goalie Matt Di Girolamo stopped seven shots in the third period as the Wildcats upset top-seeded Miami of Ohio 3-1 in the NCAA tournament's northeast regional in Manchester, N.H.
Mike Sislo also scored for the Wildcats (22-10-6), breaking a 1-all tie early in the third period and Di Girolamo carried UNH the rest of the way.
New Hampshire will play either Notre Dame or Merrimack on Sunday in the regional final.
Di Girolamo didn't allow a goal after Bryon Paulazzo put Miami (23-10-6) up 1-0 just 53 seconds into the game. He finished with 21 saves and was mobbed by his teammates at the net after the final horn as New Hampshire fans chanted "U-N-H!"
Goumas tied it at 1-all exactly one minute after Miami's only score and later and added an empty-net goal with 1:25 left in the third.
Cody Reichard made 24 saves for the RedHawks, whose quest for a third straight appearance in the Frozen Four ended in the regional semifinals.
Denver 3, Western Michigan 2, 2 OTs
Jason Zucker scored off a rebound of his own shot 11:14 into the second overtime to lift Denver past Western Michigan 3-2 in the NCAA regional semifinals in Green Bay, Wis.
Zucker, the Western Collegiate Hockey Assocation's freshman of the year, capped an improbable comeback for the Pioneers, who trailed 2-0 with less than five minutes left in regulation.
His goal allowed Denver to snap a three-game losing streak in NCAA games.
In a rematch of the WCHA finals, the Pioneers (25-11-5) will play No. 1 ranked North Dakota on Sunday for a trip to the Frozen Four. The Sioux won the last meeting in double overtime.
"For those who were ready to write us off, you should know better," Denver coach George Gwozdecky said. "This team has shown -- I hate to use the word resiliency because it's such an overused term in sport -- but certainly this team has always shown throughout the year that our third period is by far our best period of games."
The rally left the Broncos (19-13-10) stunned and heading home after making their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1996.
"I can't even put into words how proud I am of them and the effort they put forth," Western Michigan coach Jeff Blashill said. "They have a great fight and courage and they continued to fight and unfortunately we just ended up on the wrong side."
After a scoreless first period -- in which the Broncos hit two crossbars and a post -- Western Michigan's Derek Roehl scored more than halfway through the second.
Roehl cleaned up a rebound on a shot that got Pioneers goalie Sam Brittain out of position and put it home with a backhanded shot at the 13:17 mark.
Trevor Elias scored at 3:32 of the third. But Denver's Kyle Ostrow got the Pioneers within one on a power-play goal at 15:31 and Matt Donovan scored 2:07 later to tie it.
Denver had a chance to win it in regulation as a shot trickled through Western Michigan goalie Jerry Kuhn's pads but the puck missed the net by inches as the horn sounded.
North Dakota 6, Rensselaer 0
North Dakota lived up to its No. 1 ranking in its NCAA tournament opener.
Brad Malone scored a pair of goals, and the Sioux moved one win away from the Frozen Four with a 6-0 rout of Rensselaer in a NCAA regional semifinal at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis.
After a relatively close first period, North Dakota broke it open in the second, scoring four goals -- including two power play goals and a short-handed tally.
Matt Frattin added his nation-leading 36th goal of the season just 42 seconds into the third period for North Dakota (31-8-3).
Sioux goaltender Aaron Dell stopped all 21 shots he faced to earn his sixth shutout of the season.
The Engineers finished their season at 20-13-5.
Notre Dame 4, Merrimack 3
Anders Lee scored his second goal of the game 5:18 into overtime and Notre Dame rallied from a pair of two-goal deficits to beat Merrimack 4-3 in the NCAA tournament regional in in Manchester, N.H.
The Fighting Irish (24-13-5) advanced to play New Hampshire in the regional final Sunday night for a spot in the Frozen Four.
Lee got his stick in front of a clearing pass and knocked the puck backward past Joe Cannata into the net to win it. The Merrimack goalie just slumped to the ice as Lee skated off and was swarmed by his teammates across the ice from the Notre Dame bench.
The Irish, who trailed 2-0 and 3-1, held off a frenzied start by Merrimack (25-10-4) in overtime.
The Warriors had the Irish scrambling from the start of overtime, firing off six shots in the first five minutes, prompting Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson to call a timeout.
Just 18 seconds later, Lee poked the puck into the net.
Cannata made 33 saves for the Warriors, who were in the NCAA tournament for the second time.
Mike Johnson stopped 32 shots for Notre Dame, including all six he faced in overtime.
Billy Maday had a goal and an assist for the Irish. Ryan Flanigan led Merrimack with a goal and an assist.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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