UMD wins national title

April 9, 2018
UMD men's hockey players storm the ice after winning the Frozen Four title on April 7.

The University of Minnesota Duluth etched its name as one of the dominant teams of the decade in men's hockey, beating Notre Dame 2-1 Saturday night to capture the Frozen Four title in men's hockey at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Notre Dame was looking to win its first-ever Frozen Four, while UMD was hoping to avenge last year's overtime loss in the title game to Denver. The Bulldogs prevailed to claim their second Frozen Four title; they also won in 2011—the last time the event was held in St. Paul. 

“I couldn’t be more proud of our team, the way they battled all year and tonight,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said after the game. "Obviously, it's a special championship for our program. I was fortunate to be part of the first one, but this one is just as special. They never get old."

UMD took an early 2-0 first-period lead behind goals by captain Karson Kuhlman and Jared Thomas, and UMD goalie Hunter Shepard preserved the lead over the final two periods while the Bulldogs outshot the Irish 35-20 for the game. 

The crowd of 18,303 leaned heavily toward the home-state Bulldogs, who got an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and had to overcome the loss of 10 players from last year to graduation or moving on to the professional ranks. But they proved to be very worthy champions with a well-earned run through the tournament.

UMD is now 7-4 all time in Frozen Four games and a perfect 4-0 at the Excel Energy Center. Counting the 2002 national title of the University of Minnesota Gophers, U of M teams have won all three Frozen Fours played in that arena.