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Schmidt's OT goal gives Minnesota Duluth hockey title
St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Kyle Schmidt's deflection in front at 3:22 of overtime lifted Minnesota Duluth to its first men's Division I hockey title, as the Bulldogs beat Michigan, 3-2, Saturday night.
Travis Oleksuk had a goal and assisted on the game-winner. Max Tardy netted the other score for the Bulldogs. Kenny Reiter made 22 saves as Minnesota Duluth prevented the Wolverines from securing their 10th national title. The Bulldogs played in their first championship game since losing in four overtimes to Bowling Green in 1984.
"Just a tremendous feeling to be a part of the first Minnesota Duluth team to ever bring a national championship back home," Tardy said. "And it's something that we're going to be able to look back on a long time from now and all that, we did it. And it's great for all the fans back home."
Shawn Hunwick stopped 35 shots for Michigan, which received goals from Ben Winnett and Jeff Rohrkemper.
Freshman Justin Faulk had a chance to give the Bulldogs the win in the opening moments of overtime, but his shot from below the left circle was stuffed by Hunwick.
The Bulldogs later cycled the puck behind the net and Oleksuk sent a backhand pass to the front where Schmidt deposited the puck by Hunwick to send the Bulldogs and their fans into a frenzy.
Michigan had won its last two titles in overtime, both by 3-2 scores in 1996 and '98. On this night the Wolverines, who fell to 9-3 in national championship games, had to kill off numerous penalties, but still lost despite holding the Bulldogs to 1-of-9 on the man advantage.
"We all know Michigan hockey, we don't let up, usually we're the more dominant team," Wolverines senior forward Louie Caporusso said. "We take pride in the cycle keeping the puck in their zone and putting pressure on them. I don't think we had that for a sustained amount of time this weekend. But I think on the other hand we played well defensively, everyone filing out to the net, branching out. So just for whatever reason didn't click this weekend, but hopefully these guys will get it next time."
The Bulldogs had a great chance to move in front first, but Jack Connolly's shot from near the right circle caromed off the crossbar 4:20 into the contest.
Winnett was called for interference at 5:46 of the first period, but Michigan killed off the Minnesota Duluth power play. He then gave the Wolverines the lead with 5:18 left in the opening period. Michigan won a left circle offensive zone faceoff and Winnett skated to the slot before firing a wrist shot that got past Reiter on the left side.
Hunwick started the second period by making a huge save on a point-blank shot, but the Bulldogs evened the contest at the 1:39 mark on Oleksuk's tally. He knocked a bouncing puck from below the right circle past Hunwick.
The Bulldogs went in front on a power play goal by Tardy at 9:31 of the second period. He shot the puck from the left side, near the net. Hunwick made the initial save, but left the rebound on the doorstep for Tardy's first goal of the season.
Michigan tied the game with 2:14 left in the middle stanza on Rohrkemper's third goal of the season, a rebound from the slot.
Michigan defenseman Greg Pateryn made an incredible sweep of a trickling puck just before it crossed the goal line, to keep the game tied. Then a short time later, with about seven minutes left in regulation, the action shifted to the other end when Reiter made a spectacular sprawling save.
Michigan coach Red Berenson suffered his first loss in a championship game.
Minnesota Duluth freshman J.T. Brown was named the tournament's most outstanding player.
"Definitely we have a lot of confidence on our team. We knew if we kept getting pucks behind their defense we'd eventually get something," Brown said. "We knew if we kept working hard and going 100 percent we knew we would come out on top."
04/09 23:51:03 ET