Tiny Union College skated off with the biggest trophy in college hockey. And the Dutchmen did it at the expense of two of the sport’s giants, toppling Minnesota for its first NCAA title after beating Boston College in the semifinals.
It was just three seasons ago when Union beat Minnesota — in overtime, in Minneapolis — for a win that pretty much put its program on the map. Back then, Union had yet to even appear in an NCAA tournament. Now, it’s one victory away from the national championship.
Justin Holl and the Minnesota Golden Gophers cut it about as close as possible after waiting all season to renew their long rivalry with North Dakota. The senior defenseman scored a short-handed goal with 0.6 seconds left to give Minnesota a 2-1 victory over North Dakota on Thursday night in the NCAA hockey semifinals.
Faithful Bucky Badger fans filled the 508 Bar in downtown Minneapolis Saturday night to watch the team in the Final Four. The whole place was packed with Wisconsin fans all day. “I just want it so badly that it’s terrifying to think that it’s so close but it’s going to be a big battle,” Wisconsin fan Greta Hughes said.
Aaron Harrison hit a 3-pointer with 5.7 seconds left to lift Kentucky to a one-point victory over Wisconsin.
The national semifinals drew 79,444 AT&T Stadium, beating the previous record of 78,129 when Kentucky beat Michigan State in a regular-season game at Ford Field in Detroit on Dec. 13, 2003.
DeAndre Daniels had 20 points and 10 rebounds to help UConn snap Florida’s 30-game win streak.
The North Dakota-Minnesota hockey series was a significant casualty of the football-driven conference realignment that interrupted so many classic rivalries across the country. As if prearranged to mollify fans frustrated by the first regular season in 67 years without this border-state matchup, the rivalry will be revived at the Frozen Four in Philadelphia. Those close to the clash felt like it was supposed to happen.
Nic Dowd scored with 2:39 left in overtime to give St. Cloud State a 4-3 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday night the NCAA West Regional semifinals. Dowd, a Hobey Baker Award finalist who leads the Huskies with 22 goals, fired a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Steven Summerhays high. “At this point, any shot’s a good shot,” said Dowd, whose Huskies (22-10-5) will play top-seeded Minnesota on Sunday for a spot in the Frozen Four. The Gophers beat Robert Morris 7-3.
Frank Kaminsky had 28 points and 11 rebounds for Wisconsin, rallying the Badgers to a 64-63 overtime victory against Arizona to advance to the Final Four.
Minnesota earned the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament with strong goaltending and a balanced offense. The Gophers used the same formula Saturday night to advance to the West Regional final. Nate Condon scored twice and Adam Wilcox made 22 saves to help the Gophers beat Robert Morris 7-3.
Scottie Wilbekin scored 14 of his 23 points in the first half as Florida became the first team to advance to the Final Four with a 62-52 win over the 11th-seeded Dayton Flyers.
Aaron Harrison hit a 3-pointer for the go-ahead score with 39 seconds left and Julius Randle made a pair of clutch free throws to lift Kentucky to a 74-69 victory over their in-state rivals.
Branden Dawson had 24 points and 10 rebounds as Michigan State beat top-seeded Virginia 61-59 to advance to East Regional final.
Breanna from Anoka asked: Why are potholes called potholes? Taylor from Rosemount wanted to know: What do the red, white and blue ribbons on the floors of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament stand for?