The Michigan hockey team is headed to the NCAA hockey championship game for the first time since 1998. The Wolverines downed North Dakota on Thursday night by a score of 2-0 to advance on to the championship game thanks to an amazing performance by goaltender Shawn Hunwick. He had 40 saves and was magnificent in net for Michigan, helping stave off the Fighting Sioux for all 60 minutes of action.
Michigan got off to a slow start with North Dakota dominating the play, and taking two early penalties didn't help, either. North Dakota seemed to be in complete control of the game, but that would be the theme of the entire night. The Sioux had time of possession and time on attack in their favor by a wide margin, but they were unable to get anything to show for it.
The Wolverines did get something to show for a Jon Merrill shot that rattled off the post right after the 13-minute mark of the first period. Ben Winnett collected the rebound, slowly gathered the puck and put it past North Dakota goalie Aaron Dell. The goal put Michigan on top by a 1-0 margin, which is what the score remained until there were 35.8 seconds left. At that time Michigan's Scooter Vaughan shot the puck into an empty net to give the Wolverines a 2-0 lead and to essentially seal the victory. The celebrating on the Michigan bench began, and after the final 35.8 seconds ran out the players stormed the ice to celebrate the victory with Hunwick, who played absolutely out of his mind.
The win means Michigan is one victory away from its 10th national championship in program history. The Wolverines will take on Minnesota Duluth, which beat Notre Dame earlier in the day by a score of 4-3. The puck will drop at 7 p.m. ET and ESPN will have the broadcast.