For the first time since 2008 and the 24th time in program history, the Michigan hockey team is headed to the Frozen Four. The Wolverines defeated Colorado College by a score of 2-1 on Saturday night to advance to the 2011 Frozen Four, which will be held on April 7 and 9 in St. Paul, MN.
On Friday against Nebraska-Omaha, Michigan surrendered a quick goal and ultimately found itself down 2-0 after one period. On Saturday, the complete opposite happened. Michigan's Scooter Vaughan scored 2:23 into the game to put the Wolverines on top, 1-0. He dangled past a defenseman and flipped the puck past the goalie for the goal. At the 17:33 mark of the first, the lead became 2-0 for Michigan when Lee Moffie scored on a power play. After one period, Michigan was up by two goals.
The second and third periods were all Michigan. The Wolverines outshot Colorado College by a margin of 20-7 in the second, and they had some solid scoring chances. In the third the shooting margin was a bit closer -- 10-8 in favor of Michigan. Even so, Michigan had three power plays during the third and almost scored at least three or four times. On one power play Carl Hagelin missed by inches on a wraparound attempt, for example.
By not capitalizing on their numerous scoring chances, the Wolverines' lead remained at two goals until Colorado College's Rylan Schwartz tapped the puck into the net at the 16:25 mark of the third. Colorado College took a penalty less than a minute later, giving Michigan a chance to use up two minutes of the clock. After Michigan's power play expired, Colorado College pulled its goalie and had a couple chances to score. Michigan struggled to clear the puck out of the zone, but it was able to waste enough time for the clock to run out without the Tigers scoring the tying goal.
Although Colorado College had a few decent chances here or there, this game was all Michigan. The Wolverines had 43 total shots compared to the Tigers' 22, and Shawn Hunwick played outstanding in net for Michigan. Aside from Colorado College's one goal, Hunwick turned away all of the close calls and played very well between the pipes.
With the win, Michigan is headed to the Frozen Four, where it will look to capture the program's 10th NCAA hockey tournament title. In St. Paul, Michigan will take on the winner of Sunday's North Dakota/Denver game in one of the national semifinals on April 7. The other national semifinal will feature Minnesota-Duluth and the winner of Sunday's Notre Dame/New Hampshire game. The national championship game will be held on April 9 in St. Paul.