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Frozen Four 2011 Recap: A Look Back At An Unforgettable Tournament

Regardless of who you were rooting for, the 2011 Frozen Four is one you will not forget any time soon. For Minnesota Duluth fans, they will always remember Kyle Schmidt's overtime goal that gave the Bulldogs a win over Michigan and their first ever NCAA hockey championship. On the flip side, Michigan fans won't soon forget a heartbreaking overtime loss in their first NCAA hockey championship appearance since 1998.

This year's entire NCAA tournament was a memorable one thanks to all of the upsets and exciting games. Hell, as tough as it was to watch Michigan lose the national title in overtime, at least the Wolverines made it this far for a change. It had been a long time coming, and finishing second is better than not making the title game at all, so it's still a memorable tournament.

If anything, Michigan will at least be able to look back on Thursday's win over North Dakota as a positive Frozen Four 2011 memory. Michigan faced an onslaught of offense all night from North Dakota, but former walk-on Shawn Hunwick played out of his mind and got the Wolverines a victory. What's more, who could forget the hilarious middle-fingered reactions of North Dakota fans following Scooter Vaughan's empty-net goal to seal the 2-0 victory?

The other game on Thursday was also quite exciting. Before winning the national title, Minnesota Duluth had to fend off Notre Dame in the first national semifinal. The Fighting Irish had the edge early on, but the Bulldogs fought back and took a 4-2 lead into the third period. A shorthanded goal by Notre Dame cut the lead to one goal and made for a very exciting final 18 minutes of the third period, which produced no goals but many close calls.

All in all, this year's NCAA tournament delivered as far as excitement goes, especially at the 2011 Frozen Four. This Michigan fan is disappointed that the memories of the final game won't be positive ones, but at least it was a good game, unlike last year's spree of blowouts at the Frozen Four in Detroit.