Michigan's last two NCAA championships in hockey -- in 1996 and 1998 -- were both won in overtime. If Michigan wants to win its 10th championship in program history tonight, it will also have to come in overtime, because after three periods of action at the 2011 Frozen Four, the Wolverines and Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs are tied, 2-2.
Zero goals were scored in the third period, but not for a lack of chances. Shawn Hunwick stoned a Minnesota Duluth player as he skated right down the middle of the zone on one such chance. Hunwick challenged him and made a big save to keep the score even. Later in the period, with seven minutes left, Michigan defenseman Greg Pateryn cleared the puck out of the crease just as it was about to trickle across the goal line. It was the play of the game defensively, and it was the closest either team came in the third to breaking the tie.
Michigan's best scoring chance came right after Pateryn's big clear. Carl Hagelin and Louie Caporusso came down on a two on one, and the Minnesota Duluth player dove down to take away the passing lane. Hagelin still managed to get it to Caporusso, who hesitated and shot the puck at a diving Kenny Reiter. Reiter stacked his pads to make the save, and he also made a big save with less than five to go when Michigan's Scooter Vaughan had a chance right down by the net.
Michigan managed to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament by beating Nebraska Omaha on a controversial goal that was only ruled a goal after a 10-minute-long video review. Tonight Michigan will need some more OT magic to win the 2011 NCAA championship game.
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