Live Blog: NCAA Men's Hockey National Championship

By KBJR News 1

Live Blog: NCAA Men's Hockey National Championship

April 9, 2011 Updated Apr 9, 2011 at 10:34 PM CDT

9:28 CDT --- Good night, Bulldogs fans! Catch all the highlights at 10 on the KBJR6 and Range11 News at 10. Be safe with the celebrations tonight, and go Bulldogs!

9:20 CDT --- Hermantown native Kyle Schmidt with the game-winner!!! Ironically, he won the Unsung Hero award this year in college hockey. Great effort by UMD, and they were rewarded!

9:18 CDT --- UMD WINS!!!

9:14 CDT --- No matter how much hockey they've played, the adrenaline these kids are feeling right now is enough to pull them through.

9:12 CDT --- Overtime starts with chances for both teams. How could you not be having fun, hockey fans?

9:04 CDT --- Reiter with 21 saves, Hunwick with 34. Wow. UMD is outshooting Michigan by a ton. Where would either of these teams be without that man between the pipes?

8:56 CDT --- Stretch your legs, sports fans. Come back ready for the long haul. This could become another thriller for Bulldogs fans.

8:55 CDT --- Initial impressions of the third period were that UMD outplayed Michigan by a hair. Throw the puck and the net, crash the crease, and good things will happen. Both goaltenders stole the show in the third, though. They were both spectacular.

8:53 CDT --- 2-2 after regulation. Free hockey for everyone.

8:51 CDT --- UMD has to use the crowd to its advantage right now. It's overwhelming maroon and gold at the X. Get a cheer going, fans, come on.

8:49 CDT --- Anyone out there remember Mike Sertich's old motto? A shot on goal is never a bad play. I think Coach would agree, especially when there's two minutes left in a tied national championship game.

8:48 CDT --- It's the age-old question: Who wants to be the hero? It's looking like the next goal will win it.

8:47 CDT --- Both goaltenders playing out of their heads right now. I sense overtime.

8:39 CDT --- Mike Connolly came about two inches from giving UMD its third goal. Great play by the Michigan defense, followed by a spectacular save by Kenny Reiter! This is opening up now!

8:38 CDT --- Michigan again looks rattled. Dumb stuff after the whistle. It means nothing, though, unless UMD works the power play well.

8:36 CDT --- The ninth power play of the game for UMD coming up. They only have one goal from Max Tardy today with the man advantage. Get it going boys.

8:34 CDT --- Ten minutes left. This has been a solid hockey game thus far. Which team will take the reins and make the big play though?

8:30 CDT --- Great work by J.T. Brown. He created a scoring chance and drew the penalty. We'll skate 4-on-4 for almost two minutes.

8:28 CDT --- Brady Lamb the victim of a tough call. Looked like two guys going hard to the puck, but it's ruled he hit after the whistle. Tough break, but UMD needs to kill this penalty and move on.

8:25 CDT --- Two months ago, no one in the college hockey world thought UMD would be here. Even when the NCAA Tournament started, the Bulldogs seemed like an afterthought. Their run only proves the theory that you need to be playing your best hockey in the playoffs.

8:23 CDT --- Don't disregard the Bulldogs experience with close postseason games this season. That 3 OT thriller against St. Cloud State proves to themselves they can play and win a close game.

8:20 CDT --- This entire game has been tight-checking. Both teams have very good play makers, and no one wants to be the guy to let one of them free in space. Tight as it's been, expect it to get even more so as we get deeper in the third.

8:16 CDT --- Barry Melrose said the Bulldogs lack a sense of urgency. There is a fine line between calm with the puck and lackadaisical. UMD may be flirting with that line here in the third. Again no power play goal.

8:14 CDT --- ESPN hasn't been showing many cutaways of Michigan fans. Overwhelming Bulldogs presence in the rink.

8:12 CDT --- Another penalty by Michigan. Eventually, you have to figure this will be costly.

8:11 CDT --- One period left to crown a national champion. UMD is used to playing OT games in the postseason.

7:51 CDT --- Time to hit the concession stands everyone. Come back refreshed for the last 20 minutes!

7:50 CDT --- That was a very choppy period of hockey. Neither team really had any sustained pressure, but UMD comes away with two goals while Michigan only tallied one. Both teams need more from their stars and playmakers.

7:48 CDT --- Tied at 2 headed to the second intermission.

7:46 CDT --- Kyle Schmidt had a good chance down the left wing, similar to the chance he buried against Notre Dame, but Hunwick stood his ground.

7:44 CDT --- Disappointing five-minute stint there for UMD. Couple wasted opportunities, a bad penalty, and a goal against. Still time to gain momentum headed to the third period.

7:42 CDT --- Michigan ties the game at 2. UMD lost the puck in front of the net, and the Wolverines jumped on their chance. Reiter had no chance to make that save.

7:40 CDT --- It'd be easy to blame this mess on the referees. I don't think that's the case though. Both teams need to get control of their emotions.

7:38 CDT --- Jack Connolly with a penalty for UMD. Cooler heads need to prevail here for both teams. There has been absolutely no flow since UMD's second goal. ESPN hasn't shown a replay, so we don't know exactly what happened.

7:36 CDT --- Shawn Hunwick just threw a punch at UMD's J.T. Brown. From a Bulldog perspective, continue to get under his skin. He's rattled right now.

7:35 CDT --- Justin Faulk was scoring all kinds of power play goals early in the season. Now, his cannon of a shot is used almost as decoy for the Connolly boys.

7:34 CDT --- If you're wondering why UMD has been drawing so many penalties this postseason, it's because they're moving their feet. UMD has lots of speed, and when they're all on the same page it's hard to keep an eye on all of them.

7:33 CDT --- No goal on that power play for UMD. Good kill for Michigan, but then they went and took another. Wow.

7:31 CDT --- UMD is getting very good at freeing up a guy along the goal line on the power play. From there, he can either shoot quick or slide it back door. Even when teams can see what's happening, they can't stop it.

7:30 CDT --- Michigan with another penalty. Michigan's coaching staff probably spent the past two days telling their guys not to take penalties against UMD. Discipline is lacking for the Wolverines thus far.

7:28 CDT --- Reiter seems to have increased his focus during this postseason stretch. All year, the big negative on him was soft goals. He's not giving those up as much as he was earlier in the season.

7:25 CDT --- Michigan has done a very good job against UMD's top line, so it's great to see the role players stepping up. I don't think the Wolverines can keep the Connolly-Connolly-Fontaine line scoreless all game.

7:23 CDT --- That's Tardy's first goal of the year, and it came off a broken play. He was trying to slide the puck across the goal mouth, Hunwick broke it up, but it ended up on Tardy's stick and he buried it.

7:22 CDT --- Not the guy we expected, but Duluth East graduate Max Tardy scores on the power play! UMD with its first lead at 2-1.

7:21 CDT --- Another great sequence, this one from J.T. Brown, results in another power play for UMD.

7:20 CDT --- What a sequence! Terrible turnover by UMD results in a 2-on-1 for Michigan, but Reiter makes a huge save, and a defenseman smacks the puck out of midair off the goal line. Wow.

7:19 CDT --- As it has been all tournament, the UMD penalty kill is playing well. Wade Bergman getting a shout out from Barry Melrose as the team's best player on the kill.

7:13 CDT --- Coach Sandelin looks perplexed, but Brady Lamb earned a two minute tripping penalty. Too bad because it takes UMD's power play unit off the ice.

7:12 CDT --- Granted I had to miss most of the first period, but UMD looks far more comfortable in this game. Shawn Hunwick has been the better goaltender, though, hence the 1-1 tie.

7:11 CDT --- Michigan picks up a dumb penalty for hitting after the whistle. UMD did well to keep their heads, now they need to capitalize.

7:09 CDT --- If UMD gets the crowd behind them, Michigan is in big trouble. Important stretch of hockey right now.

7:06 CDT --- On a team that has become so accustomed to seeing guys score pretty goals, don't discount guys like Travis Oleksuk. Hard work in front of the net is what gives the playmakers space to do their thing.

7:05 CDT --- Travis Oleksuk ties it up at 1 with an early goal in the second. Great blue-collar goal.

7:03 CDT -- UMD was outshot in all three NCAA tournament games to get here, but outshot Michigan 12-8 in that first. Hunwick is playing well for the Wolverines between the pipes.

7:01 CDT --- Like we mentioned earlier, UMD hasn't trailed much during this NCAA Tournament. It will be interesting to see how they come out of the locker room. The next goal in this game will be a big momentum swing for one team.

6:59 CDT --- Work called as I had to anchor our weekly SportsZone show, but it looks like Michigan has a 1-0 lead at the first intermission.

6:25 CDT --- No luck on the first power play, but it looks like UMD has some momentum right now. They said they wanted to improve 5-on-5, so we'll see if they can.

6:23 CDT --- First power play for UMD. Jack Connolly has been looking to shoot more often during these playoffs, and I think that's a big reason for that line's increased success. It's much tougher to defend three shooters than two.

6:07 CDT --- Jack Connolly, Mike Connolly, and Justin Fontaine the highest-scoring line in the nation get the Bulldogs out of the gate. Setting the tone is important here.

6:05 CDT --- Neal Broten dropping the ceremonial first puck. He was a Gopher, but we'll let it slide.

5:58 CDT --- UMD's keys to the game have to include keeping that power play red hot and riding Kenny Reiter as far as he will take them. Keys for Michigan have to be neutralizing the top line of Connolly-Connolly-Fontaine and executing a good forecheck on the UMD defensemen.

5:50 CDT -- Seeing a preview of the game on ESPN right now. Barry Melrose has been on the Bulldogs bandwagon since the NCAA Tournament began, and that continues tonight.

5:43 CDT --- This game will truly be the tale of two programs. UMD has never won a Division I national title. Michigan has the all-time lead with nine. That said, UMD only needs to beat this Michigan team, not the entire history of Wolverine hockey.

5:30 CDT --- The 'X' and St. Paul will be busy enough tonight with UMD playing, but imagine if North Dakota was as well. You'd have to park near St. Cloud to get to the game.

5:18 CDT --- Last one, but, in my mind, this is the most impressive. In three NCAA Tournament games this year, 180 minutes of play, the Bulldogs have only trailed for 3 minutes 51 seconds. Wow.

5:15 CDT --- Here's another one. UMD has scored eight power play goals in 23 chances this NCAA Tournament for a mark of nearly 35%. That's unreal.

5:12 CDT --- To fill some time, let's talk statistics. First off, goaltender Kenny Reiter has stopped 91 of 99 shots this NCAA Tournament for a saves percentage of 91.9%. He's certainly been the backbone of that UMD defense.

5:01 CDT --- Now less than an hour from face-off at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Was anyone else unable to sleep last night?

4:54 CDT --- Hello everybody! It's been a great season for the UMD men, hopefully to be capped off tonight with a national championship! I'll be here all game, hope you will be too!

Posted by Zach Schneider
zschneider@northlandsnewscenter.com

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