BOSTON (AP) — Denver knocked Michigan out of Frozen Four. Then comes the opportunity to take on the Wolverines as the most decorated team in college hockey history.
Carter Savoie went into overtime to score with 14:53, converting in his own rebound on Thursday night to lead the Pioneers in the NCAA championship game as they beat Michigan 3-2. A win would give Denver its ninth hockey title – a total reached only by Michigan.
“When we talk about what we want to do in Denver, it’s about getting the opportunity to win championships and hang the banner,” said coach David Carle, whose team played a late match between Minnesota and Minnesota State. will play against the winner of the semi-finals on Saturday night.
“It is very special to have this occasion. Doing it against Michigan, which is on nine and we are on eight, is even sweeter,” Carle said. “And hopefully we can tie them up and close the gap and reach our goal of getting to the first 10.”
Magnus Krona made 19 saves for the Pioneers, which advanced into regulation on goals from Brett Stapley and Cameron Wright. But Jimmy Lambert and Thomas Bourdeleu each tied, the latter with 11 minutes left in regulation.
This remained until Michigan failed to clear the puck from its field, with two Wolverines skating it near the blue line, each leaving it for the other. Savoie grabbed it, sent it on a deflection to Hobby Baker finalist Bobby Brink in the corner and then skated in the middle, waving his stick in the air to call for a pass.
Brink found him, and he delivered the winner on his second attempt. Pioneers flocked to him against the board, while Denver fans celebrated behind the team’s bench.
“That’s what he does,” said Denver forward Ryan Barrow. “He scores big goals, as we all know.”
Carle noted before overtime that Brink, who leads the country with 14 goals and 43 assists in 40 games, and the rest of the Pioneers’ top line were locked in regulation.
“They came at the biggest moments for us to extend our season,” Carle said.
Eric Portillo blocked 30 shots for the Wolverines, who won their last title at TD Garden under Red Berenson in 1998 and have won only one game in seven visits to Frozen Four since then.
“It’s hard to get here. There were some really good teams that never got the chance to get here,” said Michigan coach Mel Pearson, who made their 13th appearance of Frozen Four as a coach to go as a player. traveled.
“You have to be nice. And you need a little luck. We think there is no Lady Luck on our side tonight,” he said. “We were in the game. This one shot could go either way. Single-game elimination is what makes winning so difficult. ,
Denver scored first when Stapley picked up a rebound, slammed it onto his backhand, and easily beat Portillo with eight minutes into the first period. Michigan tied it in the second at four minutes, when Nolan Moyle dug the puck from behind the net and sent it past Lambert who came in the middle.
Denver took a 2-1 lead when Mike Benning flipped it off the blue line and took Wright further inside the post.
Michigan tied it with 11 minutes to play into regulation after Mark Estapa threw himself into the ice to block the shot. The puck bounced off him and went into neutral territory, where Michael Pastujov caught him and took off.
As he approached the net, he tried to shoot or pass, but the puck was overtaken by a defender and went to the right of Bourdeleu, who was running out of play. His goal made it 2-2, and that’s how it stayed when Michigan hit two more penalties—three overall, none for Denver.
“Discipline has been an issue for us at times throughout the season. And it’s been the best of the year at the biggest moment,” Carle said. “We didn’t give the referee any chance to call us.”