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Frozen Four: UMD wins national title

David Grun of Minnesota Duluth checks a Michigan player during Saturday's men's hockey national championship game at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

ST. PAUL -- At this rate, Minnesota Duluth might have to build an extra wing at Romano Gym to house all its national championship trophies.

The men's hockey team became the latest to capture an NCAA title with a 3-2 overtime victory over Michigan in tonight's Division I Frozen Four final before a pro-UMD crowd of 19,222 spectators at Xcel Energy Center.

Kyle Schmidt, a second-line left winger from Hermantown, scored the game-winning goal at 3:22 of the first extra session, taking a behind-the-net pass from linemate Travis Oleksuk and beating goaltender Shawn Hunwick for his 11th goal of the season.

Schmidt skated down the center of the ice and slid on his back in the UMD zone as teammates mobbed the senior.

The title is the eighth team championship UMD has won in a little over a decade and the fourth in less than four years. The football team has claimed two of the last three Division II titles and the women's hockey team won its fifth in 2010.

UMD lost 5-4 to Bowling Green State in the school's only other championship game appearance in 1984 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Former Duluth East standout Max Tardy picked a good time for his first collegiate goal, scoring on a power play midway through the second period, to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead before the Wolverines equalized when Jeff Rohrkemper batted home a loose puck in the slot late in the period.

Tardy, a freshman center with just two assists, attempted to pass across the crease when the puck was knocked back to him by goaltender Shawn Hunwick and he deposited the puck in the net for a 2-1 lead at 9:31.

But Rohrkemper, another fourth-line center, beat UMD goalie Kenny Reiter at 17:46 to tie the game.

The teams played a scoreless third period.

UMD junior center Travis Oleksuk knocked in a loose puck past Hunwick at 1:39 of the second period to tie the game at 1-1 and end the goalie's scoreless streak at 85 minutes, 14 seconds. Hunwick had a 40-save shutout in Thursday's semifinals against North Dakota.

Michigan senior Ben Winnett scored off a faceoff to give the Wolverines the lead in the first period. Winnett, a third-line winger, scored his fifth goal of the season at 14:42, blasting a shot to Reiter's stick side after Matt Rust had won the faceoff.

The Bulldogs predominately carried the play throughout and finished with a 38-24 advantage in shots on goal, not counting two-time All-American Jack Connolly clanging a shot off a post in the first period. Michigan was 9-3-1 when its opponents took more shots, including the 2-0 win over the Fighting Sioux.

The Wolverines had the best chance early when leading scorer Carl Hagelin knocked the puck into the net, but officials ruled -- and replays confirmed -- that Hagelin knocked the puck out from under Reiter after the whistle had blown.

The Wolverines hurt themselves by continually taking penalties. UMD, with one of the top power plays in the nation, was 1-for-9 with an extra attacker. Michigan failed on all four of its chances.

-- UMD freshman J.T. Brown was named the tournament's most outstanding player, while defenseman Justin Faulk and Schmidt also were named to the all-tournament team.

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