UPDATED: 9:15 p.m. The men’s hockey team has fallen in the East Regional finals for two consecutive years. But both times, Yale’s opponent has gone on to clinch the national title.
Minnesota-Duluth, the team that knocked the Elis out of the NCAA Tournament with a 5–3 win in Bridgeport two weeks ago, captured its first ever Frozen Four championship on Saturday night. Duluth winger Kyle Schmidt one-timed a pass from the behind the goal to defeat Michigan, 3–2, after 3:22 of overtime play. Though Duluth’s top line of Jack Connolly, Justin Fontaine and Mike Connolly went without a point on Saturday and the teams were knotted at 2–2 throughout the third period, Michigan committed twice as many penalties as Duluth and was unable to outlast its opponent.
Duluth shed off ghosts from its last trip to the championship game: a 1984 contest that it lost to Bowling Green after four agonizing extra periods. The overtime goal Saturday sent the heavily partisan crowd at the XCel Energy Center in Minneapolis — just a 2.5-hour drive from Duluth’s campus — into a frenzy, as the team lifted the championship trophy for the first time in school history.
Schmidt, who scored the game-winner Saturday, was the only Duluth player to not bleach his hair for the postseason, the New York Times reported.