The University of Minnesota-Duluth and the University of Michigan weren't exactly favorites to be playing for the NCAA Men's Division I Ice Hockey Championship when the season started in October. And they certainly weren't favorites when the tournament field was announced two weeks ago.
But they're the last two teams standing, after UMD weathered an early storm from Notre Dame, coming back from down 1-0 and holding off the Fighting Irish to win 4-3 in Thursday's early game. In the nightcap, Michigan goaltender Matt Hunwick (brother of former Boston Bruins' defenseman Matt) put the team on his shoulders, stifling North Dakota - the nation's second-ranked offense at 4.08 goals per game - and pushing the Wolverines to the brink of their 10th national title.
Hunwick's 40-save shutout was the first shutout in the Frozen Four since North Dakota shut out Michigan State by a 2-0 score in the 2001 national semifinals, and the first time a goaltender has shut out a team while recording 40 or more saves in either of the national final rounds since the tournament adopted its current, 16-team, four-regional format in 2003.