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North Dakota, Notre Dame complete Frozen Four

Sunday, 03.27.2011 / 11:28 PM / On Campus

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North Dakota, Notre Dame complete Frozen Four
Six different players scored and Aaron Dell stopped 26 shots as top-seeded North Dakota defeated Denver 6-1 on Sunday for a spot in the Frozen Four.
North Dakota and Notre Dame rounded out the field for this year's Frozen Four with victories Sunday in their regional finals.

The Fighting Irish (25-13-5) will face Minnesota-Duluth (24-10-6) at 5 p.m. ET in one of two national semifinals to be played April 7 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. In the nightcap, the Fighting Sioux (32-8-3) will play Michigan (28-10-4) at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Midwest - Green Bay, Wis.
North Dakota 6, Denver 1


Six different players scored a goal and Aaron Dell stopped 26 shots as top-seeded North Dakota pulled away late in the third period and recorded its second consecutive impressive win after blanking RPI 6-0 in a regional semifinal on Saturday.

"We said it yesterday, we need to play our best game today against Denver and I'll be honest with you, I think we did that," Fighting Sioux coach Dave Hakstol said. "I think this was a complete hockey game by our team."

Evan Trupp and Brett Hextall scored second-period goals to give North Dakota a 3-1 lead and Brock Nelson put the final nail in Denver's coffin when he lit the lamp with 5:17 remaining. The Fighting Sioux added an empty-net goal by Brad Malone with 2:49 left and Jake Marto's power-play goal with 1:39 to play.

Hextall, Nelson and Malone each recorded a goal and an assist for North Dakota, while Chay Genoway added three assists.

"They're such a good team, especially offensively. They're hard to contain. They move around a lot, they do a lot of different things and they're competitive on pucks," Hextall said. "They're difficult to play against and to get those goals to give us some breathing room, that was huge for us. It took some of the tension off and we were able just to stick with our game plan."

Mario Lamoureux's shorthanded goal opened the scoring for the Fighting Sioux with 5:23 left in the first, but the Pioneers (25-12-5) drew even with two-tenths of a second remaining in the period when Jason Zucker banked the puck off Dell from behind the net for his 23rd goal of the season.

With the win, his 30th on the season, Dell broke a 24-year-old North Dakota record for wins in a season, formerly held by Ed Belfour (1986-87). He was selected the regional's Most Outstanding Player, finishing with 46 saves on 47 shots.

The teams were meeting for the first time in the NCAA tournament since Denver's 4-1 win over North Dakota in the 2005 national championship game in Columbus, Ohio.

Northeast - Manchester, N.H.
Notre Dame 2, New Hampshire 1


Billy Maday's goal with five seconds left in the middle period proved to be decisive as sophomore goalie Mike Johnson made 37 saves and the Fighting Irish advanced to the Frozen Four for the second time in the school's history.

Stephen Johns opened the scoring for Notre Dame, a 4-3 overtime winner over Merrimack on Saturday. In its previous appearance in the national semifinals, in 2008 in Denver, the Irish beat Michigan in overtime before falling to Boston College in the title game.

"I felt really good, I felt in the zone today, and my teammates played a heck of a game in front of me," Johnson said. "They back pressured hard and got sticks in passing lanes and did everything to help me keep the puck out of the net. So I knew if I kept the rebounds to a minimum we'd be doing alright."

Johnson, who stopped 69 of 73 shots over the two games, was selected the regional's Most Outstanding Player.

"I've been trying to convince the kid that he can be one of the best goalies in college hockey," Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. "He's only a sophomore. People have to -- I have to recognize that once in a while. … From my perspective, Michael's biggest challenge is he wants to do well so bad that he ends up thinking it too much. And I keep reminding him, all the goalie drills that we do, it's more about just getting into the game and stopping the puck. You don't think during the game, you just play. And tonight he just played."

The Wildcats got an outstanding effort of their own in goal from Matt Di Girolamo, who finished with 36 saves. Mike Sislo got them on the scoreboard in the third period, taking a feed from Matt Campanale and scoring from the slot with 6:23 remaining.

Riley Sheahan set up both goals for the Irish, who survived being outshot 8-1 by the Wildcats in the early going. Their second shot, a drive from the blue line by Johns at the 7:26 mark, eluded Di Girolamo and put Notre Dame in front to stay.

The second goal was critical, as Maday beat the buzzer in the second with a backhand shot. Moments earlier, Johnson kept New Hampshire from drawing even with a glove stop on John Henrion. Notre Dame won the ensuing defensive zone faceoff and advanced the puck down into the Wildcats' end before Maday scored.

Material from broadcast media was used in this report.

Quote of the Day

The old saying in hockey is 'weather the storm.' I put the notion in their heads that we don't want to weather the storm, we want to push just as hard and matched their work ethic. I thought our guys exceeded that in the first period.

— Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins after their loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday
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