Minnesota-Duluth edged No. 3 Harvard 2-1 in the first semifinal game on Thursday, then Denver hammered Notre Dame 6-1 in the second game.
Below, find the 2017 Frozen Four schedule, scores, results and bracket for the 2017 NCAA hockey tournament.
2017 Frozen Four scores, live updates
FINAL: Minnesota-Duluth 2, Harvard 1 | Stats
FINAL: Denver 6, Notre Dame 1 | Stats
2017 Frozen Four schedule
National championship, Saturday, April 8 (United Center in Chicago)
Minnesota-Duluth vs. Denver, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
2017 NCAA hockey tournament bracket entering Frozen Four
2017 NCAA hockey tournament schedule, results
Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence, R.I.
Friday (First Round)
FINAL: Harvard 3, Providence 0 | Stats
FINAL: Air Force 5, Western Michigan 4 | Stats
Saturday (Region final)
FINAL: Harvard 3, Air Force 2 | Stats
U.S. Bank Arena, Cincinnati
Saturday (First Round)
FINAL: Denver 5, Michigan Tech 2 | Stats
FINAL: Penn State 10, Union 3 Stats
Sunday (Region final)
FINAL: Denver 6, Penn State 3 | Stats
SNHU Arena, Manchester, N.H.
Saturday (First Round)
FINAL: UMass-Lowell 5, vs. Cornell 0 | Stats
FINAL: Notre Dame 3, Minnesota 2 Stats
Sunday (Regional final)
FINAL, OT: Notre Dame 3, UMass-Lowell 2 | Stats
Scheels Arena, Fargo, N.D.
FINAL (2OT): Boston University 4, North Dakota 3 | Stats
FINAL: Minnesota-Duluth 3, Ohio State 2 | Stats
Saturday (Regional final)
FINAL: Minnesota-Duluth 3, Boston University 2 | Stats
United Center, Chicago
Semifinals, April 6
FINAL: Minnesota-Duluth 2, Harvard 1 | Stats
FINAL: Denver 6, Notre Dame 1 | Stats
National championship, April 8
Semifinal winners, 8 p.m., ESPN
2017 Frozen Four: NCAA tournament results, preview, history
Of the four teams to reach this year’s Frozen Four, Minnesota-Duluth is the most recent champion (2011). Minnesota-Duluth also played for the national title in 1984.
Denver last won the national championship when it won back-to-back years in 2004 and 2005. Denver earlier won titles in 1958, 1960, 1961, 1968 and 1969.
Harvard has won one national title, winning in 1989.
Of the 2017 Frozen Four schools, only Notre Dame has yet to win a national title. Notre Dame has played in the championship game only once (2008).
This year, three of the top four seeds reached the Frozen Four: No. 1 Denver, No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth and No. 3 Harvard. The only top-four seed to miss was Minnesota. Notre Dame upset No. 4 Minnesota 3-2 in the first round of the tournament. Notre Dame then beat UMass-Lowell in the quarterfinals, 3-2, in New Hampshire.
No. 1 Denver reached the Frozen Four by beating Michigan Tech (5-2) and Penn State (6-3) in Cincinnati, Ohio. No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth reached the semifinals with wins against Ohio State (3-2) and Boston University (3-2) in Fargo, N.D. No. 3 Harvard is in the Frozen Four thanks to wins against Providence (3-0) and Air Force (3-2) in Providence, R.I.
The semifinal winners at the Frozen Four play Saturday, April 8. The game is on ESPN. All Frozen Four games will be played at the United Center in Chicago.
Denver dominates puck possession in Frozen Four rout of Notre Dame
CHICAGO — Denver used a stifling forecheck to limit Notre Dame’s chances and create puck possession in a 6-1 rout in Thursday’s second NCAA national semifinal.
The Pioneers advanced to the program’s 11th overall national championship game against NCHC rival Minnesota Duluth on Saturday.
From the start, Denver kept the Fighting Irish bottled up in their own end.
“Their defense was their offense,” said Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson. “Their defense was their puck possession, their puck management.”
“We’re just relentless with four lines and six D,” said Denver coach Jim Montgomery. “And we’ve got a hell of a goaltender [Tanner Jaillet] behind everything.”
The non-stop pressure by the Pioneers in the first period contributed to two Denver goals.
Emil Romig made it 1-0 Denver at 8:18 of the first, speeding out from behind the net and roofing a sharp-angle shot on a feed from Colin Staub after defenseman Michael Davies sent the puck deep.
“I think we have to give a lot of credit to our forwards,” said Denver defenseman Will Butcher. “Our forecheck really dominated them tonight and really ate ‘em up.”
That forecheck led to Denver’s second and eventual game-winning goal when Liam Finley left the puck along the wall for Butcher, who scooped it up and carried it around the Notre Dame net. With Fighting Irish goalie Cal Petersen’s paddle on the ice to protect the left side, Butcher slid a pass just past the end of the goalie stick to Henrik Borgström, who tapped it in at 14:50 of the period.
“When our forecheck is really going, it makes it easy for the defensemen,” said Butcher. “We can gap up and get right on their forwards in the offensive zone.”
Notre Dame was only able to muster three shots in the first, the fewest shots on goal in the opening period of a national semifinal since 1999.
“That’s how you hold teams down in shots,” said Jackson. “If the other team doesn’t have the puck, they’re not going to get many shots.”
Notre Dame seemed to turn the tide a bit in the second period, but that was stymied by Denver’s third goal.
A stumble to the ice by backskating Notre Dame defenseman Luke Ripley in the neutral zone sprung a two-on-one Denver rush. Evan Janssen backhanded a pass on the doorstep to defenseman Tariq Hammond, who steered it into a wide-open net.
“I felt we were turning the corner, and then we had a defenseman fall down and everything changed,” said Jackson. “That third goal was the back killer.”
As the top seed, Denver had the last change, and Montgomery said that he was able to match lines well and keep the pressure on because of it.
“In particular, I knew [Dennis] Gilbert was their best defenseman. I wanted him out against [Dylan] Gambrell’s line,” said Montgomery. “And sticking Borgström out against their third pairing was important to us. And we were able to get that with the last change, especially on the fly.”
Gambrell scored on a wraparound at 16:31 of the second to make it 4-0 and tallied his second of the night with just over three minutes left.
Denver’s Evan Ritt sent a wrist shot past Petersen at 18:18 to make it 5-0 at the end of two.
Notre Dame’s lone goal of the contest came just five seconds into its only power play. Cam Morrison tipped a Jordan Gross shot from the blue line just inside the right post at 11:24 of the third period.
Despite his team smothering opponents early through the first three games of the NCAA tournament, Montgomery doesn’t think the Pioneers will be able to jump on Duluth in the same way.
“Outside the NCHC, what I’ve seen the last two years is we’re able to jump on people,” he said. “That’s not going to happen Saturday night. It’s an NCHC opponent.”
Men's Hockey Drops Frozen Four Heartbreaker to Minnesota-Duluth
CHICAGO — Live by the pipe, die by the pipe.
In 1989, Harvard lived. With an overtime winner in the national championship game against Minnesota, Ed Krayer ’89-90 set a Crimson coronation into motion. One made possible only because Gopher defenseman Randy Skarda’s extra-frame wrister moments earlier was on a collision course with the iron.
“One half-inch, and you’re the champion,” recalled Minnesota coach Doug Woog.
Twenty-eight years later, it’s the Gophers’ rivals to the north providing similar postgame testimony. Only this time, the Minnesotans’ comments came after the NCAA semifinals. And this time, they came from a much happier locker room.
With only 14 seconds remaining and Harvard needing a goal to keep its magical 2016-2017 campaign alive, senior Sean Malone crashed the net and lifted a backhanded rebound over Minnesota-Duluth goaltender Hunter Miska’s right shoulder. But the Bulldogs were saved by the crossbar.
Seconds later, the Crimson cycled the puck over to co-captain Alexander Kerfoot, who made his move down the left faceoff circle before firing a pass to Luke Esposito, stationed halfway down the slot.
With Miska covering more of the right side of his cage, Esposito turned his hips and fired away. But defenseman Nick Wolff had a plan.
“Right when he shot it, my first thought was go down,” Wolff said. “And it hit the top of my knee.”
The shot began rising to chest level, but upon connecting with Wolff’s kneecap, it took off for the rafters. And the puck’s upward trajectory—along with Harvard’s 28-win season—was soon brought to an abrupt halt, once again by the crossbar.
“If it had been one inch lower it would’ve gone bar down,” said Wolff, whose Bulldogs emerged victorious by a 2-1 margin to advance to Saturday’s national championship game against Denver. “We were very fortunate it stayed out.”
“It’s something that I’ll probably never forget as long as I play hockey,” Esposito said. “I’m still in disbelief that it didn’t go in. The whole last 30 seconds, I can’t believe it.”
In a game that was tied for more than 56 minutes, those last 30 seconds were essentially all that separated the two teams on the country’s longest, and second-longest, winning streaks.
And while those 30 seconds ended with iron, they began with twine.
Emerging from a battle of bodies along the boards just inside the Crimson zone, UMD freshman Joey Anderson flung the puck towards the slot from his backhand, spelling a clear and present danger. The feed arrived on the stick of senior defenseman Willie Raskob by the left faceoff circle, creating a 2-on-1 for the Bulldogs (28-6-7, 15-5-4 NCHC). And with UMD’s leading scorer in his sights, Raskob’s best interest was to pass.
One step ahead of Esposito, senior Alex Iafallo received the pass atop the crease and poked the puck through Madsen’s five-hole—off the right pad, then the left—breaking a 41-minute stalemate with only 27 seconds remaining in regulation.
“I tried to slide over and just play the percentages—it’s tough to know where those shots are going to go,” Madsen said. ”He just squeezed it through. Watching the replay, it was the only hole he really had. It just bounced through my pads. I tried to squeeze it together, but it just wasn’t enough.”
Two crossbars later, Iafallo’s 50th point of the season—one that extended his point streak to 14 games—could finally be printed safely on the stat sheet as the final tally in a 2-1 Bulldog victory.
“The end was so sudden,” Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91 said. “Everything happened so fast,” Kerfoot added.
Only 14 minutes prior, the Crimson (28-6-2, 16-4-2 ECAC) thought it may have taken the lead. Amid a busy crease, Malone—on the heels of an initial Tyler Moy try—jammed the puck over the goal line, but the official behind the goal immediately signaled no goal. The play was reviewed, but there would be no overturn.
“You know, it looked like the puck was in before he was able to blow the whistle,” Donato said. “The explanation I was given was that there was no audio on the replay. He thought the goalie at one point had it underneath his glove, and in his mind, that's when the play was over.”
“Obviously through my Harvard-colored glasses, it looked like a good goal,” the coach added. “But everybody's trying to do their best out there.”
Within moments of nearly jumping ahead, the Crimson was sent to the defensive. Off a Viktor Dombrovskiy d-zone turnover, UMD assistant captain Karson Kuhlman connected with sophomore center Adam Johnson, who deked his way into space by Madsen’s left post.
But with trouble afoot, the junior goaltender dropped to the ice, stretching his left pad as far as it would go to seal off the pipe. Madsen finished with 36 saves on the night—his second-highest output of the season.
Meanwhile, Harvard launched 40 shots, becoming the first team this season to reach such a total in regulation against the Bulldogs. But only one beat Miska, crossing the line during a Harvard power play.
Moy opened the scoring from his signature spot on the man advantage. Stationed at the bottom of the left circle—right where he grabbed the first goal of the Crimson’s NCAA Tournament run in Providence, R.I.—the Nashville Predators prospect knocked in a feed from Kerfoot to put the Crimson up 1-0.
Harvard has now scored first in 24 of its 36 games, and the Crimson entered Thursday with a 21-2-0 record in such contests. But this time, Harvard’s lead lasted only three minutes and change.
Despite dropping the first-period faceoff battle by a sizable 17-8 margin, the Bulldogs used one of their eight successful draws to pull even with 1:36 left in the frame. After captain Dominic Toninato’s win at the dot, Anderson ripped a shot from the top of the slot that bounced off the stick of Madsen and in.
“It’s just a bounce that we didn’t get tonight,” Madsen said. “If that shot wobbles a little differently, it sticks right on my stick, and I cover it…. It was pretty bizarre for me. I’m sure I looked confused because I was. I couldn’t believe the puck did what it did.”
Madsen hit the nail on the head. And two weeks ago, so did Providence coach—and former Harvard assistant—Nate Leaman. After his Friar team fell to the Crimson in the two sides’ tournament opener, Leaman said that “to win a national championship, you know you’re going to have to get some bounces along the way.”
Thursday night, Harvard didn’t get the bounces. And as a result, a national championship won’t be in the cards. But after a Frozen Four appearance, a 28-win season, and a plethora of championships, the Crimson’s seniors can at least check off one more box.
It’s an accomplishment that’s been important to several straight classes on their way out the door: the Crimson’s seven veterans have left the Harvard jersey in a better spot than where it was when they arrived.
“It’s easy to say that we’ve done that,” Esposito said. “Harvard Hockey’s definitely back on the map and back where it deserves to be.”