National Championship Preview

The 2011 Frozen Four concludes tonight with the national championship game at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The two programs set to battle tonight, Minnesota-Duluth and Michigan, have very different histories in the NCAA tournament.

UMD (25-10-6) has no national titles in three previous trips to the Frozen Four. The Wolverines have nine championships, and have made the NCAA tournament 21-straight years.

On Thursday, the Bulldogs used three power play goals to slide past Notre Dame, 4-3. Michigan got great goaltending from Shawn Hunwick in a 2-0 victory over North Dakota.

Players to watch

UMD’s Justin Faulk collect three assists on Thursday, giving him 33 on the year. That total is tops among all freshmen defensemen in the country, and it is also the most points scored in the season by a rookie pointman in Minnesota-Duluth history.

On the Michigan side, Hunwick is the main reason that the Wolverines are playing in college hockey’s final game. Hunwick has stopped 88 of 91 shots in the NCAA tournament, including 40 in Thursday’s semifinals.

Numbers

Although there isn’t much recent history between Michigan and Minnesota-Duluth, these two teams have played a decent number of games against each other over time. The last meeting came in 2001, where UMD came out with a 3-2 win in Omaha.

The Wolverines, who played in the WCHA until the 80s, hold a 23-17-1 advantage in the all-time series, and tonight’s game will mark the first meeting between the two programs in the NCAA tournament.

Lineups:

Minnesota-Duluth

Forwards

Mike Connolly—Jack Connolly—Justin Fontaine

Kyle Schmidt—Travis Oleksuk—JT Brown

Mike Seidel—Jake Hendrickson—Joe Basaraba

Keegan Flaherty—Max Tardy—David Grun

Defense

Justin Faulk—Mike Montgomery

Wade Bergman—Brady Lamb

Drew Olson—Trent Palm

Goalies

Kenny Reiter

Aaron Crandall

Michigan

Forwards

Carl Hagelin—Louie Caporusso—Chirs Brown

Scooter Vaughan—Kevin Lynch—AJ Treais

Ben Winnett—Matt Rust—Luke Glendening

Luke Moffatt—Jeff Rohrkemper—Derek DeBlois

Defense

Jon Merrill—Chad Langlais

Kevin Clare—Greg Pateryn

Lee Moffie—Mac Bennett

Goalies

Shawn Hunwick

Bryan Hogan

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