Buffalo, NY - Minnesota scored four third-period goals to win its second-consecutive National Championship with a 5-1 win against New Hampshire on Saturday night in front of 18,759 at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, NY.
Superb freshman Thomas Vanek made a terrific individual move in the offensive end to cut across the middle and make UNH netminder Mike Ayers commit. Vanek then slid the puck past Ayers to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead at 8:14 of the third period. It was Vanek's 31st goal of the season.
Vanek set up Jon Waibel for his eighth goal of the year to give the Gophers a 3-1 lead at 11:25.
Barry Tallackson, who hit a post with a shorthanded breakaway in the closing moments of the second period, made it 4-1 on the power-play at 13:34. Gino Guyer made a great cross-ice pass from the right-wing corner to set up Tallackson for his eighth goal of the season.
Tallackson closed the scoring with an empty-netter with 1:29 remaining.
Minnesota clearly carried the play through much of the first period, outshooting New Hampshire by a 16-7 margin, and the Gophers were able to break the ice first.
Just one second after a Colin Hemingway charging penalty expired, Minnesota defenseman Matt DeMarchi intercepted a UNH clearing effort at the right point. DeMarchi was able to walk to the top of the right circle and wrist a shot through the traffic to give the Gophers a 1-0 lead at 10:58 of the first.
A late Minnesota power-play would give UNH some life. The Wildcats generated numerous chances with the man advantage and sophomore Sean Collins was able to tie the game with his 22nd goal of the season at 19:41 to send the game into the first break knotted 1-1.
From the mid-point, sophomore Justin Aikins set up junior Nathan Martz at the left side of the net. With the goaltender Travis Weber moving to cut down the angle, Martz quickly sent a goal mouth pass across to Collins who buried it in the open side.
Both teams had great chances in the second period to break the deadlock.
Weber made a great stop on UNH senior Jim Abbott when he gathered a rebound right in front of the net about midway through the period. Shortly thereafter, Weber came across to smother a Josh Prudden tip of a Garrett Stafford point shot.
For the Gophers, only a great Mike Ayers glove save off a Matt Koalska redirect with about 4:30 remaining in the period kept the game tied.
But Minnesota's best chance in the period came on Tallackson's shorthanded breakaway.
Weber made 26 saves in the win for Minnesota. Ayers stopped 40 for the Wildcats.
The All-Tournament Team was made up of Vanek (F-Minnesota), Steve Saviano (F-New Hampshire), Nathan Martz (F-New Hampshire), Paul Martin (D-Minnesota), Matt DeMarchi (D-Minnesota), and Travis Weber (G-Minnesota). Vanek was named Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four.
New Hampshire ends its season with a record of 28-8-6. That is tied for the third-highest win total in the program's history. UNH is now 0-2 in national title games.
Minnesota finishes the season at 28-8-9 and its fifth National Championship. Minnesota is now 5-6 in the NCAA Championship game.