U-M Wolverines in men's hockey championship

Apr 8, 2011

How’s your bracket look?

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is over, but the men’s hockey tournament is still going

And the Wolverines are in the final

The San Jose Mercury News reports:

Unfamiliar foes Michigan and Minnesota Duluth will face off for the NCAA hockey championship.

Though the two teams played regularly in Western Collegiate Hockey Association from 1965 to 1981, Wolverines coach Red Berenson has only faced the Bulldogs once in his 27 years on the bench. That was in 2001.

Asked how his team will try to stop Minnesota Duluth's thriving power play, Berenson said Friday they'll have to "do their homework." Michigan knocked off North Dakota in the semifinals Thursday.

Minnesota Duluth, which beat Notre Dame to get here, will appear in the national title game Saturday for just the second time in school history and the first since 1984. Michigan hasn't been to the final since 1998 but has a record nine championships.

As the countdown to the championship game continues, a lot of attention is being focused on the Wolverine’s excellent goaltender, Shawn Hunwick, who shut out the North Dakota Sioux to get U-M to the big game.

Sports Illustrated has this brief profile:

When Michigan's goalie Shawn Hunwick stands tall, it's more of a figurative statement. At "5-6-ish," as he concedes, the senior might be lucky to reach the top shelf of his locker stall without a lift.

But nothing reached the top shelf of his net on Thursday night as Hunwick shut out North Dakota, the nation's top team, 2-0, in the Frozen Four semifinal game at the Xcel Energy Center.

In front of the Fighting Sioux-dominated, sell-out crowd, Hunwick turned aside-- often spectacularly -- 40 shots by a team that boasted the country's second-ranked offense (4.05 goals per game). North Dakota's leading scorer, Matt Frattin, led the nation with 36 goals.

There was little question going into the game that the Sioux had the more talented, skilled team in the tournament. Michigan's longtime coach, Red Berenson, even conceded the point on the eve of the game: "We know they are a better team, but we are going to come and play hard."

The Wolverines beat the Sioux 2-0.

The championship game is tomorrow night at 7 p.m.

-Brian Short, Michigan Radio Newsroom