Last Updated 8:28 AM, April 13, 2022

Denver takes down Minnesota State, 5-1, to win 2022 DI men's hockey national championship

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Denver wins the 2022 men's hockey championship thanks to unbelievable 3rd period
5:19
2:17 pm, April 10, 2022

How one conversation led to a title 👀

Denver's Mike Benning talks after national championship victory

While David Carle's speech during the second intermission inspired a comeback, it was one, small conversation between Shai Buium and Mike Benning on the bench that may have had the biggest impact. 

Click here to read the full story. 

2:36 am, April 10, 2022

Denver takes down Minnesota State, 5-1, to win national championship

Denver took down Minnesota State, 5-1, on Saturday night to win the 2022 DI men’s ice hockey national championship. It’s the ninth national championship in program history for the Pioneers. 

Despite being down 1-0 and heavily outshot heading into the third period, the Pioneers didn’t show quit. Instead, they turned up the heat and went to work. 

The scoring started less than five minutes into the final frame when Ryan Barrow stuffed a rebound through Minnesota State goalie Dryden McKay’s legs. That tied the game, 1-1. 

Just a few moments later, Mike Benning one-timed a rocket over McKay to give Denver the 2-1 lead. It was the eventual game-winner. 

Massimo Rizzo one-timed another goal past McKay with under seven minutes to play to add some insurance. 

Denver added two empty-net goals in the final three minutes. The first came from Brett Stapley, while the second came from Cameron Wright. 

Minnesota State still outshot Denver, 28-20, come the end of 60 minutes. 

With the win, Denver ties Michigan for most national titles in program history with nine. 

2:25 am, April 10, 2022

Massimo Rizzo extends Denver's lead | 3-1 Denver, 6:26 P3

Massimo Rizzo scored to extend Denver's lead to 3-1. 

Late in the third period, Massimo Rizzo and Carter Mazur found themselves on a 2-on-1. Mazur hit Rizzo with a pass and he fired it home to extend Denver's lead. 

Denver leads, 3-1, with 6:26 to play in the third period. 

2:11 am, April 10, 2022

Mike Benning gives Denver the lead | 2-1 Denver, 12:27 P3

It doesn't matter if you're getting outshot when you release one-timers like that. 

While on a power play, Shai Buium found Mike Benning wide-open on the half-wall and Benning fired a missile over Minnesota State goalie Dryden McKay to give Denver the lead. 

Denver leads, 2-1, with 12:27 to play in the third period. 

2:04 am, April 10, 2022

Denver's Ryan Barrow ties the game | 1-1, 15:14 P3

It may have taken awhile, but the Pioneers will take it. 

Off a shot from Mike Benning, Ryan Barrow gathered the rebound and pushed it through the legs of Minnesota State goalie Dryden McKay to tie the score, 1-1. 

The game is tied, 1-1, with 15:14 to play in regulation. 

1:40 am, April 10, 2022

After 2: Minnesota State 1, Denver 0

Minnesota State held its 1-0 lead throughout the duration of the second period, but it didn’t come easy. 

Denver upped its pressure in the back half of the frame, pinning Minnesota State in its own zone at times. But the Mavericks’ stinginess and pack-it-in prowess kept the Pioneers at bay. They only mustered five shots. 

Minnesota State leads in shots, 18-8. 

It all comes down to these final 20 minutes. 

12:48 am, April 10, 2022

After 1: Minnesota State 1, Denver 0

Minnesota State heads to the dressing room up 1-0 after 20 minutes. 

The lone goal came from Sam Morton on the power play after he one-timed a shot past Denver goalie Magnus Chrona. 

The Mavericks were the better team in the first period, outshooting the Pioneers, 8-3, and playing most of the frame in Denver’s zone. Sam Morton came very close to scoring his second of the game late in the period, but he was denied. 

12:37 am, April 10, 2022

Sam Morton gets Minnesota State on the board first | 1-0 Minnesota State, 6:01 P1

After a very defensive first 15 minutes, Minnesota State found itself on the power play and the Mavericks delivered. 

Brendan Furry took the initial shot and after it bounced around the front of the Denver net, Sam Morton slapped it through Pioneers goalie Magnus Chrona to give Minnesota State the early lead. 

Minnesota State leads, 1-0, with 6:01 to play in the first period. 

12:25 am, April 10, 2022

Former Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask does ceremonial puck drop

Prior to tonight's national championship game, Bruins goaltending legend Tuukka Rask did the ceremonial puck drop to loud cheers and chants of "Tuuuuuk!" from the crowd. 

This place is packed with lots of Minnesota State and Denver fans. But, the Maverick faithful sound like they have a slight edge. 

11:25 pm, April 9, 2022

Lineups for tonight's national championship

The lines are out for tonight's national championship game between Minnesota State and Denver. Here they are. 

Denver 

Ryan Barrow - Cole Guttman - Bobby Brink 
Carter Savoie - Brett Stapley - Jack Devine 
Carter Mazur - Massimo Rizzo - Cameron Wright
Carter King - McKade Webster - Owen Ozar 
Brett Edwards 

Sean Behrens - Kyle Mayhew 
Shai Buium - Mike Benning 
Justin Lee - Antti Tuomisto 

Magnus Chrona 

Minnesota State 

Julian Napravnik - Nathan Smith - Cade Borchardt 
Sam Morton - Brendan Furry - Ryan Sandelin 
Reggie Lutz - David Silye - Lucas Sowder
Josh Groll - Ondrej Pavel - Connor Gregga 

Akito Hirose - Jack McNeely 
Wyatt Aamodt - Jake Livingstone
Andy Carroll - Benton Maass
Tony Malinowski 

Dryden McKay

4:34 pm, April 9, 2022

TONIGHT: Minnesota State battles Denver for the national championship

The college hockey season comes down to tonight. All the games, power rankings and polls — it leads to the national championship. 

Minnesota State will battle Denver for the men's college hockey's crown at TD Garden in Boston. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2. You can follow this page for live updates from TD Garden.  

Denver has gone unbeaten in its last 16 games against Minnesota State. However, the last time these two teams faced off was on Nov. 10, 2012. Since then, Minnesota State has undergone a complete facelift — they've won more games (273) than anyone else.

Click here to access the official bracket

Imagine going back and telling people at that game, "Hey, these teams won't play each other again for almost 10 years but when they do, it'll be for the national championship." 

Minnesota State carries a streak of its own into tonight's matchup. The Mavericks have gone unbeaten in their last 18 games. 

Before the puck drops on tonight's championship, let's take a look at what each team is saying about the other. 

Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings on Denver's strengths: "Their ability to transition the puck. They do a really good job defending, as I mentioned earlier. Then their ability from their back end to get the puck from their stick up to their forwards, then getting up and supporting it. They play with a lot of confidence. They like to possess the puck when they get inside the offensive zone. You look at the goal that was scored the other day in overtime, created turnover, getting to the corner, they attacked the net. They're substance-based. They've got depth. I just think they have a certain swagger about them when they get a puck. They pursue it when they don't have it."

Denver head coach David Carle on Minnesota State's strengths: "They're in this game for a reason, too. There's not a lot of weaknesses just lie there wasn't in Minnesota or Michigan, really a lot of the tournament teams. We played three really good teams thus far. This will be the fourth one....I think there's some similarities with the level that they defend at with Lowell and Duluth. We've had success against those teams doing things a certain way. I think that's a great experience that we have coming into the game tomorrow night. Coach Hastings and their staff and players, they've obviously built something really special that we respect and are excited for the challenge to play them for a banner and a big trophy come tomorrow night." 

7:30 pm, April 8, 2022

Saturday is the big day 👀

The entire college hockey season comes down to Saturday night: the national championship. 

Minnesota State. Denver. 8 p.m. Saturday. TD Garden. Boston. 

Before the game gets here, let's take a look at some interesting facts for each team. 

Minnesota State 

  • The Mavericks enter Saturday's national championship on an 18-game win streak, which is a school record for consecutive wins. 
  • Four players on the roster have over 40 points (Nathan Smith, Julian Napravnik, Brendan Furry, Cade Borchardt). There's only one other team who has that: Denver. 
  • Minnesota State has won 273 games in 10 seasons under head coach Mike Hastings. That is the most wins of any program in that time. 
  • This is Minnesota State's first national title game. It became a DI program in the 1996-97 season. 
  • Minnesota State leads the country in goals with 177. It ranks second in goals per game at 4.1. 

Denver 

  • Denver has made it to four of the last six Frozen Fours. 
  • The Pioneers are tied with North Dakota for second-most national titles all-time with eight. A win Saturday night would tie them with Michigan for No. 1. 
  • Denver has an 8-3 record in national championship games. 
  • While Minnesota State was in the Frozen Four just last season, Denver made it in 2019. Four players on this Pioneers roster were on the one that made the run in 2019: Cole Guttman, Ryan Barrow, Brett Stapley and Kyle Mayhew. 
  • Denver leads the country in goals per game at 4.3 It ranks second in goals for with 170. 

Here's some other reading before national championship day arrives: 

1:28 pm, April 8, 2022

We're down to the last two, as Minnesota State and Denver will meet for the NCAA DI men's hockey championship on Saturday. Denver took out Michigan in OT in the first semifinal before the Mavericks swamped Minnesota 5-1 in the second. The national championship game is at 8 p.m. on Saturday. We'll have live updates here during the game, which will be on ESPN2.

Here's a look at each team's path to the final:

MINNESOTA STATE HOW THEY GOT HERE DENVER
38-5-0 Record 30-9-1
No. 1 Seed No. 1
Def. Harvard, 4-3 Regional semifinal Def. UMass Lowell, 3-2
Def. Notre Dame, 1-0 Regional final Def. Minnesota Duluth, 2-1
Def. Minnesota, 5-1 Frozen Four semifinal Def. Michigan, 3-2 (OT)

The Pioneers are going for their ninth national title; Minnesota State is playing in the championship game for the first time. The puck drops at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.