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Rick Weegman | Duluth News Tribune | April 11, 2019

A look at Minnesota Duluth's NCAA Frozen Four history

Minnestoa Duluth is ready to repeat

This marks Minnesota Duluth's seventh trip to the NCAA Division I Frozen Four men's tournament, with others coming in 1984, 1985, 2004, 2011, 2017 and 2018. The Bulldogs won titles in 2011 and last year, both times at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. UMD's two wins in 2018 makes the Bulldogs 7-4 in all Frozen Four games.

Here's a look back at previous tournaments:

March 1984, Olympic Center, Lake Placid, N.Y.

After winning its first WCHA regular-season title and beating North Dakota in the league playoff championship, top-ranked UMD beat Clarkson in the NCAA quarterfinals at the DECC. In the semifinals, UMD sophomore Bill Watson scored in overtime to beat North Dakota 2-1 and set the stage for the longest championship game in NCAA history (97 minutes, 11 seconds). UMD led Bowling Green State 4-2 in the third period before the Falcons tied the game and then won it on Gino Cavallini's fourth-overtime goal. UMD finished 29-12-2 and senior defenseman Tom Kurvers won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.

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March 1985, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit

The Bulldogs again won WCHA regular-season and playoff titles before beating Harvard in the NCAA quarterfinals at the DECC. At the Joe, the No. 2 Bulldogs again suffered multiple-overtime heartbreak in a 6-5 semifinal loss to top-ranked Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. John Carter ended the game with a goal after 85:45. UMD beat Boston College 7-6 in overtime to take third place as Matt Christensen netted a hat trick. UMD posted a program-best 36-9-3 record and junior forward Bill Watson won the team's second straight Hobey Baker.

Providence: Tested and Proven

April 2004, FleetCenter, Boston

UMD was runner-up to North Dakota in the WCHA regular season and lost in the league semifinals. But in the Midwest Regional in Grand Rapids, Mich., the Bulldogs defeated Michigan State 5-0 and knocked off two-time defending NCAA champion Minnesota 3-1. In the semifinals, UMD led WCHA rival Denver -- a possible championship game opponent for the second time in three seasons -- by two goals before the Pioneers scored four times in the third period to win 5-3. UMD finished the season 28-13-4 and again sported the Hobey Baker winner in senior forward Junior Lessard.

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April 2011, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul

After finishing fourth in the WCHA regular season and losing to Bemidji State in overtime, the Bulldogs headed into the NCAA tournament as an underdog. But goaltender Kenny Reiter stopped 62 shots in wins over Union College and Yale in the East Regional to send the Bulldogs to a familiar venue in front of their home fans. Four players scored goals in a 4-3 semifinal win over Notre Dame and then Kyle Schmidt scored the most famous goal in school history, 3:22 into overtime to defeat Michigan 3-2 in the title game in front of more than 19,000 fans, ending 50 years without a championship.

April 2017, United Center, Chicago

After finishing second to Denver in the NCHC regular season, the Bulldogs picked a good time to go on an eight-game winning streak as they swept Miami in the NCHC quarterfinals and won the league's postseason crown by beating Western Michigan and North Dakota. In the West Regional at Fargo, N.D., UMD -- as it had all season -- prevailed twice in OT, edging Ohio State and Boston University by identical 3-2 scores. At the United Center, Alex Iafallo's goal with 26.6 seconds remaining lifted UMD past Harvard 2-1 in the semifinals. Two nights later in a rematch with Denver, three consecutive second-period goals by Jarid Lukosevicius gave the Pioneers a 3-2 victory and the NCAA title.

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April 2018, Xcel Energy Center

The Bulldogs' entrance into the 2018 NCAA tournament was by a razor-thin margin -- .0001 percent -- but the end result was the school's second national title. The Bulldogs finished third in the NCHC regular season and then lost two games in the postseason tournament to leave their NCAA at-large hopes hanging by a thread. Once in, the Bulldogs punched their ticket to the Frozen Four by taking down Minnesota State-Mankato 3-2 in overtime and Air Force 2-1 in the West Regional title game in Sioux Falls, S.D. One-goal victories continued in St. Paul, where the Bulldogs beat Ohio State -- coached by formed UMD assistant Steve Rohlik -- in the semifinals and then captured their second national championship by taking down Notre Dame, also by a 2-1 score. Senior captain Karson Kuhlman, who skated in all 166 games over his four seasons (equalling a program ironman record), was named the NCAA Frozen Four Most Valuable Player after receiving that same honor two weeks earlier at the NCAA West Regional.

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