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Zach Pekale | | February 27, 2020

6 Frozen Four memories from Detroit to prepare for the 2020 NCAA tournament

From the NCAA vault: Watch Minnesota and Herb Brooks win the 1979 NCAA Championship

The 2020 DI Men’s NCAA Hockey Tournament culminates with the Frozen Four in Detroit. It's the seventh time the Motor City has played host to college hockey’s championship and its history is filled with notable names and moments.

Here’s a look back at the last six times the Frozen Four was in Detroit:

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1977 — At the time, Wisconsin’s 6-5 win over Michigan was in rare company. Through the first 30 years of NCAA hockey championships, it was only the third title game that needed overtime to decide a winner … or at least 23 seconds of it anyway.

Wisconsin won the 1977 NCAA hockey championship 23 seconds into overtimeWisconsin reacts to Steve Alley's game-winning goal in the 1977 NCAA hockey championship game.

After the Badgers gave up a two-goal advantage in the third period, senior Steve Alley scored in the opening minute of the extra period to lead Wisconsin to its second championship in four years. Alley’s goal was the 11th combined score of the contest, making it one of the four highest scoring championship games of the past 43 years.

Goaltender Julian Baretta was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. 

1979 — Just a few months before he picked his roster for the 1980 US Olympic hockey team, Minnesota coach Herb Brooks celebrated a national championship in Detroit. The Golden Gophers edged North Dakota, 4-3, in what was one of the final sporting events played at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium.

Names with Olympic fame attached made their mark as Steve Christoff, Eric Strobel and Phil Verchota all registered points for Minnesota. In fact, nearly half of the “Miracle on Ice” team played in the 1979 championship with eight players from Minnesota and another from UND reaching Lake Placid.

Neal Broten — who also played in Lake Placid — clinched the championship for the Gophers, increasing the lead to two less than three minutes into the third period while goalie Steve Janaszak earned most outstanding player after stopping 25 of 28 shots to preserve the win.

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1985 — Joe Louis Arena was the scene the next time the Frozen Four returned to Detroit.

Adam Oates led RPI in scoring during the 1984-85 season.RPI's Adam Oates moves the puck up ice.

Rensselaer and Providence reached the championship after both escaped high-scoring semifinal games in three overtimes — the Engineers edged Minnesota Duluth 6-5 while Providence beat Boston College 4-3.

In the championship, Friars goalie Chris Terreri made 40 saves in what was formerly the lowest-scoring championship in college hockey history. But it wasn’t enough as RPI won its second title, 2-1 behind goals from Neil Hernberg and George Servinis. Terreri won most outstanding player, the last member of a non-championship team to do so.

1987 — After falling to Minnesota in 1979, North Dakota established a dynasty in the 1980s with three NCAA championships. After wins in 1980 and 1982, coach John "Gino" Gasparini’s team completed the trifecta in 1987 behind a high-powered offense.

UND dominated the NCAA tournament, outscoring opponents 19-9, including a 5-3 win over Michigan State in the championship game. During the contest, Hobey Baker winner Tony Hrkac recorded his 116th point — a NCAA single-season record — with a first-period assist. It was one of three goals scored in the opening frame and gave UND plenty of separation over the Spartans.

North Dakota finished the year with 40 wins, the most at the time by an NCAA hockey champion.

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1990  In 1988, the NCAA tournament expanded from eight to 12 teams. Wisconsin reached the postseason in each of the first two years of the new format, both times unable to get past a best-of-three quarterfinal. But the third time was a charm for the Badgers, who skated to a championship some four miles down the road from their 1977 title.

Tournament MOP Chris Tancil scored twice in a 2-1 semifinal win over Boston College to send Wisconsin to the championship game. There, the Badgers dominated with a 7-3 win over Colgate. Wisconsin established an unmatchable pace early, resulting in eight Colgate penalties and a 4-1 Badger lead through 20 minutes. Tancil added another score in the title game but the bigger story was trio of goals netted by John Byce. The senior had a hat trick, beating the goalie on the power play and shorthanded while completing the achievement with an empty-netter in the final minute.

2010 — A 20-year hiatus came to an end when the Frozen Four returned to Detroit with a bang. The event in Ford Field drew what was the sixth-largest attendance number for a men's college hockey game. After the Eagles rolled Miami (OH) 7-1 and Wisconsin cruised 8-1 past RIT, the stage was set for a rematch of the 2006 championship, won by Wisconsin.

John Muse improved to 8-0 in the NCAA tournament after a shutout in the 2010 championship game.Goaltender John Muse celebrates after Boston College's 5-0 win over Wisconsin in the 2010 NCAA hockey national championship game.

But this time, the Eagles got their revenge. Cam Atkinson scored twice while Joe Whitney chipped in three assists and goaltender John Muse blanked the Badgers with a 20-save effort as Boston College won its second title in three years with a 5-0 romp. Ben Smith, who scored his 16th goal of the season in the first period, was later named most outstanding player.

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