Denver Beats Minnesota State 5-1 to Win 2022 NCAA Hockey Championship

Adam WellsApril 10, 2022

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 09: Ryan Barrow #18 of the Denver Pioneers is congratulated by teammates and Jack Devine #4 and Mike Benning #20 after a goal by Barrow in the third period of the Division I Mens Ice Hockey Championship against the Minnesota State Mavericks at the TD Garden on April 09, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Damian Strohmeyer/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Damian Strohmeyer/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The Denver Pioneers are national champions after their 5-1 come-from-behind win over the Minnesota State Mavericks in the 2022 NCAA men's hockey championship Saturday night. 

It's not indicative from the final score, but this game was a defensive battle for the first two periods. 

Denver blew the doors open in the third period with five goals to erase a 1-0 deficit. The Pioneers' first goal came with 15:18 remaining in regulation thanks to Ryan Barrow. 

NCAA Ice Hockey @NCAAIceHockey

THE PIO'S TIE IT UP! πŸ’₯ What a goal by Ryan Barrow!!<br><br>πŸŽ₯ <a href="https://twitter.com/espn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@espn</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MFrozenFour?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MFrozenFour</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/DU_Hockey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DU_Hockey</a> <a href="https://t.co/hBABKZQN6R">pic.twitter.com/hBABKZQN6R</a>

Three minutes later, Mike Benning put Denver on top for the first time in the game with a one-timer that beat Minnesota State goalie Dryden McKay. Massimo Rizzo provided the insurance with 6:26 remaining. 

Denver Athletics @DU_Pioneers

The moment <a href="https://twitter.com/DU_Hockey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DU_Hockey</a> took a 2-1 lead.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PioneerTogether?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PioneerTogether</a> <a href="https://t.co/TX7RUGFI1d">pic.twitter.com/TX7RUGFI1d</a>

Trying to find any potential spark available, Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings pulled McKay from goal with three minutes left to play. 

Denver took advantage of the empty net with two goals to make it a 5-1 game with 2:00 remaining. The celebration was on at that point for the Pioneers. 

NCAA Ice Hockey @NCAAIceHockey

The final moments went a little like this...🀩<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MFrozenFour?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MFrozenFour</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/DU_Hockey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DU_Hockey</a> <a href="https://t.co/1aDlNFM65i">pic.twitter.com/1aDlNFM65i</a>

This was the 12th appearance in the national title game for the Pioneers. They have now won nine championships.  

Denver Hockey @DU_Hockey

π™ƒπ™„π™Žπ™π™Šπ™π™„π˜Ύ <br><br>πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FrozenFour?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FrozenFour</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PioneerTogether?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PioneerTogether</a> <a href="https://t.co/7kR4LXJhgD">pic.twitter.com/7kR4LXJhgD</a>

Minnesota State was making its first appearance in the national title game. Last year marked the Mavericks' first-ever appearance in the Frozen Four, but they lost to St. Cloud State in the semifinal. They were chasing their first championship since winning the Division II crown in 1980. 

The Mavericks struck first on a power play when Sam Morton's one-timer got past Magnus Chrona for a 1-0 lead with 6:01 remaining in the opening period. 

NCAA Ice Hockey @NCAAIceHockey

Minnesota State STRIKES FIRST in National Championship play!!<br><br>πŸŽ₯ <a href="https://twitter.com/espn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@espn</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MFrozenFour?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MFrozenFour</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/MinnStMHockey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MinnStMHockey</a> <a href="https://t.co/lt3DABjK5m">pic.twitter.com/lt3DABjK5m</a>

Minnesota State made the lead stick through the second period. The defense was phenomenal at limiting opportunities for Denver. 

The Pioneers only had eight shot attempts going into the third period. Their best chance to breakthrough came in the second period when Carter Mazur tried to find an opening, but McKay was able to get his left leg out to deflect the puck. 

NCAA Ice Hockey @NCAAIceHockey

DRYDEN MCKAY πŸ”₯<br><br>πŸŽ₯ <a href="https://twitter.com/espn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@espn</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MFrozenFour?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MFrozenFour</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/MinnStMHockey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MinnStMHockey</a> <a href="https://t.co/mVb1ZDNOTV">pic.twitter.com/mVb1ZDNOTV</a>

Despite not being able to finish off their magical season, the Mavericks should feel very encouraged about what they have accomplished. Hastings has built the program into one of the best in the nation with back-to-back trips to the Frozen Four. 

Saturday's win caps off a fantastic bounce-back season for Denver. It missed the NCAA tournament last season after going 10-13-1, the program's first losing season since 1999-2000 (16-23-2). 

The Pioneers finished the 2021-22 regular season ranked No. 3 in the nation, behind Minnesota State and Michigan. They beat the Wolverines in the Frozen Four before knocking off Minnesota State to win the national title. 

Denver's victory ties it with Michigan for most national titles in Division I history.