It's a Big Ten party at the 2018 Frozen Four.
Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan finished in first, second and third place, respectively, in the Big Ten and made up 75 percent of the teams in the men's Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minnesota. Minnesota Duluth is in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference and enjoyed an element of home-ice advantage inside its own state.
The Bulldogs kicked off Thursday's slate with a matchup against the Buckeyes, while the Fighting Irish and Wolverines squared off in the other showdown.
Here is a look at the Frozen Four results.
Minnesota Duluth beats Ohio State, 2-1
Notre Dame beats Michigan, 4-3
Minnesota Duluth Beats Ohio State, 2-1
Minnesota Duluth is one victory away from its first national championship since 2011, and it can largely thank goaltender Hunter Shepard for its 2-1 victory over Ohio State.
Shepard saved all but one of the Buckeyes' 20 shots, consistently turning away challenges after his team staked him to an early 2-0 lead. His counterpart, Sean Romeo, was tested more often and notched 26 saves, but the two goals he allowed in the opening four minutes proved to be the difference.
The game couldn't have started better for the Bulldogs, who parlayed an early offensive flurry into the initial lead when Louie Roehl found the back of the net after his team missed a number of golden chances. Jared Thomas then converted a wide-open breakaway less than two minutes later to make it 2-0.
Ohio State was fortunate to be down just two after the first period, considering Minnesota Duluth dictated pace on the way to a 17-4 shots advantage in the opening 20 minutes. Romeo's ability to settle in and turn away a number of looks kept the game close and set up a thrilling finish.
The Buckeyes started challenging Shepard in the second and third periods, and it took a desperate Scarlet and Gray effort and multiple power plays in the third to finally break through against the formidable goaltender.
Tanner Laczynski got the Buckeyes on the board and created a situation where his side could pull Romeo for the final couple of minutes, but the Bulldogs defense and Shepard came through with a spot in the championship game hanging in the balance.
Notre Dame Beats Michigan, 4-3
Nobody can accuse Notre Dame of being boring.
Jake Evans buried the game-winning goal with a mere five seconds remaining—after the Fighting Irish failed to protect a 3-2 lead in the third period—to give his side a 4-3 victory over Michigan. It was a gut-wrenching defeat for the Wolverines in what was a back-and-forth thriller that saw them jump ahead 2-0 before relinquishing the lead only to appear to force overtime before the winner.
Notre Dame is now a win over Minnesota Duluth away from its first national championship in program history.
Michigan goaltender Hayden Lavigne and counterpart Cale Morris each made 25 saves, but it was the final tally Lavigne allowed that proved to be the difference.
It looked as if Michigan was going to advance to the title game when it seized early momentum by generating plenty of buzz in front of Morris. Tony Calderone's quick wrister through traffic put the Wolverines on the board, but the game opened up in the second period.
Dexter Dancs beat Morris to give Michigan a 2-0 advantage, but Andrew Oglevie answered with a power-play goal. Evans buried a one-timer less than four minutes later for the Fighting Irish to set up the decisive third period.
Notre Dame took the lead for the first time when Dylan Malmquist found Cal Burke for a go-ahead strike, but Michigan's Michael Pastujov converted a chance in front of the net to tie the contest at three with less than six minutes remaining.
That's when Evans played hero and put the Fighting Irish in position to win a national championship.