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Frozen Four 2018: Final Results, Scores, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 6, 2018

ST. PAUL, MN - APRIL 5: Hunter Shepard #32 of the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs makes a save against John Wiitala #10 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during game one of the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Frozen Four Championship Semifinal at the Xcel Energy Center on April 5, 2018 in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

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.

         

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.

NCAA Ice Hockey @NCAAIceHockey

Jared Thomas' pressure created the turnover and then he finished the breakaway off the great lead pass from Karson Kuhlman to make it 2-0 Bulldogs!!! #FrozenFour https://t.co/kHhFbjQQgZ

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.

NCAA Ice Hockey @NCAAIceHockey

It started with a broken stick, but Tanner Laczynski stayed calm for his 17th goal of the season for the Buckeyes first goal of the #FrozenFour https://t.co/lzbe8M0RS0

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.

NCAA Ice Hockey @NCAAIceHockey

The captain comes through with only seconds to spare to win the game for the Fighting Irish!! #FrozenFour https://t.co/lscS86r0w0

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.

NCAA Ice Hockey @NCAAIceHockey

Jake Evans' 40th career goal knots our second semifinal at 2 apiece with plenty of hockey left to play #FrozenFour https://t.co/2CihDbFksL

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.

NCAA Ice Hockey @NCAAIceHockey

Michigan needed an equalizer and their freshman from Florida delivered with his 5th of the year #FrozenFour https://t.co/VGffvvaCbU

That's when Evans played hero and put the Fighting Irish in position to win a national championship.

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