NCAA Frozen Four
Two terrific freshmen led Denver to a second
straight national title
4, North Dakota 1
Ulanski, G. Gauthier
Fuher, D. Stafford
Ulanski, M. Laatsch
Carle, B. Skinner
Jordan Parise, 58:10, 20 saves, 3 GA
Peter Mannino, 60:00, 44 saves, 2 GA
ND 8/16; DU 9/18
Plays: ND 1-7; DU 2-6
Ohio – Throughout its march to a second consecutive national
championship, Denver players and coaches noted that this was a
new team. Saturday night, two of the best examples of that led
the Pioneers to another celebration.
Mannino and Paul Stastny, part of what head coach George Gwozdecky
called the best freshman class he has had at Denver, made the
difference in the Pioneers' 4-1 title game victory over North
Dakota. Stastny scored two of the goals, while Mannino made a
career-best 44 saves, including 23 in the third period.
have strength, they have grit, they've got talent, courage,"
Gwozdecky said of his freshmen. "Look at our starting lineup
and we had (Ryan) Dingle and Stastny and (An) Thomas and Mannino
out there. That should tell you how highly we as a coaching staff
think of our freshmen."
gives Denver seven in its history, tying North Dakota for the
most in NCAA history.
can imagine, it's a great feeling right now," Gwozdecky said.
"A great feeling of satisfaction, of relief, of joy. A little
bit different than it (felt) this time last year, but the same,
two goals, DU's second and third of the game, broke open a 1-1
tie after the first period. Kevin Ulanski scored the first goal
of the game, as his shot from behind the goal line deflected in
off of North Dakota defenseman Matt Smaby.
third goal of the weekend tied the score for the Sioux. Zajac,
who joined Stastny and Mannino as the third freshman on the all-tournament
team, deflected Nick Fuher's shot from the point past Mannino
on a North Dakota power play.
INCH's Three Stars
Matt Carle, Denver
Pioneers' best defenseman put on a show to set up Stastny's
Paul Stastny, Denver
Stastny hadn't been at his best during the NCAAs,
but his first two points of the tourney included the championship
game winning goal.
Peter Mannino, Denver
We gave our nod to Gabe Gauthier for Most Outstanding
Player of the tourney, but Mannino was tonight's best player.
His 23 saves in the third period, with no goals against,
were a championship game record for saves in a period.
five of its six power play opportunities in the second and third
periods. Stastny cashed in on a pair of opportunities to provide
the 3-1 lead, Denver's seventh and eighth power-play goals of
actually appeared to deflect in off of Smaby, who was covering
him in the slot. On the second, set up by some brilliant moves
entering the zone by defenseman Matt Carle, he blasted past Jordan
Parise before the North Dakota could move to his left.
the Pioneers withstood a furious North Dakota offensive charge.
Time and again the Sioux couldn't beat Mannino, who made 23 third-period
His best stop
actually came a little more than 15 minutes into the first. He
stopped a deflection by North Dakota's Erik Fabian, then gloved
Fabian's rebound bid while lying flat on his back. The officials
reviewed the play briefly to see if it had crossed the goal line.
In the third,
he made a great glove stop on a Drew Stafford wrist shot through
a screen with 6:39 to play. From then on the puck never seemed
far from his crease, and 14 of his 23 stops in the period came
on Grade A opportunities from the slot.
played like he had been here before," said senior forward
Kevin Ulanski. "He showed great composure at the end of the
season and proved he could play in the big game."
had no regrets after its effort.
stood on his head," said Zajac. "Also, DU played a great
game. They played like a championship team. We just didn’t
get the breaks tonight. We had a lot of shots on net, but we just
couldn’t get to some of them. They did a good job of tying
us up. Our guys played a heck of a game, it just didn’t
turn out for us.”
once or twice there that we had him beat five-hole and all of
a sudden the whistle blows, he stands up and the puck's underneath
him," defenseman Matt Greene said. "I mean, it disappeared.
... Tonight we were working hard, we thought we deserved it, but
he came up great in net, so that's the way it goes."
In the end,
Mannino and Stastny embraced their teammates and huddled around
the national championship trophy. Although it was a second title
for most of their teammates, they celebrated with the excitement
of newcomers – and two of those newcomers were a big reason
they could cheer.