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Minnesota takes Frozen Four championship

Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2003

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Freshman Thomas Vanek sparked a four-goal third period, leading Minnesota to a 5-1 victory over New Hampshire in the NCAA championship game Saturday night.

Barry Tallackson scored twice, including an empty-netter, as the defending champion Golden Gophers became the first team to repeat since Boston University won in 1971 and 1972.

Matt DeMarchi and Jon Waibel also scored while Travis Weber stopped 26 shots as Minnesota outshot New Hampshire 45-27.

The Gophers (30-8-9) won the school's fifth hockey title, joining Wisconsin and Denver, who also have won five. Michigan is first with nine championships, followed by North Dakota with seven.

Sean Collins scored for New Hampshire (28-8-6), which was denied its first championship despite making its fourth Frozen Four appearance in six years and seventh overall. The Wildcats, in their only other title game, lost to Maine, 3-2 in overtime in 1999.

Vanek continued his knack for scoring in the clutch, two days after his overtime goal sealed Minnesota's 3-2 semifinal win over Michigan.

Against New Hampshire, Vanek sparked the win with a great individual effort to put Minnesota up 2-1 8:14 into the third period.

Driving up the left boards, Vanek cut to the middle, getting around New Hampshire defender Mick Mounsey. Drawing Mike Ayers out of position, Vanek got around the sprawled goalie and fired a shot that sneaked in under a diving Mounsey.

Of Vanek's 31 goals, five have been game-winners and 17 have come in either the third period or overtime.

The Gophers, who possess the nation's third-ranked offense, wound up scoring three goals over a 5:20 span. Waibel, set up by Vanek, and Tallackson, stuffing in Gino Guyer's pass through the crease, made it 4-1.

Tallackson then sealed the win by scoring into an empty net with 1:29 remaining.

It was the largest margin of victory in an championship game since Boston University beat Maine 6-2 in 1995.

And it was an unlikely outcome, considering how tightly contested the first two periods were.

DeMarchi opened the scoring 10:58 into the game with a snap shot from the top of the right circle.

The Wildcats tied it with the prettiest goal of the game, coming with 18.9 seconds left in the first period. Justin Aikins, from just inside the blue line, fed Nathan Martz, parked to the left of the net. Martz one-timed the pass through the crease to Collins, who snapped it into the open side.

Ayers was solid in keeping New Hampshire in the game. His best stop came with under three minutes left in the second period, diving across the crease to stop Troy Riddle's one-timer from the slot.

Weber was just as sharp for the Gophers. On separate chances through the first two periods, he stopped point-blank one-timers by Kevin Truelson and Jim Abbott.

Notes: New Hampshire has won only one NCAA title in any sport: women's lacrosse in 1985. ... Only five times, including Boston University, has a school successfully defended its title, Michigan (1951-53 and 1955-56), Denver (1960-61 and 1968-69). ... Fourteen of the previous 15 Frozen Four games were determined in overtime, including Minnesota's 3-2 overtime win over Michigan in Thursday's semifinal. ... Next year's Frozen Four will be held in Boston.



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