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Where Are They Now Feature: Five Frozen Four Moments

By WBH, 04/08/21, 3:30PM CDT

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The Black Hawks have ties to the Frozen Four dating back, the very first NCAA Hockey Championship in 1948.  Before serving as Waterloo’s founding player/coach in 1962, Oakie Brumm helped the Michigan Wolverines to that year’s title.

While the Hawks were still a senior club in the 1960s and 70s, other players who participated in college hockey’s final weekend came to Waterloo like Elov Seger (Michigan Tech), Tom Machowski (Wisconsin), and Walt Kyle (Boston College AND Northern Michigan).

During the Hawks’ early years as a junior club, only a small group of alumni reached the Frozen Four.  However in the past couple of decades, it has been the rule rather than the exception for former Waterloo players to be on ice the night the championship trophy is presented.  Check out the list of Hawks NCAA champions here.

Based on this year’s semifinal matchups, there will be multiple Hawks alumni hoping to be part of Saturday night’s title game celebration once again.

In today’s feature, we look back on five memorable Frozen Four moments so far during the 21st century.

#5 – 2011, UMD’s First Championship

It wasn’t quite a home game, but the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs weren’t short on fan support when they met Michigan during the 2011 title game at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.  In their semifinal contest two nights earlier, J.T. Brown had helped UMD weather a good start by Notre Dame; he scored an early goal before setting up the eventual winner in the third period.  The Bulldogs fell behind again versus Michigan in the final, but Brown assisted on an equalizer 1:39 into the second period.  Minnesota-Duluth never trailed again, pulling out a 3-2 victory in overtime for the program’s first national title.  Brown, just a freshman, was recognized with the Most Outstanding Player award.

#4 – 2006, Pavelski Sets Up the Badger Comeback

Boston College was just five years removed from their most recent championship when they reached the Frozen Four in 2006.  Meanwhile, Wisconsin had not won since 1990 as the two heavyweights met in Milwaukee.  The Eagles took the lead near the midpoint of the opening period, however Joe Pavelski and Adam Burish created Robbie Earl’s game-tying goal 1:17 into the second period.  The same tandem contributed to Tom Gilbert’s go-ahead power play goal at 9:32 of the third, and the game ended with the Badgers prevailing by a 2-1 score.  It was the last college game for Pavelski, who would sign with the San Jose Sharks that summer, foregoing his junior and senior seasons.  Wisconsin’s championship team also included Pavelski’s Waterloo teammate Ross Carlson.

#3 – 2012, Milner is Most Outstanding

Parker Milner had been a freshman backup behind John Muse when BC brought home the 2010 national championship.  Back in the Frozen Four final two years later, Milner was the Eagles’ starting goaltender.  He had produced shutout victories over Air Force and Minnesota-Duluth during the regional.  In the national semifinal, Milner turned aside 30 of 31 shots from the Minnesota Gophers.  Squaring off against Ferris State for the championship, Boston College never trailed.  Although one Bulldog shot eluded Milner in the opening period to temporarily tie the game, Milner turned in another 27 stops and the Eagles prevailed 4-1.  Patrick Wey – who had played with Milner as a Black Hawk and who had also been part of BC’s 2010 squad – assisted on a third period insurance goal.  Milner was named Most Outstanding Player as he became the first former Waterloo goalie to win the NCAA’s championship game.

#2 – 2019, The Bulldogs Win Again

The 2018 NCAA Championship was special for Minnesota-Duluth Bulldog players who had been so close a year earlier and finished as the runners-up in 2017.  In 2019, UMD was in the title game for the third consecutive year.  Mikey Anderson, Peter Krieger, Dylan Samberg, and Nick Swaney were all looking to earn a second ring.  Jackson Cates and Hunter Lellig had been part of Waterloo’s 2017/18 Anderson Cup team and joined their fellow Waterloo alumni as freshmen with another title on the line.  Former Black Hawks were all over the lineup card, but among them, it was Anderson’s night.  During a power play 3:51 into the contest, Anderson assisted on the game’s first goal, recorded by Parker Mackay.  Still leading 1-0 late in the second, Mackay returned the favor, feeding Anderson who snapped in a wrister from the slot.  Then with 2:42 to go in the third, Anderson recorded his third point in the 3-0 win, producing an assist on a goal by Cates.

#1 – 2016, Boeser at His Best

The Vancouver Canucks drafted Brock Boeser in the latter part of the first round during the 2015 NHL Draft after his spectacular year in Waterloo.  What he did the next winter proved the Canucks got steal by choosing Boeser with the 23rd overall pick.  At the college level with North Dakota, the scoring star from Burnsville, Minnesota, churned out 26 goals and 30 assists in his first 41 games.  The 42nd game that season was the national title contest against Quinnipiac, and Boeser assisted on the night’s opening goal at 11:56.  Less than two minutes later, the Fighting Hawks were shorthanded, but Boeser added to the lead, swiping the pick from unsuspecting Bobcat goalie Michael Garteig to score into an open net.  Going to the third period with a 2-1 lead, additional Boeser assists helped North Dakota build the margin to 4-1 less than four minutes out of intermission.  He was involved in all but the final goal during the Hawks’ 5-1 win.  Not to be overlooked, former Waterloo goalie Cam Johnson earned the victory, making 32 saves.  Hayden Shaw was also part of the North Dakota program, although he did not skate in the championship contest.

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