Denver wins ninth NCAA hockey title with victory over Minnesota State


Denver is on cloud nine.

Denver beat Minnesota State 5-1 in the 2022 NCAA men’s ice hockey national championship game at TD Garden in Boston on Saturday. The title is Denver’s ninth, tying the record for most in NCAA history.

While the Pioneers pulled out the victory, the Mavericks were in control for the first two periods.

Sam Morton opened the scoring for Minnesota State 14 minutes into the game on the power play. Ryan Sandelin and Lucas Sowder were credited with assists on the play.

The Mavericks came into Saturday’s tilt with a noticeable special teams edge. Both teams’ power play percentages ranked in the top 11 in the nation, but the Pioneers’ penalty kill ranked 39th out of 59 teams on the season.

After a scoreless second period, it appeared Denver didn’t have any answers for Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay, who was given the Hobey Baker Award on Friday.

In the third, however, Denver turned on the jets.

The Pioneers finally lit the lamp when Ryan Barrow netted his eighth goal of the season with 15:14 left in regulation.

Less than three minutes later, Mike Benning netted what turned out to be the game-winning goal. The sophomore defenseman blasted a one-timer past McKay to put Denver up 2-1.

Massimo Rizzo poured it on, doubling Denver’s lead off a pretty feed from Carter Mazur with 6:26 left in the game.

Somehow, Denver wasn’t done yet. Brett Stapley scored on an empty net and Cameron Wright found the back of the net within 32 seconds of one another, capping off an astonishing five-goal period.

Saturday’s victory marks the second time Denver won a national title in Boston, with the first coming in 2004. It also ended Minnesota State’s 18-game winning streak, which dated back to Jan. 14.

Minnesota State had never reached the Frozen Four until 2021. That journey to a title was cut short as the Mavericks fell to the eventual runner-up, St. Cloud State. In 2022, the team made it one stage further, beating intrastate rival Minnesota in the Frozen Four on Thursday to reach Saturday’s championship game.

Denver’s Frozen Four journey began with a win over No. 1 overall seed Michigan on Thursday. With the Pioneers’ championship victory on Saturday, the two programs now share the all-time record for Division I men’s ice hockey championships.

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