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Minnesota Duluth Wins The 2018 National Championship

The Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs are your 2018 National Champions. The Bulldogs won a close 2-1 game over the Frozen Four favorite Notre Dame. UMD wins as the last at-large team to get in for the first time since Providence in 2015. And I gotta be honest, at no point this season did I picture UMD winning the national title. I don’t think anyone really did. But here they are. They got hot at the right time and played their best hockey of the season at the right time and now they sit here as national champions. The Bulldogs also become the first team to win four one-goal games NCAA tournament games, winning the last three by scores of 2-1.

In a year that was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Duluth, they proved it was anything but that. A team that relied on its youth all year flipped the script on Saturday night and looked to their seniors for support with both goals coming from seniors Jared Thomas and Karson Kuhlman.

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The Bulldogs dominated this game from start to finish, out shooting the Irish 35-20 and showing that there was no way they were losing in the national championship for the second straight year. Doing what they have done best all tournament, getting out to an early lead then playing conservative hockey to hold the lead. “Guys buy into the system. We talked in the locker room about getting pucks deep. The guys stepped up huge tonight.” Blake Young told USCHO.com

I was shocked by the performance of Notre Dame too. From the opening puck drop they just made mistake after mistake, turning the puck over left and right. Cale Morris was one of the lone bright spots, holding his own on the back end, the goaltender of the year made 33 saves in the loss. The Irish made a late push for a comeback, getting a goal from Andrew Oglevie who converted on the power play, but it wasn’t enough. Sophomore tendy Hunter Shepard stood on his head for the Bulldogs, stopping 19 of 20 Notre Dame shots.

Karson Kuhlman was named the tournament MVP adding 3 points in the Frozen Four, 2 in the national championship and 1 against Ohio State. “This is the best day of my life,” Kuhlman told the Star Tribune after the game. The senior also got into the Duluth record book, playing in his 166th career game with the Bulldogs, tying the record set by Jack Connolly in 2012.

Can’t forgot Kobe Roth either. The definition of a hockey guy. Kid shatters his ankle during the games and still comes out to celly with the boys. Talk about being hockey tough. I’m sure the kid would of knocked you out had you tried to tell him that he couldn’t celebrate with the team.