Drake Caggiula celebrates with Brock Boeser and Nick Schmaltz (Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
The University of North Dakota has captured its ninth national championship with a 5-1 victory over the No. 1 ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats. Drake Caggiula scored twice and the line of Caggiula, Brock Boeser and Nick Schmaltz combined for seven points.
The University of North Dakota has captured its first NCAA national championship in 16 seasons.
In the final of the 2016 Frozen Four, the Fighting Hawks dominated the nation’s No. 1 ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats from the outset of the contest to earn the eighth national championship in North Dakota’s history.
The Hawks, who entered the contest as the NCAA’s third-ranked team, opened the scoring with eight minutes remaining in the first period on a goal by Shane Gersich, but it didn’t take long before Brock Boeser, who has been one of the NCAA’s standouts this season, doubled the North Dakota lead with a shorthanded goal following a misplayed puck by Bobcats netminder Michael Garteig.
Boeser was forechecking during a Quinnipiac power play and managed to poke the puck free causing a footrace between he and Garteig. However, as Garteig approached the puck, Boeser slowed up, faked as if he was going to cut to the inside and cut back to the outside to block Garteig’s outlet pass. Boeser settled the puck and rifled it into the empty net for what would stand as the game-winning goal.
The Bobcats would make a game of it before the end of the first period thanks to a 5-on-3 power play goal by Tim Clifton with little more than a minute remaining in the first period, but after a scoreless second period, North Dakota took over. Less than two minutes into the third frame, Drake Caggiula notched his first goal of the contest, and little more than two minutes later Caggiula scored his second of the game to give the Fighting Hawks a 4-1 lead. Total, the line of Caggiula, Boeser and Nick Schmaltz — one of the strongest lines in college hockey — combined for seven points in the contest.
Before the game was through, Austin Poganski would add another insurance goal, and North Dakota netminder Cam Johnson stopped everything that came his way to seal the 5-1 victory for the Fighting Hawks. Following North Dakota’s victory, only Michigan has more national championships.
“There was a mentality there right away,” North Dakota coach Brad Berry told ESPN post-game. “These guys were hungry, focused and committed right away. We battled a few penalties there, we got through it and they just persevered. I’m so proud of this group of young men right here.