Hockey World Blog

North Dakota Scores Eighth National Title


The 2016 NCAA hockey season came to an end Saturday night with the North Dakota Fighting Hawks scoring three goals in the final period to defeat the Quinnipiac Bobcats 5-1 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.

The No. 1 overall seeded Bobcats experienced heartache in the title game for the second time in three years, losing the 2013 championship to Yale in Pittsburgh.

The Fighting Hawks win their first title since 2000 and did it under first year bench boss Brad Berry. Berry took the team to heights not reached by current Philadelphia Flyers coach Dave Hakstol, who also went to the championship game his first year in Grand Forks (a 4-1 loss to Denver in 2005). Since their last championship, North Dakota had been to the Frozen Four seven times but hadn’t lifted the trophy.

North Dakota jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway through the first period with goals from Shane Gersich and Brock Boeser. Boeser’s unassisted tally 2:20 after Gersich opened the scoring came short-handed after the Vancouver prospect blocked a clearing attempt by QU goalie Michael Garteig and fired it into the exposed net.

The Bobcats cut their deficit in half just before the period ended after the Fighting Hawks found themselves in penalty trouble.  Tim Clifton’s 5-on-3 power-play marker with 67 seconds left in the opening frame appeared to spark life in them, finishing off a first period that featured a total of five penalties and 29 shots from both teams.

The second period was more defensive-oriented, as they combined for almost as many shots (nine apiece) as North Dakota had by themselves in the first period (16).

Senior Drake Caggiula capped off his college career in style. He had been held off the scoreboard after scoring twice in the semifinal against Denver. He has been penalized twice in the first two periods, the first of which led to Quinnipiac’s goal. But he lit the lamp twice early in the third to nearly put the game out of reach at 4-1.

The undrafted free agent extended his point streak to a career-long 13-games when Nick Schmaltz picked up a puck in the corner and fired a pass across the ice to Caggiula, who was one knee on the other side of the net and tapped the puck in just under the crossbar.

Two minutes after that Caggiula struck again while trailing a Boeser 1-on-1 rush. Boeser was angled toward the boards and able to fine Caggiula trailing behind where he put the puck past Garteig.

Caggiula was named Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player after scoring four goals over the course of the weekend. North Dakota’s eight national titles only trails Michigan (nine) for most all-time.

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