In an unforgettable finish, the University of Denver won its first NCAA men's hockey title in 34 years by defeating Maine 1-0 in the 2004 championship game.
Pioneers' goalie Adam Berkhoel made 24 saves, including two huge stops in the wild closing minutes, when Maine held a 6-3 advantage in skaters.
Denver got into penalty trouble when Matt Laatsch was sent off for hooking with 2:09 to play in the third period. Then Gabe Gauthier was called for a delay of game with 1:34 left after closing his hand on the puck.
Jimmy Howard left the Maine net with 1:13 remaining, giving the Black Bears a three-man advantage for more than a minute.
Berkhoel, chosen the Frozen Four's MVP, came up with his two biggest saves on blistering slapshots by Maine's top scorer, Colin Shields.
Gauthier scored the only goal of the game on the power play at 12:26 of the first period.
The Pioneers almost never made it to the title game. Denver pulled off a thrilling comeback to upset Minnesota-Duluth in the semifinals. Duluth was in control after two periods, leading Denver 3-1. But Gauthier and Ryan Caldwell scored 34 seconds apart to tie the game at 3:04 of the third. Lukas Dora scored the winning goal for Denver about five minutes later.
Duluth pulled its goaltender for the final 1:25, and appeared to have tied the game with 32.2 seconds left. But the goal was disallowed, the referee ruling that Duluth forward Tyler Brosz knocked over the goaltender to dislodge the puck. The Pioneers then iced the game with an empty net goal.
In the other semifinal, Jimmy Howard led the way with 40 saves as Maine defeated Boston College 2-1. The Eagles outshot the Black Bears 30-15 through two periods, but the teams were tied 1-1. Dustin Penner scored the go-ahead goal for Maine at 1:05 of the third, and the Bears shut down the Eagles the rest of the way. Boston College managed just one shot on goal in the final seven minutes.
Denver won five national titles in a 12-year span in the 1950s and '60s, but this is its first since 1969. Maine won the championship in 1993 and 1999.
Complete regional and national tournament results:
Men's Frozen Four (Fleetcenter, Boston, Mass.)
National Championship Game
Saturday, April 10, 7 pm:
Denver 1 - Maine 0
Thursday, April 8:
Denver 5 - Minnesota-Duluth 3
Maine 2 - Boston College 1
Results From Regional Playdowns
Maine 5 - Harvard 4
Wisconsin 1 - Ohio State 0 (OT)
Maine 2 - Wisconsin 1 (OT)
North Dakota 3 - Holy Cross 0
Denver 3 - Miami (Ohio) 2
Denver 1 - North Dakota 0
Boston College 5 - Niagara 2
Michigan 4 - New Hampshire 1
Boston College 3 - Michigan 2 (OT)
Minnesota 5 - Notre Dame 2
Minnesota-Duluth 5 - Michigan State 0
Minnesota-Duluth 3 - Minnesota 1