North Dakota ends Michigan’s run to Frozen Four

The Fighting Hawks (32-6-4) reached the Frozen Four for the third straight year and 22nd time overall.

John Minchillo/AP

CINCINNATI (AP) — Rhett Gardner broke a tie with 7:57 left and North Dakota beat Michigan 5-2 on Saturday night in the NCAA Midwest Regional final to advance to the Frozen Four.

Gardner deflected Paul LaDue’s shot off goalie Steve Racine’s glove.

The Fighting Hawks (32-6-4) reached the Frozen Four for the third straight year and 22nd time overall. They won the last of their seven titles in 2000.

Luke Johnson, Drake Caggiula, Coltyn Sanderson and LaDue — into an empty net — also scored goals for North Dakota, and Cam Johnson made 23 saves.

JT Compher scored twice for Michigan (25-8-5).

Caggiula opened the scoring on a backhander off his own rebound late in the first period. Troy Stecher started the play by breaking up a pass from inside his own blue line and feeding it to Caggiula.

Compher tied it at 5:33 of the second period, beating Johnson glove-side from the slot.

Johnson put North Dakota back in front with 45 seconds left in the second. He picked up a loose puck after a Michigan turnover and shot it past Racine.

Michigan’s national-best power play finally got a chance midway through the third period when LaDue was called for holding, and Compher fired a shot from the circle past Johnson to tie it at 8:39 of the third.

Gardner broke the tie, and Sanderson doubled the advantage 1:14 later.

In the semifinals Friday, North Dakota beat Northeastern 6-2, and Michigan topped Notre Dame 3-2 in overtime.