Late goal sink DU against North Dakota, 4-2, at Frozen Four

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TAMPA, FLORIDA – APRIL 07: Nolan Zajac #11 of the Denver Pioneers reacts to the loss as the North Dakota Fighting Hawks celebrate the win during semifinals of the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Championships at Amalie Arena on April 7, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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TAMPA, Fla. -- Nick Schmaltz scored off a rebound with just less than one minute to play as North Dakota beat the University of Denver, 4-2, on Thursday night in the NCAA hockey's Frozen Four.

DU was in the national semifinals for the first time since winning the last of back-to-back championships in 2004.

Schmaltz's backhand shot in front of the net beat Pioneers goalie Tanner Jaillet and propelled the Fighting Hawks to the national championship game for the first time in 11 years.

Drake Caggiula scored two second-period goals to give North Dakota a 2-0 lead before the Pioneers rallied in the third period to tie the game.

Rhett Gardner scored an empty-net goal with 1.9 seconds remaining for the final margin.

North Dakota will face No. 1 seed Quinnipiac in the title game. Quinnipiac beat Boston College, 3-2, in the other national semifinal.

North Dakota (33-6-4) has won seven NCAA crowns, tied with Denver for second behind Michigan's nine.

 

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