Florida Panthers prospect Mackie Samoskevich scored less than a minute into overtime, and the Michigan Wolverines earned their 27th trip to the Frozen Four with a 2-1 victory over Penn State on Sunday night in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The Wolverines, a team filled with NHL draft picks and prospects, will join Quinnipiac, Boston University and Minnesota in the men’s hockey national semifinals in Tampa, Florida, next month.
Adam Fantilli, one of the top prospects for this year’s NHL draft, scored in the third period, off an assist from Samoskevich, tying the game at 1-1 and setting up the early overtime heroics that ended the Big Ten rival Nittany Lions’ season.
Michigan defenseman Luke Hughes, a No. 1 pick of the New Jersey Devils who is expected to join the NHL club when the Wolverines’ season ends, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Allentown Regional.
“I thought our offense was outstanding,” Michigan coach Brandon Naurato said. “Penn State checks well. Our guys stuck to the plan, and it happened to go our way tonight.”
Earlier in the day, Skyler Brind’Amour, the son of Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour, scored the game winner and his 14th goal of the season as Quinnipiac defeated Ohio State 4-1 in the Bridgeport, Connecticut, regional to secure the Bobcats’ third trip to the Frozen Four.
Christophe Fillion, Cristophe Tellier and Jayden Lee also scored for the Bobcats, who will take on the Wolverines in the national semifinals on April 6. The Golden Gophers will face the Terriers in the other Frozen Four game.
“We’re just ecstatic to go back to the Frozen Four,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. “Obviously, we’ve been before, but for my fifth-year guys, we got to the Elite Eight twice and didn’t break through, so I’m just thrilled for these guys.”
It was disappointing end for Ohio State, which advanced to the Elite Eight by defeating Harvard 8-1 in the first round on Friday in Bridgeport.
“I thought we played a good game,” Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik said Sunday. “I thought we left everything on the rink. As you guys can understand, to coach at any level, there’s two things that are really important to me: It’s being around great players and great people, and I’m fortunate to have both. I’m really proud of our hockey team and really proud of the people that put so much work into it.”
The national final is on April 8.
All Frozen Four games will be held at Amalie Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning.