With both teams assured of a spot in next week’s NCAA tournament field, there was little more than momentum and a banner up for grabs in Saturday’s Big Ten tournament title game. But Minnesota and Michigan played it like a possible preview of the national championship game.
In the end, the Wolverines took advantage of enough lapses by the Gophers, and used their powerful offense to repeat as tournament champions with a 4-3 win.
Trailing 3-2 in the third, the Wolverines got late goals from Seamus Casey and Dylan Duke to take the lead and quiet Minnesota’s raucous sellout crowd.
Erik Portillo had 22 saves for Michigan (24-11-3) which will return to the NCAA tournament with designs on a second consecutive trip to the Frozen Four.
Minnesota (26-9-1) got a goal and an assist from Logan Cooley, and a highlight reel score by Rhett Pitlick, but fell short in their final home game. Justen Close had 28 saves for the Gophers, who will he...