BOSTON — The opening game of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four between top-seeded Michigan and fourth-seeded Denver is heading to overtime tied, 2-2.
It was a game that many expected to be an offensive explosion with two teams ranked among the top three in goals scored this season. Instead defense has dominated through 60 minutes with Denver holding a 26-14 shots advantage. The 14 shots in Michigan’s lowest shot total through regulation this season.
It took Michigan 14:04 just to get its first shot of the game, nearly three minutes after Brett Stapley gave the Pioneers the lead at 11:22.
Stapley crashed the net to grab a loose rebound of Justin Lee’s blast from the point, tucking a backhander past Michigan goaltender Erik Portillo.
Early in the second, the Wolverines generated their best offensive chances of the game and, in doing so, drew even at 1.
Senior Jimmy Lambert found himself alone in the slot after his linemates drew the Denver defenders below the goal line. Nolan Moyle sent a backhander to the slot that Lambert lifted past Denver netminder Magnus Chrona at 4:03.
The goal woke up the Denver defense, though, as it allowed just one more Michigan shot over the final 15:57 of the second period.
In the third Denver regained the lead on a perfect deflection by Cameron Wright of a Mike Benning shot at 5:36. But less than four minutes later, Michigan drew even.
Mark Estapa blocked a Denver shot with the puck bouncing to linemate Michael Pastujov. Skating with Thomas Bourdeleau, Pastujov sent a puck toward the net that bounced to Bourdeleau’s stick, allowing him to lift it past Chrona.
Denver had two late power plays but was unable to convert. Michigan has not had a power play through regulation.