The No. 12-ranked Michigan Wolverines fell behind 3-0 to No. 6-ranked North Dakota on two power-play goals and one shorthanded tally and could not recover, falling 5-1 Friday night in the first round of the NCAA West Regional at UND's Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Chad Kolarik (above) had U-M's lone tally, while Noah Ruden made 22 saves in net in his final collegiate game.
"They got the crowd into it, obviously," UM senior captain Andrew Ebbett said. "And just the two power-play goals, you've got to have good penalty kills if you're going to have a chance against a good team like this. You can't give them a power-play goal like that. We got behind and I thought we were alright. We came back and then that shorthanded goal was pretty much the killer of the game, that was pretty costly."
Michigan's run of 11 consecutive seasons with at least one NCAA Tournament victory came to an end. The last time U-M did not earn a win in the NCAA Tournament was in 1994 when it fell to Lake Superior State (5-4 OT) in the second round.
The three Michigan seniors - Ebbett, Ruden and forward Brandon Kaleniecki - played their final game in the Maize and Blue Friday night.
"Brandon Kaleniecki, Andrew Ebbett and Noah Ruden are the greatest teammates I've ever had and the the greatest captain and assistant captains, and I could go on and on," Kolarik said. "They're just great guys, guys you'd want in your wedding, guys you're going to keep in touch with the rest of your life."
"It's disappointing to come out on the short end," Michigan head coach Red Berenson said. "We had to come up with an upset and it just didn't happen."
The Sioux advanced to meet Holy Cross, who upset Minnesota Friday night, and beat the Crusaders, 5-2 on Saturday, to go to the Frozen Four in two weeks in Milwaukee.
Photo by Mike Mohaupt