BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Minnesota put itself in position to defend its NCAA hockey championship. New Hampshire is seeking its first title.
The two teams -- the Golden Gophers steeped in tradition, and the Wildcats seeking to establish one -- won semifinal games Thursday to advance to the championship game Saturday night.
Freshman Thomas Vanek scored 8:55 into overtime to give Minnesota a 3-2 victory over Michigan. New Hampshire, behind Steve Saviano's two goals, beat top-seeded Cornell 3-2.
"I guess I'm just the lucky one in the right spot," said Vanek, who leads the Gophers with 30 goals, four of them game winners. "This is really satisfying. This is why I came here, to get a shot at the title. And now we do."
Minnesota (29-8-9), which has won four titles, has an opportunity to become the first to repeat as champions since Boston University won in 1971 and 1972.
It's an unexpected return for the Gophers, who lost a large core of last year's team, and were considered too young to compete for another title.
"These guys have kind of been on a mission," Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. "All they kept hearing when the year began was that we didn't have all these great players from a year ago, and it's rebuilding.
"And I think we had some guys that wanted to show that they can play, too."
The Gophers proved that by overcoming a 2-0 deficit to eliminate Michigan for the second straight season, both times in the semifinals.
Vanek sealed the victory with a great individual effort, pouncing on a loose puck in the left corner. Spinning away from a Wolverines defender, he snapped a shot from just below the circle, beating goalie Al Montoya through the legs.
Michigan 1 1 0 0 -- 2
Minnesota 0 1 1 1 -- 3
First Period--1, Michigan, Kaleniecki 14 (Ebbett), 9:33. Penalties--Ortmeyer, Mic (tripping), 2:52; DeMarchi, Min (ob.-interference), 4:39; Ballard, Min (ob.-holding), 14:26; Mink, Mic (high-sticking), 17:15; Guyer, Min (cross-checking), 18:49.
Second Period--2, Michigan, Ortmeyer 18 (Tambellini), 14:38. 3, Minnesota, Riddle 26 (Vanek, Koalska), 17:45. Penalties--Rogers, Mic (holding), 1:34; Montoya, Mic, served by Tambellini (tripping), 12:07.
Third Period--4, Minnesota, Guyer 13 (Tallackson, Harrington), 1:35. Penalties--Harrington, Min (hooking), 4:05; Harrington, Min (holding), 7:49.
Overtime--5, Minnesota, Vanek 30, 8:55. Penalties--None.
Shots on goal--Michigan 15-6-10-2--33. Minnesota 5-15-8-3--31.
Power-play Opportunities--Michigan 0 of 5; Minnesota 0 of 4.
Goalies--Michigan, Montoya 30-10-3 (31 shots-28 saves). Minnesota, Weber 17-16-7 (33-31).
Referee--Scott Hanson. Assistant Referees--Joe Andrews, Bob Bernard.
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