Denver hockey fillets Notre Dame in the Frozen Four to advance to the national championship

The top-seeded Pioneers will face the second-seeded Bulldogs in the championship game Saturday in Chicago.

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Evan Janssen celebrates his second-period goal Thursday. (David Banks/USA Today Sports)

The Denver Pioneers are headed to their first national championship game since 2005. (David Banks/USA Today Sports)

The first NCAA Frozen Four game Thursday between Harvard and Minnesota-Duluth was hard fought; Minnesota-Duluth scored a go-ahead goal with 26.6 seconds remaining to win.

The second Frozen Four game Thursday between Denver and Notre Dame was, well, not. Denver scored two goals in the first period, three more in the second and filleted the Fighting Irish by a final score of 6-1.

The top-seeded Pioneers will face the second-seeded Bulldogs in the championship game Saturday in Chicago.

Denver dominated from the outset Thursday. Emil Romig gave the Pioneers a 1-0 lead a little more than 8 minutes into the game by hanging around the back of the net and then going top shelf for a great goal.

Henrik Borgstrom doubled Denver’s lead later in the period when he buried a Will Butcher offering into the back of the net.

The Fighting Irish briefly threatened at the start of the second period. But the Pioneers put any threats to bed by striking three more times late in the period. Tariq Hammond, Dylan Gambrell and Evan Ritt, a walk-on from Lakewood, each scored.

It was all over at that point. Denver dominated over the first 40 minutes of the game except for a brief spell. It out-shot Notre Dame 29 to 11 in the first two periods.

Now the Pioneers will try to win their first national championship since 2005. Denver is making its first title-game appearance under fourth-year head coach Jim Montgomery, who earlier this week was named the national coach of the year.

The championship game starts at 6 p.m. Saturday. You can watch it on ESPN.

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