On April 6, 2023, Amalie Arena hosted the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Frozen Four, which saw the semi-final matchup between the #3 Michigan Wolverines and the #2 ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats. Both teams came in as not only some of the best teams in the nation but had future NHL stars such as Skyler Brind’Amour for the Bobcats and Adam Fantilli for the Wolverines. Quinnipiac arrived in Tampa with the best defense in the nation as they had only allowed an average of 1.54 goals per game over 39 games played this season, including tournament games with the best winning percentage in the nation as they had a .859% over their previous 39 games played.
Photo Cred: Michigan Athletics
Michigan arrived with the best goal scorer in the nation with Adam Fantili, who has scored an average of .83 goals per game or just underscoring at least one goal in all the 35 games he has played this season. Both teams also came in with relatives of current and former NHL players like Brind’Amour for Quinnipiac, whose father Rod played 20 years in the NHL, won a Stanley Cup, and is currently the coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, and Luke Hughes for Michigan, whose older brothers Jack and Quinn are playing in the NHL.
Photo Cred: Quinnipiac Athletics
The last time Quinnipiac and Michigan met in the NCAA tournament was last year, which saw Michigan defeat the Bobcats 7-4 in the Regional Finals, Quinninipac came into the game seeking redemption while punching their ticket into the National Title game for the third time in school history. The game started even between both teams as they traded scoring chances. Quinnipiac struck first at 5:18 of the first period when Jacob Quillan scored by deflecting the puck off the back of Michigan goaltender Erik Portillo after grabbing the rebound and shooting it as he was about to go into the boards behind the net.
However, Quinnipiac wouldn’t hold onto the lead for too long as Michigan tied the game up just over a minute later thanks to a goal from Seamus Casey. Quinninipac would respond with a goal and 5 minutes later to retake the lead and hold on to it until halfway in the 2nd Period when Luke Hughes tied the game for the Wolverines. After that, it was all Quinninipac as they would go on to score three goals in the 3rd period.
Photo Cred: Quinninipac Athletics
The go-ahead goal was scored by Sam Lipkin early in the period, which was almost the same goal as the one scored by Jacob Quillan in the 1st period as the puck ricochet off Michigan goaltender Portillo. The Quinnipiac Bobcats would go on to defeat Michigan 5-2 after an empty net goal sealed the game and their ticket to the National Championship, where they will face the #1 ranked Minnesota Gophers, who earlier in the day defeated Boston University 6-2, on Saturday, April 8, in the hopes of winning their first National Title in school history after failing to win in 2013 and 2016.