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Chicago Blackhawks Prospect Hillman, Denver Contend For National Title

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Apr 6, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; The Denver Pioneers celebrate after defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 6-1 during the first period of play at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 6, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; The Denver Pioneers celebrate after defeating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 6-1 during the first period of play at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Blackhawks prospect Blake Hillman and Denver will clash with Minnesota-Duluth for an NCAA national title

The NCAA hockey national championship game is set, and it should hold some interest for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Top-seeded Denver University faces second seed Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday night at the United Center in Chicago in a NCHC clash. After Minnesota-Duluth held on for a thrilling 2-1 victory over Harvard University in the first semifinal game, Blackhawks prospects Blake Hillman and Dennis Gilbert squared off when Denver faced Notre Dame.

In a less thrilling, one-sided game, Denver and Hillman topped Gilbert and Notre Dame 6-1.

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Denver will make its first national title appearance since winning back-to-back championships in 2004 and 2005, while Minnesota-Duluth reaches its third ever championship game, having won its only title in 2011.

Minnesota-Duluth wins with late rally against Harvard

After trading first-period goals, Harvard and Minnesota-Duluth seemed destined for overtime.

For Duluth, it would have marked a third straight overtime contest in the NCAA tournament. But with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game, Alex Iafallo tipped home a goal to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 advantage.

Needing a miracle comeback, Harvard threw everything it had at Duluth in the final 26 seconds of the game, hitting the crossbar twice before the final horn sounded.

Duluth won its third straight one-goal game to reach the national championship bout with an opportunity for the program’s second title.

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Hillman, Denver rout Notre Dame

In a less exciting contest in the second semifinal game, top-seeded Denver University ran over tournament host Notre Dame, 6-1.

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Denver jumped out to a two-goal lead early on against the Irish, en route to five unanswered goals before Notre Dame got on the board in the third period. At that point though, it was much too late for a comeback attempt.

Blackhawks defensive prospect Gilbert and Notre Dame end their season one game short of the program’s first national title appearance.

For Hillman and Denver, Saturday’s contest against Minnesota-Duluth presents an opportunity to capture the program’s eighth national championship.

The national championship will be contested Saturday night at the United Center in Chicago, with puck drop slated for 7 p.m., and can be seen on ESPN

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