There have been two different sets of Bulldogs that have advanced to their respective sports’ championship game.
The one you’ve heard of, the Butler Bulldogs, shot 22% from the floor and managed to score only 41 points in an embarrassing loss to the UCONN Huskies in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament’s final game.
The other Bulldogs, the one you probably haven’t heard of before, are from Duluth, Minnesota. This past weekend in the Frozen Four, the Duluth-Minnesota Bulldogs defeated the perennial favorite Michigan Wolverines in overtime, 3-2, to capture their first ever NCAA men’s hockey national championship.
"I don't know if I can put it into words," Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said. "I am so extremely proud of these guys. I know every coach says that. But to do something that the school's never done is, I'd say that a couple of days ago, it would mean everything.
Bulldogs senior forward Kyle Schmidt was the hero. His goal three minutes and twenty-two seconds into overtime ended the game and gave the national championship to the Bulldogs, the first in the team’s fifty-year history.
The game-winning goal was a one-timer that Schmidt buried from the front of the net that was set up by teammates Travis Oleksuk and Brady Lamb.
"I didn't really do a whole lot,” Schmidt said. “My linemates were working their butts off there in the corner. Luckily it was a gimme because I was probably too nervous to bury anything else.”
The tournament is made up of sixteen teams, including six automatic conference qualifiers from Atlantic Hockey, the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, Eastern College Athletic Conference hockey, Hockey East, and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
Michigan entered the tournament as a two seed with a 26-11-3 record from the regular season. The Wolverines defeated Nebraska-Omaha, Colorado College, and North Dakota to advance to the championship game before losing to the Bulldogs.
Minnesota-Duluth was a three seed after a 23-10-6 record in the regular season. The Bulldogs beat Union, Yale, and Notre Dame before winning the championship in overtime against Michigan.
The overtime win in the championship capped off a very exciting season for the Bulldogs who had 12 games go into overtime and lost half of them.
Michigan got off to a one-goal lead in the first period with a goal in the fifteenth minute by Ben Winnett. The Bulldogs scored two in the second to take the lead before Michigan tied it up at the end of the period. A scoreless third set up Schmidt’s heroics in overtime.
"I'm hoping my hockey career isn't over, but if it is, I was one fortunate individual and glad I could bring the national championship to Duluth," Schmidt said.