Memorable Moments in NCAA Hockey History: Historic Upsets and Wins

NCAA hockey

When it comes to college hockey, there is no shortage of memorable moments. From historic upsets to impressive wins, the NCAA has seen its fair share of thrilling and unforgettable games. These moments have not only shaped the history of college hockey, but have also left a lasting impact on fans and players alike. In this article, we take a trip down memory lane to revisit some of the most historic upsets and wins in NCAA hockey history.

The “Miracle on Ice”: United States vs. Soviet Union, 1980 Olympics

One of the most iconic moments in sports history, let alone NCAA hockey history, is the “Miracle on Ice” game at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. The United States, led by coach Herb Brooks, was made up of young and amateur players, whereas their opponent, the Soviet Union, was a dominant national team composed of professional players.

Despite being the underdogs, the American team shocked the world with their 4-3 victory over the Soviet Union in the semifinal game. This win not only secured their spot in the gold medal match, but also gave the United States a much-needed morale boost during the Cold War era. The game is still considered one of the greatest upsets in sports history and has been immortalized in popular culture through movies and documentaries.

Boston University’s Three-Peat: 1971-1973 NCAA Championships

From 1971 to 1973, Boston University won three consecutive NCAA Division I hockey championships, a feat that had not been achieved since the University of Michigan in 1955-1957. Led by coach Jack Kelley, the Terriers were a dominant force in college hockey, with standout players such as Mike Eruzione and Jerry York.

In their third championship game against Cornell in 1973, Boston University dominated with a 4-0 win, becoming the first team in NCAA hockey history to complete a three-peat. This achievement solidified their status as one of the greatest college hockey dynasties and earned them a spot in NCAA history.

University of North Dakota’s “Last Hurrah”: 2016 Frozen Four Championship

In the 2016 NCAA Frozen Four championship game, the University of North Dakota (UND) was facing off against top-ranked Quinnipiac University. UND, a team known for its rich hockey tradition, had not won an NCAA title since 2000 and was looking to end their 16-year drought.

In a nail-biting match that remained scoreless until the final period, the game went into overtime. It was then that UND captain Drake Caggiula scored the winning goal, giving his team a 5-1 victory and earning them their eighth NCAA championship title. This win was not only memorable for UND fans, but also marked the end of an era as the school announced it would be changing its nickname from the Fighting Sioux to the Fighting Hawks the following season.

Yale’s First NCAA Championship: 2013 Frozen Four Championship

In their first-ever appearance at the Frozen Four, the Yale University men’s hockey team was not considered a top contender. However, the Bulldogs shocked the college hockey world when they defeated top-ranked Quinnipiac University 4-0 in the championship game.

Led by coach Keith Allain, Yale had an impressive season, finishing with a 20-12-3 record. But their victory over Quinnipiac, who had only lost three games all season, was a historic upset. This win not only marked Yale’s first-ever NCAA championship in hockey, but also cemented their place in NCAA hockey history.

University of Minnesota Duluth’s Back-to-Back Championships: 2018-2019 NCAA Championships

After narrowly losing to the University of Denver in the 2017 Frozen Four championship game, the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Bulldogs came back with a vengeance the following season. Led by coach Scott Sandelin, UMD claimed their first-ever NCAA championship with a 2-1 win over Notre Dame in 2018.

But UMD didn’t stop there. In 2019, they returned to the Frozen Four and once again faced off against Notre Dame in the championship game. In another nail-biting match, UMD came out on top with a 3-2 victory, becoming the first team since the University of Denver in 2004 to win back-to-back NCAA championships.


From the “Miracle on Ice” to back-to-back championships, the NCAA has seen its fair share of historic upsets and wins. These memorable moments not only showcase the talent and determination of the players, but also the passion and excitement of college hockey. As we look to future seasons, it’s safe to say that there will be many more incredible moments to come in NCAA hockey history.


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