Duluth defends national title

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Parker Mackay had a goal and an assist, Hunter Shepard stopped 18 shots and Minnesota Duluth won its second straight college hockey title, beating Massachusetts 3-0 on Saturday night.

The Bulldogs (29-11-2) became the ninth school to successfully defend, and first since Denver in 2005. It’s the third championship for Duluth, which beat Denver in the Frozen Four final a year ago and won in 2011.

Shepard got his seventh shutout of the season and nation-leading 29th victory, improving his NCAA tourney record to 8-0.

Mikey Anderson had a goal and two assists. Noah Cates scored with 2:42 remaining to seal the victory for the Bulldogs, who were making their third consecutive appearance in the final.

The Bulldogs’ experience on the big stage proved to be an edge over a young UMass team. The Minutemen (31-10) were making their first appearance in the championship game in just the second tournament berth.

UMass still closes a season in which it eclipsed its previous single-season-best win total of 21 in 2007, while also being two years removed from a five-win finish in coach Greg Carvel’s first season.

Freshman goalie Filip Lindberg stopped 28 shots, and had little chance on either of the Bulldogs’ first two goals.