Kyle Schmidt (7) passes down the championship trophy. Photo by Jordan Doffing
St. Paul, MN — CBS Sports’ use of David Barrett’s song “One Shining Moment” in its tournament-concluding NCAA Men’s College Basketball Championship video montage has transformed the phrase into a metaphor for multiple moments of greatness. No one’s moments shone brighter in Saturday’s NCAA Men’s Hockey Championship game at Xcel Energy Center those of Max Tardy and Kyle Schmidt.
UM-Duluth's Max Tardy brings the puck up the ice. Photo by Jordan Doffing
Tardy, a Duluth native who spent his freshman season mostly languishing at the end of UMD’s bench—if in the lineup at all—scored his first collegiate goal and Hermantown’s Kyle Schmidt potted the game winner in overtime to lead the Bulldogs to their first-ever national championship with a 3-2 win over the Michigan Wolverines.
A star at Duluth East High School, Tardy was a Minnesota Mr. Hockey finalist in 2009 registering 48 points (28 goals, 20 assists) in 25 games of a senior season in which he led the Greyhounds to a berth in the Class AA state tournament. In 25 games as a Bulldog this season, Tardy’s contribution consisted of two assists.
But in the season’s most crucial game, Tardy scored, of all things, a power-play goal early in the second period to give Minnesota-Duluth its first lead.
With Mac Bennett of Michigan in the penalty box for hooking, Tardy received a Mike Seidel pass below the circle to the left of Michigan goaltender Shawn Hunwick. Tardy’s cross-crease feed intended for Travis Oleksuk was blocked by Hunwick’s stick paddle back to Tardy who buried the biggest goal of his life.
“I know my teammates and my coaches had a lot of confidence in me, putting me out there on the power play,” said Tardy. “I was just trying to stay calm, act like I was trying to play some shinny hockey; it worked out.”
UMD coach Scott Sandelin said he began having Tardy practice with the second power-play unit a few weeks ago and inserted him in that spot when Schmidt got hurt in the regional final against Yale.
“It's funny how things work out,” said Sandelin. “But we stayed with him there [after Schmidt returned]. He was kind of there on and off during the year, but more in our mock units.”
“But you'll probably see him there a lot next year, trust me,” Sandelin added.
Schmidt, a senior, watched his brother celebrate a Minnesota Class A state hockey championship for Hermantown in 2007 scored his 11th goal and 22nd point of the season on the same end of the rink his brother scored the game’s empty-net clincher.
“I unfortunately never made it to State,” said Schmidt. “We were close a couple times, but I think I probably got the trump card on this one, with a national championship.”
Ironically, Schmidt was seated with his family that night close to where they were seated for his shining moment while both Hermantown and UMD used the same locker rooms for their championship games.
Just over three minutes into the extra session, Schmidt cycled the puck in the right corner to Oleksuk who carried behind the net and backhanded a cross-crease pass to Schmidt whose back-door one-timer will live forever in the hearts and minds of Bulldog fans everywhere.
“I didn’t really do a whole lot,” said Schmidt. “Luckily it was a gimme because I was too nervous to bury anything else. I saw it go in and started skating for the other end. It was amazing.”
Equally remarkable is the fact that that the two most significant goals in Bulldog history were scored by players who grew up in such close proximity to Minnesota Duluth’s campus. An accomplishment not lost on them despite their youth.
“It's great for the players, coaches, everyone here, but I think it's been way too long of a time coming for everyone in Duluth and Twin Ports,” said Schmidt. “I mean, it's for everyone. It's awesome.”
“It's something that we're going to be able to look back on a long time from now and all that, we did it,” added Tardy. “And it's great for all the fans back home.”
UM-Duluth's Kyle Schmidt fights for the puck during the second period. Photo by Jordan Doffing
|#7 Kyle Schmidt
Hometown: Hermantown, Minnesota
|#19 Max Tardy
Hometown: Duluth, Minnesota
NHL: St. Louis (2010 7th Round, #202 Overall)
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