Chicago Blackhawks defensive prospect Blake Hillman already knows what it’s like to win on a big stage at United Center.
Hillman, Chicago’s 2016 sixth-rounder, and Denver defeated Minnesota-Duluth 3-2 on Saturday to win the NCAA national championship in Chicago. The 21-year-old blue liner was scoreless in four postseason games for the Pioneers. The 6-foot-1, 181-pounder had one goal and six assists in 39 regular-season games during his sophomore campaign.
It’s the first national title for Denver since 2005 and the first under head coach Jim Montgomery, who was named the Spencer Penrose national coach of the year Saturday. The Pioneers’ eight national titles ties them with rival North Dakota for second all time only behind Michigan’s nine.
It was the first time the Frozen Four semifinals were held in Chicago. The Hawks boasted the most prospects in the tournament among NHL teams with seven, however, no one scored a goal.
For the second straight year, Chicago saw one of its prospects win college hockey’s biggest prize. In 2016, forwards Luke Johnson and Nick Schmaltz won the title with North Dakota.