Maine featured freshman phenom Paul Kariya, a future seven-time NHL All-Star, and senior Jim Montgomery, the school’s all-time leading scorer.
The Black Bears also boasted forwards Peter and Chris Ferraro, identical twins, and goalies Garth Snow and Mike Dunham, one of the best tandems in college hockey history.
They were set up to make a historic run, and were eager to after losing 3-2 to Michigan State in the first round of the 1992 NCAA Tournament.
They lost only once in compiling a 42-1-2 record, 7-6 in overtime to Boston University, but Maine beat the Terriers four times, including 5-2 in the Hockey East Tournament championship game.
Kariya led the Black Bears with a school single-season record 100 points, while Montgomery scored 32 goals to finish with 301 career points.
They beat Lake Superior State 5-4 on April 3, 1993, at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wis., in the sports moment judged the greatest in school history, becoming the first Hockey East team to win the Frozen Four.
“They’ll go down as one of the greatest teams in college hockey history,” Lake Superior State head coach Jeff Jackson said after the game.
There were some close calls, though. They advanced to the championship game with a 4-3 victory against Michigan, with Lee Saunders scoring the game-winner in overtime.
In the title game, Maine took a 2-0 lead in the first period but Lake Superior State stormed back in the second to take a 4-2 lead.
Then Montgomery, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, scored three times in the third period to bag the Black Bears their first NCAA championship.
Kariya, who was named the Hobey Baker Award winner as player of the year the day before the title game, assisted on all three goals.
“Tonight I just wanted to win,” said Montgomery , who played on three previous Maine teams that never reached the title game. “It didn’t matter who the hero was. I just wanted to win and be national champion.”
“Now this team can be called one of the great ones,” said head coach Shawn Walsh.
Maybe the greatest ever.
In 2012, fans voted Maine’s 1992-93 Maine team the greatest in Frozen Four history.
In a fitting footnote, Montgomery returned to the Frozen Four this year as head coach of Denver.
Update: An earlier version of this story included a photo of Maine’s 1999 national champions.
On the cover: Maine celebrates its 1993 NCAA championship, the first in school history. (Courtesy University of Maine Archives)
YouTube video courtesy of Maine Athletics
THIS WEEK’S GREATEST MOMENTS
• Monday: Maine and Marshall
• Tuesday: Massachusetts and Massachusetts Lowell
• Wednesday: McNeese and Memphis
• Thursday: Mercer and Merrimack
• Friday: Miami (Ohio) and Michigan Tech