Minnesota Duluth and Denver were locked in a scoreless duel in the NCHC semifinals until Cole Koepke fired the puck through a mass of bodies and beat Pioneers goalie Filip Larsson 42 seconds into the third period, the game-winning goal of a 3-0 triumph. Bulldogs captain Parker Mackay provided a screen on the play, which was reviewed for goalie interference before the goal was declared good.
"You've got to get in a good goalie's space,'' Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said of Larsson, who made 30 saves. "… We did a better job of that in the third period.''
Hunter Shepard made that goal stand with 25 saves, and Louie Roehl and Koepke added empty-net tallies.
"Shep's been outstanding for us,'' Sandelin said of the NCHC goalie of the year. "If there are breakdowns, he's made that timely save. Tonight was no different.''
Minnesota Duluth moves on to face St. Cloud State in Saturday's championship game.
"It'll be fun to play them again,'' UMD coach Scott Sandelin said of the Huskies. "They're a great team, they've had a great year, Lars [coach Brett Larson] has done a great job with his first year there.''