Three different players scored goals as Minnesota State Mankato earned its first trip to the WCHA Final Five since 2003 -- that's 10 years ago -- by beating Nebraska Omaha 3-1 in Mankato to win their best-of-three series two games to one.
MSU won Friday 4-3 in overtime and lost 2-1 to UNO Saturday. This will be the Mavericks' third trip to St. Paul.
The purple-uniformed Mavericks (24-12-3) took a 2-0 first-period lead.
Freshman forward Bryce Gervais took a pass from sophomore forward Chase Grant and beat UNO senior goaltender John Faulkner high over the glove side at 8 minutes, 23 seconds. of the first to get things started.
Sophomore forward Max Gaede slipped a shot past Faulkner at 13:45 for his first goal of the season.
Dominic Zombo, a sophomore forward for UNO, tipped the puck off a shot by sophomore forward Josh Archibald that went between the pads of MSU freshman goalie Stephon Williams at 18:43.
At 4:30 in the third period, sophomore forward Matt Leitner scored on a power play, making it 3-1.. Leitner has 17 goals and 45 points this season.
Minnesota State outshot Omaha 34-27.
MSU was one-for-three on the power play, Nebraska Omaha went zero-for-two. The announced crowd was 2,405 at the Verizon Wireless Center.
Omaha ended its 2012-13 season with a 19-18-2 record after losing six of its last seven games.
UNO will move to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference next season, MSU Mankato will remain in what's left of the WCHA, bolstered by teams from the CCHA and independent Alabama-Huntsville.
Junior Ryan Walters of UNO finished his season with 52 points after earning an assist on Zombo's goal. His point total ties him with Scott Parse for the second-most points in a season by a UNO player.
The loss was also the end of the careers of UNO's three seniors – Faulkner, Brent Gwidt and Bryce Aneloski.
* Gotta wonder what kind of emotions were going through Troy Jutting's body on Sunday. Jutting coached MSU Mankato until he was pushed out the door after the end of last season. Now he is an assistant UNO coach.
He had to be happy for his former players, sad for his current ones.
The Mankato Free Press strory on the game is here.
FINAL FIVE SKED
2013 Red Baron WCHA Final Five
At Xcel Energy Center
No. 5 Minnesota State vs No. 4 Wisconsin, 2:07 pm
No. 6 Colorado College vs No. 3 North Dakota, 7:07 pm
Minnesota State/Wisconsin winner vs No. 1 St. Cloud State, 2:07 pm
Colorado College/North Dakota winner vs No. 2 Gophers, 7:07 pm
Broadmoor Trophy game, 7:07 pm