Gophers edge UND in Frozen Four semis on last-second goal by Holl

  • Article by: JASON GONZALEZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 11, 2014 - 12:00 PM

– It was worth three celebrations.

Gophers senior defenseman Justin Holl caught the inside of the right post and found the net with six-tenths of a second left in Thursday night’s second Frozen Four semifinal. The Gophers dog-piled believing the shorthanded goal gave them a 2-1 victory over North Dakota at the Wells Fargo Center — celebration No. 1.

The goal was reviewed and confirmed — celebration No. 2.

The review also determined a split second remained on the clock and the puck was dropped one final time before the buzzer officially sounded — celebration No. 3 ensued and the Gophers (28-6-6) advanced to their first national championship in 11 years.

They will meet Union College in Saturday night’s finale.

“First time, I honestly didn’t know it went in until two seconds after ’cause there was a guy in front of me, so I didn’t see the goal at the time,” Holl said. “And everyone kind of jumped on me and I was dying at the bottom of the pile. Then it’s a pretty tense minute when they’re at the scorers’ table trying to figure out if it’s a goal or not and, when he comes out and gestures the goal signal, it’s a pretty amazing feeling. … It’s surreal right now, and we’re just happy to be moving on.”

It was Holl’s first goal of the season and was the result of the veteran’s awareness to just try to get a shot on the goal with time running out.

The Gophers weren’t even expecting a game-winner as time wound down. Mike Reilly had picked up a penalty with under two minutes to play. All the Gophers wanted was to kill the penalty and force overtime.

But as the Gophers have come to expect from their well-rounded offense, someone new came through when necessary. Kyle Rau and Brady Skjei had assists on Holl’s goal.

“We’re a really deep team, that’s one of our strengths for sure … anyone on any night can score,” Skjei said. “Every line can score and every defensemen can score. … Crazy things happen. It was unbelievable. I thought he was just going to chip it in deep and we were going to overtime, but he made a play.”

The historic rivalry lived up to its hype. The teams played 51 minutes of scoreless hockey before Sam Warning of the Gophers finally broke through. He scored on an assist from Rau, who finished with two points, at 10:51 of the third period. The lead was short-lived, though. North Dakota’s Connor Gaarder followed up his own shot and backhanded the puck in before it could settle on the ice.

There was no room for scoring throughout the first two periods. The few times North Dakota (25-14-3) and the Gophers sneaked by opposing defenses, they were continually stuffed.

Gophers goaltender Adam Wilcox finished with 36 saves and UND goalie Zane Gothberg with 26.

Very similar styles of play appeared to offset both teams’ offenses most of the game. Good speed on both ends made it difficult to create space and an advantage on transitions. Their defenses were quick to get back in the defensive zone and swarm around the goaltenders.

Gophers coach Don Lucia was right about the way he expected Thursday’s rivalry matchup to play out. The teams played very clean and composed, keeping the focus on what was at stake — a berth in the national championship.

The little jawing and shoving displayed took place in the opening minutes and quickly faded.

The upperclassmen’s message to the freshmen: Don’t settle for being at the Frozen Four.

The Gophers’ veterans were victim of a settling mind-set two years again in Tampa Bay and it showed in one-sided loss to Boston College in the national semifinals. A second trip to the Frozen Four in the past three seasons has been result of a much different approach.

  • frozen four semifinals

    other semifinal

    5

    4

    2

    1

    Championship: 6:30 p.m. Saturday vs. union • TV: ESPN (1500-AM)

    Union shows it belongs C8

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
UCLA 57
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How optimistic are you about the 2015 Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close