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

Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Houston 105
Golden State 106 FINAL
Boston 101
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
Indiana 94
Portland 110 FINAL
Sacramento 99
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Orlando 83
Oklahoma City 108 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Denver 92
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Tampa Bay 3 FINAL
Florida 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Toronto 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Anaheim 3 FINAL
Dallas 1
St. Louis 5 FINAL(SO)
Vancouver 6
SMU 73 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 56 FINAL
California 73
South Florida 55 FINAL
Houston 72
Marquette 66 FINAL
Providence 77
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
Siena 57 FINAL
Monmouth 63
Pittsburgh 66 FINAL
Wake Forest 69
Oregon 73 FINAL
Stanford 70
Purdue 61 FINAL
Ohio State 65
Arizona State 81 FINAL
Colorado 87
Washington St 67 FINAL
UCLA 72
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
UMBC 73
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 45 FINAL
Drexel 50
Illinois State 50 FINAL
Bradley 60
Southern Ill 74 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 70
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Wichita State 66
Minnesota 76 FINAL
(17) Iowa 92
(15) North Carolina 80 FINAL
(16) Duke 81
Alabama 73 FINAL
Auburn 80
(9) Florida State 69 FINAL
Miami-Florida 55
Arkansas 41 FINAL
Missouri 57
Georgia 52 FINAL
Florida 45
Dayton 95 FINAL
Saint Louis 68
Drake 57 FINAL
Missouri State 86
Colorado 46 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 59
(19) Stanford 55 FINAL
Oregon 62
Marquette 82 FINAL
DePaul 99
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 60
Vanderbilt 49 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 79
(2) South Carolina 56 FINAL
(13) Kentucky 67
Utah 41 FINAL
Arizona 64
Ohio State 78 FINAL
Nebraska 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Wild finish out the hockey season?

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