Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.


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Ambroz missed a few, but the real prize awaits

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: March 30, 2014 - 11:44 PM

The Gophers scored seven goals against Robert Morris on Saturday in their NCAA opener in St. Paul. Junior Seth Ambroz had a handful of chances to join the goal festival, but missed the net or hit the goalie with the puck or had something derail him.

On Sunday night, the Gophers advanced to their second Frozen Four in three years with a 4-0 whipping of St. Cloud State, the first champion of the NCHC.

Ambroz made it 2-0 at 3:48 of the second period. That goal came between a pair of goals by Justin Kloos, who moved into the Gophers lead with 15. Ambroz has 14, but that could be 17 (minimum) with the chances he saw this weekend.

The last of those came when Charlie Lindgren, St. Cloud’s goalie, stopped him late in the third period.

“I thought I might have one there, but the goalie made a nice play,’’ Ambroz said. “Yeah, there were chances this weekend, but I did put one in, and what matters is we got it done as a team.

“All the freshmen we have in the lineup, and this is their first time in the NCAA tournament … I really liked the way they played this weekend.

“We’re happy to be going back to the Frozen Four, and we’re looking for a different result.’’

Ambroz was there with the Gophers as a freshman in 2012, when they were shellacked by Boston College in the semifinals. Last year’s result hurt more – a 3-2 first-round upset vs. Yale, which went on to become the 2013 champions.

“We had to get back there [the Frozen Four] and prove ourselves,’’ Ambroz said. “We aren’t going to be there. We’re going to do something that hasn’t been done here for a while.’’

The Gophers won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2002 and 2003. They haven’t won since. They will play North Dakota on April 10 in Philadelphia, with two Eastern powers, Union [N.Y.] and Boston College, in the other semifinal.

To repeat: North Dakota is next.

“Our biggest rival from the [former] WCHA, and now we’re going against each other in the Frozen Four,’’ Ambroz said. “You wouldn’t want it any other way, would you?’’

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