Gophers dump North Dakota to reach Frozen Four

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 26, 2012 - 11:17 AM

A WCHA Final Five defeat became moot when Minnesota rolled over the Fighting Sioux and on to the Frozen Four.

view larger photos

  

In a season of peaks and valleys -- coach Don Lucia's description -- the Gophers climbed to the summit Sunday.

The Gophers earned their 20th trip to the Frozen Four by beating North Dakota 5-2 at Xcel Energy Center in the championship game of the West Regional.

Five different players scored for the Gophers, 11 had at least one point and goalie Kent Patterson, the regional's Most Outstanding Player, stopped 24 shots. An announced crowd of 10,974 -- split pretty evenly between the two WCHA rivals -- watched them battle a sixth time this season.

This encounter was a decisive knockout for the Gophers.

"We knew it would have to be a great effort to beat them," Lucia said, "and that is what it was tonight."

Taylor Matson, the Gophers' senior captain, scored the game-winner on a rebound midway through the second period. It gave the Gophers a 3-1 cushion. A little over five minutes later, freshman Travis Boyd made the margin three goals on his first goal of the season.

The Gophers (28-13-1) will play Boston College on April 5 in the second semifinal of the Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla. In a matchup of the two most recent national champions, the Eagles defeated Minnesota Duluth 4-0 Sunday in the Northeast Regional final in Worcester, Mass.

Boston College is the top seed in the NCAA tournament this year and won the title two years ago. The Gophers, seeded eighth, are making their fourth trip to the Frozen Four in Lucia's 13 seasons at Minnesota. The Gophers won back-to-back national titles in 2002 and '03 and last appeared in the national semifinals in 2005.

"[This] means an awful lot," Gophers center Erik Haula said. "It was one of the goals at the start of the season.

"One was to win the MacNaughton Cup, one was to win the Final Five, which we didn't get, and to get to the Frozen Four is a great accomplishment. But as a team we are not satisfied with that. We want to keep playing good hockey and keep going all the way."

North Dakota (26-13-3) was the team that ended the Gophers' chance at a title in the WCHA tournament, rallying from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Gophers 6-3 in the semifinals.

Haula called that loss embarrassing. Teammate Nick Bjugstad said the team choked. Lucia called it an aberration, one that became too big of a story.

Sunday the Gophers got revenge, ending the Fighting Sioux's eight-game winning streak and their season.

"Once we got it back to 2-1," said UND coach Dave Hakstol, "we made a mistake to allow it to go 3-1 without forcing Minnesota to make a great play, and that really turned the tide against us."

Except for one huge play by North Dakota's Danny Kristo, the Gophers dominated the middle period, outshooting the Sioux 12-2 and scoring quickly.

Haula's 20th goal of the season came on a Gophers power play at 20 seconds -- the hockey gods like symmetry sometimes -- and made it 2-0. Haula somehow was uncovered near the net, and Bjugstad, in the left corner, spotted him.

Kristo answered 1:23 later on a shot from the slot to cut the Gophers' lead to 2-1, but Patterson didn't see another shot that period until the closing seconds.

Boyd, a freshman who had not scored in 33 games this season, made it 4-1 about five minutes later. He tipped Nate Condon's shot past North Dakota goalie Aaron Dell.

Each team scored once in the third period. By then, Lucia said he was pretty relaxed.

"We had been playing great third periods all year long," Lucia said, "and that is what I had been telling people all week long."

  • related content

  • Scoggins: A long time coming, Gophers redeem themselves

    Monday March 26, 2012

    This team headed to the Frozen Four is not led by one player or one class.

  • Line shakeup a grand success

    Monday March 26, 2012

    Travis Boyd joined the Gophers' struggling third line, which scored three goals vs. North Dakota.

  • Gophers-North Dakota recap

    Sunday March 25, 2012

    The Gophers senior goalie was named the tournament MVP. He stopped 24 shots on Sunday, five on North Dakota power plays.

  • Chart: The U and the Frozen Four

    Sunday March 25, 2012

    This is Minnesota's 20th appearance in the Frozen Four and its first since 2005. Here is how the Gophers fared in the previous 19:

  • Postgame: Making sense out of hockey college seeding

    Monday March 26, 2012

    Four conference champions meet in regional semifinals on a recent weekend.

  • The Gophers mugged for the camera after beating rival North Dakota 5-2 for the NCAA West Regional men's hockey championship Sunday.

  • NCAA HOCKEY WEST REGIONAL FINAL GOPHERS 5, NORTH DAKOTA 2

    Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla: Union vs. Ferris State • 4:30 p.m. April 5 • TV: ESPNU • Gophers vs. Boston College • 8 p.m. April 5 • TV: ESPN2

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 0
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 6 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: E. Butler 5
Boston 2 Top 9th Inning
Baltimore 7
Milwaukee 0 Top 8th Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Washington 3 Top 9th Inning
Miami 2
NY Mets 4 Bottom 9th Inning
Atlanta 2
Chicago WSox 0 Bottom 8th Inning
Tampa Bay 3
Cleveland 7 Bottom 5th Inning
Minnesota 2
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 10
Cincinnati 4 Bottom 8th Inning
St. Louis 8
San Francisco 0 Top 5th Inning
San Diego 1
Texas 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
LA Angels 1
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(21) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Ball State 0 Delayed 9:30
Toledo 6
Appalachian St 7 4th Qtr 11:18
Southern Miss 14
Miss State 31 4th Qtr 14:54
(8) LSU 10
Northern Ill 14 4th Qtr 9:00
Arkansas 45
Middle Tennessee 10 4th Qtr 9:35
Memphis 36
Utah State 14 4th Qtr 11:00
Arkansas State 7
Miami-Ohio 21 4th Qtr
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 17 4th Qtr 8:00
Ohio U 23
(14) So Carolina 24 3rd Qtr 7:30
Vanderbilt 21
(4) Oklahoma 24 3rd Qtr 12:37
West Virginia 24
Ga Southern 21 4th Qtr 14:51
South Alabama 6
UNLV 7 3rd Qtr
Houston 13
New Mexico 21 3rd Qtr
New Mexico St 14
Miami-Florida 14 3rd Qtr 14:30
(24) Nebraska 17
(22) Clemson 10 3rd Qtr
(1) Florida State 3
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 0 FINAL
Portland 3
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 0 FINAL
Columbus 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
Seattle 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
D.C. 1 2nd Half 44:55
Chicago 2
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 15 7:26
Hamilton 17
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close