NCAA Fargo Regional
Scheels Arena, Fargo
First semifinal: No. 3 seed Minnesota State Mankato vs. No. 2 St. Cloud State, 4 p.m. Thursday, ESPNU
Mavericks at a glance: Minnesota State (25-12-1) advanced to the NCAA tournament in dramatic fashion, scoring twice with its goalie pulled in the final 2:19 of the third period to force overtime in the CCHA title game against Northern Michigan, then winning the automatic bid on Zach Krajnik's goal 1:08 into the extra session. The Mavericks, last year's national runners-up, are on a five-game winning streak and have won 14 of 17 games since Jan. 6. David Silye, the CCHA Forward of the Year, leads the Mavericks in scoring with 39 points on 23 goals and 16 assists. Jake Livingstone, the CCHA Defenseman of the Year, has eight goals and 27 assists. Goalie Keenan Rancier is 19-9-1 with a 1.81 goals-against average and .916 save percentage.
Huskies at a glance: St. Cloud State (24-12-3) won the NCHC Frozen Faceoff, topping North Dakota 3-2 in overtime in the semifinals before blanking Colorado College 3-0 in the final to secure an automatic NCAA bid. The Huskies started the season strong and reached No. 1 in the national polls in late January before enduring a 0-3-3 stretch and finishing on 5-1 run. The International Line of Veeti Miettinen, Jami Krannila and Zach Okabe has combined for 49 goals and 60 assists. Former Gopher Grant Cruikshank has a team-high 22 goals plus 13 assists. Goalie Jaxon Castor has seized the starting job and is 13-7-1 with a 2.07 GAA and .920 save percentage.
Did you know? St. Cloud State and Minnesota State each advanced to the NCAA tournament for the fifth consecutive time, tied for the longest active streak.
Second semifinal: No. 4 Canisius vs. No. 1 Gophers, 8 p.m. Thursday, ESPN2
Golden Griffins at a glance: Canisius (20-18-3) finished fourth in the Atlantic Hockey Association regular-season standings before topping Holy Cross 3-0 in the AHA final to earn an automatic NCAA bid. The Golden Griffins have won nine of their past 12 games. Canisius is 2-6 in nonconference games. Keaton Mastrodonato (16-20-36) and Ryan Miotto (17-18-35) lead Canisius' offense. Golden Griffins goalie Jacob Barczewski is 16-14-1 with a 2.44 GAA and .925 save percentage).
Gophers at a glance: Minnesota (26-9-1) is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and received an at-large bid after falling 4-3 to Michigan in the Big Ten tournament final. The loss ended the Gophers' five-game winning streak. Matthew Knies (21-20-41), Logan Cooley (19-33-52) and Jimmy Snuggerud (20-29-49) drive the Gophers offense. Knies and Cooley are Hobey Baker Award top-10 finalists. Jackson LaCombe (8-24-32), Mike Koster (5-20-25), Brock Faber (4-19-23) and Ryan Johnson (4-14-18) lead a deep blue line. Goalie Justen Close is 23-9-1 with a 2.02 GAA and a .927 save percentage.
Did you know? The Gophers and Canisius have played only once. Minnesota won 1-0 on Oct. 28, 2012, when Kyle Rau scored 12 seconds into the game and Adam Wilcox had a 20-save shutout.
Championship: Semifinal winners, 5:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU.