ALBANY, N.Y. – St. Cloud State could have folded after losing Easton Brodzinski to an injury early in the second period of Sunday's regional final against Boston College.
Instead, the Huskies took off, ensuring that this year's Frozen Four will have three schools from Minnesota.
St. Cloud State is in the Frozen Four for the second time in program history, after scoring three second-period goals for the second game in a row and getting 26 saves from David Hrenak in holding on to beat top-seeded BC 4-1.
With the Eagles — who didn't play Saturday after Notre Dame had to bow out of the tournament because of a positive COVID-19 test — leading 1-0 after a first-period goal from 2019 Wild first-round draft pick Matt Boldy, Brodzinski, who leads the Huskies (19-10) with 13 goals this season and scored two goals in Saturday's 6-2 victory over Boston University, departed after taking a hip check from Trevor Kuntar 39 seconds into the second period. Brodzinski had to be helped off the ice with what was later reported as a leg fracture.
"To lose him hurts, but I thought the guys kind of had the next-man-up mentality," Huskies coach Brett Larson said on the ESPN broadcast.
But second-seeded St. Cloud State tied the score 1-1 at the 9:21 mark when defenseman Luke Jaycox scored his first goal of the season. After BC goalie Spencer Knight — like Boldy a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's top player — kicked away a shot from Zach Okabe, Jaycox slipped in close and cleaned up the rebound.
Fourth-line center Will Hammer put St. Cloud State ahead with 4:45 remaining, when St. Cloud State had multiple opportunities in front of the net as all five skaters for the Eagles (17-6-1) converged to protect it. Hammer somehow was able to slip the goal through for a 2-1 lead.
And with 44.7 seconds left in the period, the Huskies doubled their lead — although it took a lengthy review to determine that they had. Nolan Walker skated in towards Knight and slipped the puck past the line moments before colliding into the goalie. No goal was initially called, but after a review, officials determined the goal was good. Walker was still penalized for charging the goaltender, but the Huskies had a 3-1 lead with him in the penalty box. St. Cloud State outshot Boston College 20-7 in the period.
The Huskies held on from there, getting an empty-netter from Micah Miller in the final minute. They advanced to the Frozen Four for the first time since 2013, when they were coached by Bob Motzko and the event was also held in Pittsburgh, as it is this year. St. Cloud State will face the winner between the Gophers and Minnesota State Mankato on April 8.
Boldy scored his team-high 11th goal of the season for BC; he also leads the team with 31 points. He is one of four Wild draft picks on the Eagles, the others being Jack McBain (2018, third round), Nikita Nesterenko (2019, sixth round) and Marshall Warren (2020, sixth round). Huskies winger Sam Hentges was a Wild seventh-round pick in 2018.