Minnesota has recently overcome a number of hurdles, including the loss of an NHL goalkeeper, numerous injuries and, most recently, the departure of key players for the Beijing Olympics.
Saturday’s hurdle may have felt more self-inflicted – trailing 3-0 away against Penn State – but the Gophers were once again able to overcome it, scoring the last four goals of the game in a 6-4 victory.
Minnesota has won six in a row and 12 of its last 15 games.
Penn State jumped to 3-0 and 4-2 before the Gopher offense erupted. After climbing within the goal to 4-3 by the end of Grant Krukshanka’s second goal, Aaron Huglen tied the score at 4:41 third in the goal by power play.
This led to the victory of Jackson LaCombe in the game with a score of 8:27, and Krukshanka – in the empty net 39 seconds before the end.
Justin Close has continued his brilliant game since replacing Jack Lafontaine around New Year’s, making 23 saves to win. In the third period, the “Gophers” limited the strong attack of the “Penn State” four shots on goal.
№ 1 Minnesota 5, Bemidji 1
Minnesota won its fifth consecutive McNotan Cup, the first in the CCHA, defeating Bemidji 5-1 Saturday.
Now the Mavericks are destined to host all of their home playoff games as the tournament’s first seed.
Minnesota State jumped to 2-0 in the opening period on goals from Lucas Souder and Julian the Warden and never looked back. Cade Borchardt and Andrew Paul doubled the advantage in the middle frame.
Will Zmolek violated Dryden McKay’s bid for exclusion from 7:45 a.m. to the end, but McKay won with a 25-save.
No. 19 Providence 3, No. 16 UMass Lowell 2
Providence got the necessary win by jumping to a 3-0 lead and holding a one-on-one, 3-2 win to earn the weekend with UMass Lowell.
Matt Coopman and Guillaume Richard scored in the first period for the Freers, and Nick Poisson extended the lead to 9:10 in the second.
The River Hawks narrowed the gap to two by the end of the second period on Reid Stephenson’s goal in the final seconds, and Braden Engham’s score in the third with a score of 7:37 was an interesting finish.
The late call of Michael Sitari from Providence from 2:02 to the end put a lot of pressure on Friars setmaster Jackson Stauber, who finished 13 saves in the third and 33 in the game to earn the win.
No. 20 Connecticut 4, No. 10 Massachusetts 2
Connecticut earned a weekend division with rival I-91 UMass on Saturday, playing 2-1 and winning 4-2.
The loss does not allow UMass to take advantage of Lovell’s loss of UMass in Providence. Minutemen and River Hawks remain a draw at the top of Hockey East, now just two points ahead of UConn and three ahead of Merrimack, who is in fourth place.
Lagging 2-1 in the second after Bobby Trivigno and Josh Lopina scored 51 seconds early in the second, UConn tied the game for Ryan Tverberg’s head-to-head game at 8:26 in the middle frame.
Hudson Shandor’s goal at 6:59 a.m. from the third was the winner of the game, and Mark Gatcomb was on the line with 1:15 p.m.
Zverberg finished the game with two goals and two assists.