Minnesota State fell behind early, but proceeded to score five unanswered goals en route to a 5-1 win over Minnesota in a 2022 NCAA NCAA Division I Frozen Four semifinal game played in Boston, Mass., Thursday night.
The Mavericks, 38-5-0 overall and winners of 18 games in a row, will play Denver Saturday night for the men’s hockey national championship. Minnesota State, which has won five of its last six NCAA tournament games, will make its first NCAA Division I men’s hockey national championship game appearance when it squares off against the Pioneers.
An inauspicious first period ended with the Gophers owning a 1-0 lead Thursday. Minnesota scored following a turnover at the MSU blue line when freshman forward Matt Knies finished off a two-on-zero opportunity at the 8:52 mark of the opening period, but that was the only offense the Gophers could muster in the contest.
The Mavericks bounced back in the second period, scoring twice to take a 2-1 lead into the final 20 minutes of regulation. Senior defenseman Benton Maas tallied his third goal of the year, converting on a wraparound chance that beat Minnesota netminder Justen Close on the far side at 12:38. Senior winger Reggie Lutz’s 15th goal of the year, scored on another wraparound play from the side of the net, came at the 6:29 mark.
Sophomore center Ondrej Pavel got his stick on a Jack McNeely shot from the point and the Mavericks took a 3-1 lead at 1:57 of the third. The goal, the 12th of the year for Pavel, also drew an assist from Josh Groll. Then at 13:17, sophomore center David Silye ripped a shot high blocker side from the right dot to make it a 4-1 Minnesota State lead. Junior center Brendan Furry closed out the scoring in the contest, tallying an empty netter with 1:09 left on the clock.
Silye and Pavel both had a goal and an assist to finish with two-point games in helping lead the Mavericks to their eighth win over the Gophers in the last 10 meetings between the two programs.
Senior netminder Dryden McKay, a two-time Hobey Hat Trick finalist as the top player in men’s college hockey, stopped 16 shots in the contest in upping his record on the season to 38-4-0.
(info courtesy of Mavericks Sports – Paul Allan)
(photo credit – Gopher Sports – Brad Rempel)