Thursday will be the Huskies and Mavericks’ second meeting in the NCAA Division I tournament Fargo Regional Semifinal, and if it even approaches the intensity of the first matchup, spectators are in for a treat.
In a thrilling game in Pittsburgh’s semifinals of the 2021 NCAA Frozen Four, St. Cloud State defeated Minnesota State 5-4. The Huskies, who had a 3-1 lead in the second period before the Mavericks scored three straight goals to take a 4-3 lead, won the game on Nolan Walker’s redirected shot with 53.2 seconds remaining in the third quarter. With 9:46 remaining in the third, Joe Molenaar knotted the game.
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“Every inch counts in these games,” said Huskies captain Spencer Maier on Wednesday. Maier scored a goal and added an assist in that contest. “It all came down to the final shot in the game we played in Pittsburgh. You never know what’s going to happen, and tomorrow’s game is going to be fantastic.
The Huskies, who won a home series in October of this year, have swept the Mavericks in three straight games and five of the last six overall. When it counts, Minnesota State wants to turn the tide.
First semifinal: No. 2 St. Cloud State vs. No. 3 Minnesota State Mankato at 5 p.m. (ET) on Friday, ESPNU
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Mavericks in a nutshell: In the CCHA championship game against Northern Michigan, Minnesota State (25-12-1) scored twice with its goalie removed in the last 2:19 of the third period to force overtime, and then won the game on Zach Krajnik’s goal 1:08 into the extra period to secure an automatic berth. The Mavericks, who finished second in the nation a year ago, are on a five-game winning streak and have won 14 of their past 17 games overall since January 6. With 39 points—23 goals and 16 assists—David Silye, the CCHA Forward of the Year, leads the Mavericks in scoring. The CCHA defenseman of the year, Jake Livingstone, has 27 assists in addition to his eight goals. Keenan Rancier, the goalie, with a record of 19-9-1, 1.81 goals against average, and.916 save percentage.
Brief summary of the Huskies: St. Cloud State (24-12-3) won the NCHC Frozen Faceoff, defeating North Dakota 3-2 in overtime in the semifinals and blanking Colorado College 3-0 in the championship game to earn an automatic NCAA entry. Prior to going through a 0-3-3 period and finishing on a 5-1 run, the Huskies had a solid start to the season and had climbed to the top of the national polls in late January. Veeti Miettinen, Jami Krannila, and Zach Okabe make up the International Line, which has a total of 49 goals and 60 assists. Grant Cruikshank, a former Gopher, leads the club with 22 goals and 13 assists. Jaxon Castor, who is 13-7-1 with a 2.07 GAA and.920 save %, has taken over the starting position in goal.
Did you realize? The longest active streak was shared by St. Cloud State and Minnesota State, which each qualified for the NCAA tournament for the sixth time in a row.
Eight o’clock: Second semifinal, No. 1 Gophers vs. No. 4 Canisius. ESPN2 on Thursday
The Golden Griffins in a nutshell Prior to defeating Holy Cross 3-0 in the AHA championship game to secure an automatic NCAA berth, Canisius (20-18-3) placed fourth in the Atlantic Hockey League regular season standings. Nine of the Golden Griffins’ last 12 games have ended in victories. Canisius has a 2-6 record outside of conferences. Canisius’ offensive is led by Keaton Mastrodonato (16-20-36) and Ryan Miotto (17-18-35). Goalkeeper Jacob Barczewski of the Golden Griffins is 16-14-1 with a 2.44 GAA and.925 save percentage.
Gophers in a nutshell: After losing 4-3 to Michigan in the Big Ten tournament championship, Minnesota (26-9-1) secured an at-large bid and is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament. The Gophers’ five-game winning streak was snapped by the defeat. The Gophers’ offense is led by Matthew Knies (21-20-41), Logan Cooley (19-33-52, and Jimmy Snuggerud (20-29-49). Top-10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award are Knies and Cooley. A deep blue line is led by Jackson LaCombe (8-24-32), Mike Koster (5-20-25), Brock Faber (4-19-23) and Ryan Johnson (4-14-18). Justen Close, the goalie, has a record of 23-9-1 with a GAA of 2.02 and a save percentage of.927.
Did you realize? Canisius and the Gophers have only played once. On October 28, 2012, Minnesota triumphed 1-0 thanks to an early goal from Kyle Rau and a shutout from Adam Wilcox, who made 20 saves.