Roundup: Minnesota, UMD Advance to NSCC Title Game
Providence Stuns Lowell; North Dakota, Northeastern Stay Hot
CHN Staff Report
Alex Iafallo scored with just 27 seconds remaining in overtime to lift Minnesota Duluth to a 5-4 over Minnesota State in the first of two North Star College Cup semifinals at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., on Friday.
Iafallo's goal, a power-play tally, ended a back-and-forth affair that saw the clubs trade leads throughout the game.
“The last team with the puck won,” Minnesota State coach Mike Hastings told the Duluth News Tribune. “We had the puck on our stick in front of the net and didn’t get it cleared. A good hockey player puts it on his stick, and he didn’t make a mistake.
“The most unfortunate thing from our perspective is we give them an opportunity to go on the power play in the last minute and a half. If you stick your hand in the fire, it’s going to get burned.”
MSU's Zach Lerke gave the Mavericks a 4-3 lead at 6:53 of the third period with a shorthanded goal. A power play later in the period looked like a good chance to put the game away, but UMD's Kyle Osterberg responded with a shorthanded goal of his own to knot the game at 10:12.
Iafallo picked up a pair of assists earlier in the game. First on an Austin Farley goal that tied the game, 2-2, and then on an Adam Krause strike that put the Bulldogs ahead, 3-2. Jean-Paul LaFontaine's marker late in the second capped the scoring in a wild period.
The win sent UMD to Saturday's championship game, while MSU will play in the consolation game.
Minnesota scored three consecutive goals to earn a 4-1 win in the second semifinal of the North Star College Cup.
Nate Condon netted the game-winning goal at 14:24 of the second period, just 3:02 after Jonny Brodzinki brought St. Cloud State level with the Golden Gophers. Hudson Fasching extended the lead late in the second with a power-play goal, and Seth Ambroz put the game away with an empty-net marker with 29 seconds remaining in regulation.
Sophomore goaltender Adam Wilcox kept the dynamic Husky offense from fighting back into the game, stopping 38 of 39 shots in the win.
"Adam was our best player (Friday), especially in the first period," Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. "We turned a few pucks over. They are a good team. They skate very well. He was able to kind of right us and allow us to get going."
The game marked the lone meeting of the season between the in-state rivals following the realignment that rocked college hockey this season.
Minnesota's win earns it a date with Minnesota-Duluth Saturday night in the championship game of the tournament.
Providence scored three third-period goals to complete a 5-4 comeback win against Massachusetts-Lowell at Schneider Arena. Trevor Mingoia, Mark Jankowski and Ross Mauermann scored 3:46 apart to put the Friars on top.
The victory was the second in a row for Providence, which failed to win its previous five games.
All four UMass-Lowell goals came in the second period after PC took a 1-0 lead in the first.
"In the first period, both teams were trying to feel each other out a little bit," PC coach Nate Leaman told the Providence Journal. "We’ve played this team in some big games in the past. We were a little tentative. In the second period, I didn’t think we played poorly but they scored on their opportunities.”
The loss was UML's first this season when leading after two periods. In fact, the River Hawks are 50-2-3 in that situation since Norm Bazin took over for the 2011-12 season.
UML and Providence travel north to Tsongas Center for a second Hockey East game Saturday night.
Clay Witt stopped 30 shots and Adam Reid scored two goals, lifting Northeastern to a 4-0 win over Notre Dame in South Bend. The Fighting Irish outshot the Huskies, 30-14, in the game, but the combination of timely offense and stellar play from Witt carried Northeastern.
Reid scored his goals in a span of 2:13 in the first period to put the frontrunning Huskies ahead early. Despite an onslaught from the talented Notre Dame team, Witt held strong.
Notre Dame responded well to the early Northeastern lead, but the Fighting Irish couldn't do enough to beat Witt.
“We gave up a breakaway goal and a two-one-one, and we are down 2-0 in the first 10 minutes,” said Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson.
“That dictates everything. We gave up 14 shots in the game. It wasn’t just the goaltender; it was the quality of the shots. We have to find a way against a team that holds the fort well and has a pretty good goaltender.”
Witt has carried NU during its recent success, guiding the Huskies to second place in Hockey East and a top-10 spot in the Pairwise.
The clubs finish their regular-season series Saturday.
North Dakota extended its unbeaten streak to 10 games with a 4-2 road win against Denver on Friday.
Michael Parks and Drake Caggiula scored in the first period to give UND a 2-0 lead before Dillion Simpsons and Rocco Grimaldi added two more.
The win lifted North Dakota into first place in a tightly contested National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
With No. 1 goaltender Zane Gothberg injured, North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol turned to Clarke Saunders for the first time since Nov. 29. The senior hasn't enjoyed a particularly successful season, but he played well on Friday, stopping 30 shots.
"(Saunders) had some big saves in that first period. It wasn’t like we shielded him or sheltered him," Hakstol said.
"He did a real good job. I thought he was seeing the puck well, and he worked his way into game action real quickly."
Denver cut the lead to 4-2 late in the third period, but it was too little, too late for the Pioneers.
"North Dakota was well prepared, and I didn't prepare our team well enough to have success tonight and we're going to have to be better at that (Saturday)," Denver coach Jim Montgomery said. "Our players have to bring some energy and emotion to the game. You play this game without emotion and you end up getting dominated in faceoffs, footraces and body contact. There were a lot of crimson pants on the ice compared to green."
North Dakota and Denver play the second game of their weekend pair Saturday night at Magness Arena.