Badger, Gopher puck seasons end abruptly in NCAA tournament
Both the University of Wisconsin and Minnesota men's hockey teams had short stays in the NCAA Tournament Friday.
It took a super-hot goalie to stop a hot team as the University of Massachusetts-Lowell whipped Wisconsin last night in the NCAA Northeast Regional semifinals in Manchester, New Hampshire. When Wisconsin's Nic Kerdiles scored to cut the lead to 3-1 it ended the shutout streak for River Hawk goalie Connor Hellebuyck at 165 minutes, 20 seconds. That was all the offense the Badgers could muster in a 6-1 loss. And, that ended Wisconsin's late-season winning streak at six games in a row. It was the first NCAA tournament game for the Badgers since they lost to Boston College in the national championship game three years ago. Wisconsin finishes its season with a 22-13-7 record after winning just one of its first 10 games. Badger goalie Joel Rumpel made 20 saves but got almost no offensive support. After Wisconsin outshot Massachusetts 11-4 in the first period, the River Hawks dominated the rest of the way, earned a berth in the regional final against New Hampshire.
Meanwhile, despite being the No. 1 seed in its West Regional, Minnesota was upset by No. 4 seeded Yale 3-2 in overtime in Grand Rapids, Mich. The Bulldogs scored just nine seconds into the extra period as Jesse Root scored off a Gopher turnover in their own end assisted by Kenny Agustino, who also scored in the first period to help give his team a 2-0 lead. The Golden Gophers tied the game at 2-2 in the third period with goals from Nate Schmidt and Zach Budish, Erika Haula assisted on both goals. Gopher goalie Adam Wilcox made 23 saves. Minnesota finishes with a 26-9-5 overall record. It's the second time as No. 1 seed Minnesota had lost to a No. 4 seed.
It was a bad day for the WCHA in the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament as only one out of four teams playing Friday won and North Dakota needed to rally to beat Niagara in the West Regional 2-1. UND will play Yale for a Frozen Four berth this evening. Denver was crushed by New Hampshire 5-2 in the Northeast Regional. UNH will play UMass-Lowell for the regional title this evening as well.
Also the other WCHA teams in the tournament are in action. St. Cloud State takes on Notre Dame in the Midwest Regional in Toledo while Minnesota State faces Miami of Ohio, also in the Midwest Regional. The winners square off tomorrow in the regional finals.