Minnesota keeps composure, edge out BU to reach men’s Frozen Four final in 2023

Minnesota defeated top-seeded Boston University 6-2 in the semifinals of the NCAA Men’s Frozen Four on Thursday to reach its first national championship game since 2014. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Tied at 2-2 after two periods, Gophers defenseman Luke Mittelstadt scored twice early in the third period to put Minnesota ahead.
  • Star striker Logan Colley slotted home the winning goal with 2:41 remaining and added a second less than a minute later.
  • Minnesota will take on the winner of Michigan-Qunipiac in this year’s national championship game Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.

the athleteInstant Analysis:

Gopher maintained his composure

This was an odd sensation for the Gophers in the half of the game.

They hit the pole three times. They had one goal – by Colley – that was overturned by a review for a goalkeeper’s tackle. Another potential goal appeared just over the line, but goalkeeper Drew Commisso was smothered just in time. They wasted two minutes from a 5-on-3 time.

But give Minnesota credit for maintaining its cool, not letting frustration take over. The team got the two goals – both by Mittelstadt – that it needed early on in the third and that was it.

“You can’t let your frustration get to you, especially games like this,” Cooley said. “Just stay balanced, stay positive on the bench and I think we did that today.” – Smith

Minnesota Top Line Rating

It’s a testament to just how deep this Gophers team is that their superstars didn’t make much of an impact on the scoresheet until the game was under control (Coley had an assist and two empty nets), yet the club still scored six goals. The line of Cooley, Matthew Knies and Jimmy Snuggerud was dynamic and created a lot, but they just couldn’t finish.

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Brock Faber didn’t score, but one of his friends and roommates – Mike Koster – did, getting two points. Mittelstadt, the new defender, was the unexpected hero by two goals. – Smith

Goaltending gave BU a chance

Commesso gave Terrier opportunity, especially early on, when he was under siege. The fact that this is a 2-2 game going into the third period had a lot to do with the budding goalie (and Blackhawks prospect).

Sure, the post helped him too, but his ability to cover Bryce Brodzinski’s rebound in time late in the second looked like it would turn the game around. The Terrier’s biggest star has been announced, freshman defenseman Len Hutson. – Smith

Dogs are doomed

BU’s downfall was the amount of penalties they took. You can’t give these kinds of opportunities to this elite of Minnesota’s power play group.

The Gophers scored three goals with the man advantage, their first three goals of the game. The Gophers not only took advantage, but also kept the Terriers’ best offensive players off the ice when they were taking too many penalties.

This included with six minutes remaining the Terriers tried to overcome a two-goal deficit, and received another penalty. It was a fitting end to the night. – Smith

Help Huglen’s High-Reel

It was just after lunchtime on a Thursday afternoon when Aaron Houghlin received a text from teammate Rhett Pitlik.

“Check this out.”

Pitlik, the sophomore winger, was watching footage of Sidney Crosby on his phone and saw an interesting one. Crosby went to the backdoor on a power play, and one of his teammates found him with a creative pass.

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Huglen replied, “Let’s give it a chance.”

Little did they know they had the chance to make it to the Frozen Four semi-finals. It was late in the first period against BU and Minnesota was on the power play. Huglen got the puck low. He told Pitlick if it wasn’t open, to go to the back door. They’re going to try Crosby’s play.

Huglen made a pass from behind the back, through his legs and finished off Pitlick.

“It worked out perfectly,” said Pitlik. – Smith

background story

Cooley and Kniss were named two finalists for the 2023 Hobey Baker Award last week, along with Michigan freshman center Adam Fantelli. The pair are part of the highest streak in college hockey this season. Going into Thursday, Cooley’s 57 points (20 goals, 37 assists) are second in the nation while Kniss’ 21-goal possession was named the 2022-23 Player of the Year.

The Gophers (29-9-1) beat Canisius 9-2 and St. Cloud State 4-1 in their first two rounds to reach the semi-finals on Thursday. Minnesota is searching for its first national title since 2003.

Game highlights

required reading

(Photo: Ray Sibeck/USA Today)

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