ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Jake Hansen scored two goals and Nate Schmidt had two assists, leading Minnesota to a 7-3 victory over Boston University on Saturday in the West Regional semifinals.
It was the first NCAA tournament win by the Gophers in five years.
Kyle Rau, Jake Parenteau, Seth Helgeson, Nico Sacchetti and Nick Bjugstad also scored and Kent Patterson made 31 saves for the Gophers (27-13-1), who will play North Dakota on Sunday for a spot in the Frozen Four.
Wade Megan, Ross Gaudet and Adam Clendenning scored and Alex Chiasson had two assists for the Terriers (23-15-1), who finished the season on an 8-9 slump. This was their first NCAA tournament appearance since winning the national championship in 2009.
Rau knocked in a loose rebound of Schmidt’s shot sitting behind BU goalie Kieran Millan after sliding around him on the edge of the crease. The freshman is third on the Gophers with 18 goals.
The officials weren’t shy about blowing their whistles, with 47 penalty minutes doled out. On a questioned call, Nico Sacchetti was punished for goaltender interference after apparently being pushed into Millan, and Megan scored on a rebound during the power play.
Parenteau snagged a crisp pass from Nate Condon and sent a backhander sailing past Millan to give the Gophers the lead again. Parenteau helped give it back, too, when his ill-advised clearing attempt from just outside the crease went straight to Gaudet, who snapped the puck into the net.
The Gophers, who squandered a 3-0 lead and lost 6-3 after giving up five third-period goals against North Dakota last week in the WCHA semifinals, didn’t waver. Helgeson’s backhander made it 3-2 Gophers, and Hansen started a 5-minute power play in style with a flick of his stick from the slot to redirect Schmidt’s slap shot into the back of the net.
That came 20 seconds after Justin Courtnall was given the mandatory ejection and five-minute major penalty for elbowing Schmidt in the head.
Clendenning’s power-play goal just 3:09 into the third period got the Terriers within one, but Sacchetti scored unassisted midway through the final frame and Hansen and Bjugstad tacked on empty-netters in the waning minutes to send the Gophers to the rematch with North Dakota.
No Gophers seniors have gone their entire four-year career without making the NCAA tournament since the class of 1970, and from the start of the season these guys were determined to avoid that fate. WCHA regular-season champion Minnesota is now one victory away from its first Frozen Four appearance since 2005. The Gophers won back to back national titles in 2002 and 2003, but they hadn’t even been to the NCAA tournament since 2008.
The Terriers’ nation-best road record dropped to 11-5-1. This was their 32nd appearance in the NCAA tournament, behind only Michigan (35) and Minnesota (33).
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