ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota earned the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament with strong goaltending and a balanced offense. The Gophers used the same formula Saturday night to advance to the West Regional final.
Nate Condon scored twice and Adam Wilcox made 22 saves to help the Gophers beat Robert Morris 7-3.
The Big Ten regular-season champion Gophers (26-6-6) will face the Notre Dame-St. Cloud State winner Sunday for a spot in the Frozen Four.
Minnesota has four players with 13 goals this season after six Gophers found the net Saturday. Condon, a senior captain, had his first two-goal game in over a year, and Kyle Rau, Mike Reilly, Hudson Fasching, Michael Brodzinski and Justin Kloos also scored.
“It was one of those games where everybody contributed like you have to have this time of year,” coach Don Lucia said. “The teams are too good this time of year and the games are magnified. If you don’t have everybody in your lineup playing well it’s hard to keep advancing.”
Robert Morris (19-18-5) kept the pressure on early but Wilcox — the Big Ten player of the year — held up until the Minnesota offense came through with three goals in under 4 minutes late in the first period.
Condon opened the scoring with a beautiful end-to-end rush for his eighth goal of the season. He picked up a loose puck behind his own goal line, broke out of his zone and wove his way through the defense before firing a shot from the top of the left circle that beat goalie Dalton Izyk, who was screened by a defenseman.
Brodzinski made it 2-0 with a blast from the blue line, and Kloos scored off a rebound to give the Gophers a 3-0 lead at the first intermission.
“I was told by some coaches that had coached against Minnesota, ‘If you let them score one, you have to have some bounce-back shifts, because one can turn into three,'” Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley said. “I think we saw that in the last 4 minutes of that period.”
Cody Wydo and Zac Lynch scored for Robert Morris late in the second period to cut it to 4-2, and David Friedmann added a goal in the third after Minnesota had made it 5-2. But the Gophers outshot the Colonials 50-25 and kept the puck in the Robert Morris zone most of the night.
The Colonials were making their first NCAA tournament appearance in just the 10th year of the program’s Division I history.
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)