Austin Hollins hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 46.1 seconds left and Minnesota won the NIT championship Thursday night, beating SMU 65-63 to give the Pitino family its latest postseason tournament title. Hollins scored 19 points and Andre Hollins had 14 for the Golden Gophers (25-13), who took home the trophy for the third time. They also won the National Invitation Tournament in 1993 and ’98, though the second one was vacated because of an NCAA rules violation involving player eligibility.
With two famous names on the sideline, the NIT championship has a New York feel. One coach is a rising young star, the other is in the twilight of his Hall of Fame career. Both with boyhood ties to the Big Apple.
Nic Dowd scored with 2:39 left in overtime to give St. Cloud State a 4-3 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday night the NCAA West Regional semifinals. Dowd, a Hobey Baker Award finalist who leads the Huskies with 22 goals, fired a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Steven Summerhays high. “At this point, any shot’s a good shot,” said Dowd, whose Huskies (22-10-5) will play top-seeded Minnesota on Sunday for a spot in the Frozen Four. The Gophers beat Robert Morris 7-3.
Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves and Joe Pendenza scored a short-handed goal in the first period in UMass-Lowell’s 2-1 victory over Minnesota State-Mankato on Saturday night in the NCAA Northeast Regional semifinals. UMass-Lowell (26-10-4) will face top-seeded Boston College on Sunday for a spot in the Frozen Four. The Eagles beat Denver 6-2 in the first semifinal.
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.
Shannon MacAulay scored on a breakaway with 4:16 left in the third and it proved to be the difference as Clarkson beat two-time defending champion Minnesota in Sunday’s NCAA women’s hockey championship.
Mark Zengerle’s rebound goal in overtime lifted Wisconsin to a 5-4 victory over Ohio State on Saturday night in the inaugural Big Ten hockey championship game, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Zengerle and Nic Kerdiles each had two assists, and the Badgers (24-10-2) won for the 10th time in 12 games. This one required a serious rally as Wisconsin trailed 4-2 with 6:52 remaining in regulation after Tanner Fritz scored for the Buckeyes.
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Austin Hollins scored 18 points, Deandre Mathieu added 13 and Andre Hollins hit a late 3-pointer Thursday to give Minnesota a badly needed 63-56 win over Penn State in the Big Ten tournament. The seventh-seeded Golden Gophers (20-12) advanced to Friday night’s quarterfinal against No. 12 Wisconsin with their third win in four games. 10th-seeded Penn State (15-17) had a miserable night shooting, making only 32.2 percent from the field. D.J. Newbill had 16 points and senior Tim Frazier added 11. Penn State heads home from Indianapolis after losing for the third time in four games.
Minnesota sophomore forward Hannah Brandt is among three finalists for the 2014 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. Brandt joins Clarkson senior forward Jamie Lee Rattray and Cornell junior forward Jillian Saulnier as finalists for the top honor in college women’s hockey. Brandt leads the nation in points (61), assists (40) and assists per game (1.11).
St. Cloud State didn’t need five goals in the second period to get even with North Dakota on Saturday. One goal was all it took. Cory Thorson’s goal late in the second period led St. Cloud State over North Dakota 3-1 and into a first-place tie in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. St. Cloud State and North Dakota share the lead in the NCHC with two games remaining in the regular season. The winner earns the first Penrose Cup and gets the top seed for the playoffs.
Three goaltenders on Minnesota college hockey teams are among candidates for the inaugural Mike Richter Award. The Richter Award honors the top goalie in NCAA hockey.
To say North Dakota is on a roll is an understatement. One week after scoring a National Collegiate Hockey Conference record nine goals, 11th-ranked UND coasted to a 6-2 win over No. 20 Minnesota-Duluth. Paul LaDue scored two of North Dakota’s three power-play goals in a four-goal second period. With the win, North Dakota (18-9-3, 13-7-0) remained tied for first in the conference with St. Cloud State. UND is 14-2-1 in its last 17 games.
Sam Thompson scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half, leading No. 24 Ohio State back from a 12-point deficit to a 64-46 victory over Minnesota on Saturday night. The Buckeyes outscored the Golden Gophers 46-18 in the second half. Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 13 points and Shannon Scott 10 for the Buckeyes (22-6, 9-6 Big Ten), who trailed by 10 at the half and by 12 early in the second half before taking control with a 17-0 run.
Minnesota has given football coach Jerry Kill a raise and another year on his contract. The university announced Saturday that Kill’s deal was extended through the 2018 season and that he’ll make $2.1 million in 2014, a big spike from his previous salary of $1.2 million. That was the lowest in the Big Ten. Athletic director Norwood Teague had promised for months the contract would be restructured.