<
>

Union headed to 1st Frozen Four

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Union College reached the Frozen Four for the first time with a 4-2 win against Massachusetts-Lowell in the NCAA East Regional on Saturday night.

Daniel Ciampini, Kyle Bodie, Jeremy Welsh and Josh Jooris scored for the Dutchmen (25-7-7), who were making their second appearance in the Division I NCAA tournament.

Union will face the Midwest Regional champion in the national semifinals on April 5 in Tampa, Fla.

Troy Grosenick, a Hobey Baker Award finalist, made 19 saves for Union, a small school from Schenectady, New York.

"The guys in front of me have been awesome," Grosenick said. "The (defensemen) clear rebounds. I can tend to leave a few out there once in a while. If I let up a rebound like that, the defensemen are there.

"They do a great job letting me see the puck. The forwards do a great job blocking shots from the point."

The River Hawks' Doug Carr made 35 saves, and Matt Ferreira and Terrence Wallin scored.

Lowell was also seeking its first Frozen Four berth. The River Hawks made their fourth NCAA tournament appearance in Division I and their first since 1996.

"They came in droves," Lowell coach Norm Bazin said, "and we were a step off. ... They were the better hockey team."

Lowell cut the lead to 3-2 at 5:40 into the third. Welsh lost the puck going behind the net, and it slipped to the front, where Ferreira fired it past Grosenick.

"I'd turned my head, to communicate to Welshy that he had some time. The moment I turned my head is the moment he lost the puck," Grosenick said. "It happens. The main point is Welshy's a great player. He got over it really quickly."

Grosenick made a big save on a rebound try by Ferreira with 4:49 remaining to preserve the lead, and he stood up to another Lowell scramble with about three minutes to go.

Bodie put it away with an empty-net goal from the neutral zone with 40.6 seconds remaining.

Union outshot UMass Lowell 12-4 in the second period and scored twice to take control.

Welsh, the most outstanding player of the regional, scored his 27th goal of the season in the slot on a rebound to make it 2-0.

Lowell scored on its 13th shot, 14:06 into the second. Terrence Wallin cut in off the left-wing boards and flipped a shot that banked into the net off Union defenseman Mat Bodie.

But the Dutchmen restored their two-goal lead with a late power-play goal. After UMass-Lowell captain Riley Wetmore was sent off for holding Welsh, Jooris scored off freshman Shayne Gostisbehere's drop pass in the slot, beating Carr just inside the right post with a backhand shot.

Union scored 3:03 into the game. Kevin Sullivan, from nearby Darien, negated an icing, which allowed the Dutchmen to set up. Kyle Bodie centered to freshman Ciampini in the slot for his third goal of the year.

An ECAC team had not made the Frozen Four since Cornell lost in the semifinals in 2003.

"We've been progressing. I've been here for three years, and each year, we've taken a step, into ECACs, and (Saturday), this," Welsh said. "Maybe my freshman year this would've been a big, wild moment, but the program has come so far."

Ferris State headed to Frozen Four

GREEN BAY, Wisc. -- Jordie Johnston broke a tie with a goal early in the third period and Ferris State held on to beat Cornell 2-1 in the Midwest Regional final and advance to the Frozen Four on Saturday night.

Garrett Thompson gave Ferris State a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal 11 seconds into the third period and Dustin Mowrey tied it for Cornell 1:21 later.

Johnston scored at 6:54 on assists from Andy Huff and Cory Kane.

Ferris State (25-11-5), the CCHA regular-season champion, will play Union College on April 5 in Tampa Bay.

Taylor Nelson made 22 saves for Ferris State. Andy Iles stopped 19 shots for Cornell.

Top-ranked Boston College advances

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Top-ranked Boston College showed off its lock-down defense against Air Force.

Chris Kreider scored two goals and Parker Milner stopped 20 shots to lead Boston College to a 2-0 win over Falcons on Saturday in the NCAA Northeast Regional.

The Eagles (30-10-1) are looking to take a familiar route to the Frozen Four and another NCAA championship. Three times in the past 11 years they've advanced from Worcester and captured the NCAA title, winning it in 2001, '08 and '10.

It was the 16th straight win for the Eagles, and came with a similar pattern. BC has allowed two or fewer goals 15 times during its winning streak.

"If you're going to be a championship team in most sports, you have to have a really solid defensive team," BC coach Jerry York said. "We can talk about some of our forwards, but they play defense, too."

BC will face defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth in the regional final on Sunday night, a matchup of the past two NCAA champions. The Bulldogs beat Maine 5-2 in the second regional semifinal.

The Falcons (21-11-7), outplayed for long stretches of the game, kept it close thanks to solid defensive play in front of goaltender Jason Torf, who made 32 saves.

"That is a heck of hockey team in Boston College, and in my opinion, they beat a heck of a hockey team," Air Force coach Frank Serratore said. "Our game plan was to get to the third period with the score close. We were right where we wanted to be."

It was the first time Air Force was shut out this season. The Falcons dropped to 1-5 all-time in NCAA play, with four one-goal loses.

"I think what was really the key was we really shut them down defensively," said Milner, who rarely was tested. "All the shots were beyond the dots."

The win extended BC's longest winning streak in York's 18 seasons as coach of the Eagles.

"I think as a group we find a way to figure it out and get the chemistry when it matters," Kreider said of the run.

Kreider made it 1-0 just 7:39 into the game on a nice fed from Kevin Hayes, who swung around the net and slipped a pass in front. Kreider one-timed it pass Torf. His power-play goal with 1:21 left in regulation sealed the win.

Milner made solid save about a minute after Kreider's score, making a pad save on Scott Holm's backhander from the slot. Holm fanned as he attempted to collect the rebound.

Air Force made a brief flurry late in the first.

Neither team had many good scoring chances in the second period. BC's Johnny Gaudreau had the best when he broke in alone, but Torf made a pad save as he tried to tuck it between his pads.

The Eagles, the tourney's overall No. 1 seed, captured the Hockey East regular season and tournament championships. Air Force did the same in its league -- the Atlantic Hockey Association.

BC, which improved to 9-1 all-time in Worcester, has won all six meetings between the schools.

Defending champion Minnesota-Duluth moves on

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Jack Connolly, Caleb Herbert and Jake Hendrickson scored second-period goals as defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 5-2 win over Maine on Saturday in the Northeast Regional.

The Bulldogs will face top-seeded Boston College on Sunday night in the regional final, a matchup of the past two NCAA champions. The winner advances to the Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla.

Earlier in the day the Eagles won their 16th straight game, beating Air Force 2-0 on a pair of goals by Chris Kreider.

J.T. Brown added a third-period goal for the Bulldogs (25-9-6) and Hendrickson sealed it with an empty-netter in the final minute.

Spencer Abbott and Matt Mangene scored for Maine (23-14-3).

The Black Bears opened a 2-0 lead on goals early in the second period before the Bulldogs struck for three goals in 6 minutes, 41 seconds.

Connolly started the scoring spree when he fired a wrister past goalie Dan Sullivan for a power-play goal at 10:47, and Minnesota-Duluth then got a huge bounce to go its way.

Herbert stole the puck from defenseman Brice O'Connor at the blue line, broke in alone fired a shot over the net, but the puck hit off the back glass, caromed into the air and went into the net off Sullivan's left leg as he was getting into position in the crease.

A minute later, Brady Lamb intercepted Sullivan's bad clearing pass along the right boards, fired a shot on net and Hendrickson knocked in the rebound.

Brown beat Sullivan with a backhander between the pads 9:15 into the third.

Abbott scored a power-play goal to make it 1-0 when he fired a wrister from the point that slipped behind goalie Kenny Reiter.

Mangene made it 2-0 early in the second when he broke in alone down the right wing, shifted around Reiter and tucked in a backhander. Maine was 13-1-2 when leading after the opening period, but things fell apart for the Black Bears midway through the second.

The Bulldogs improved to 15-0-2 when leading after two periods.

Gophers win first tournament game in 5 years

BOSTON -- For the first time in five years, Minnesota has won an NCAA tournament game. The Gophers are going for more than that.

Jake Hansen scored two goals, Nate Schmidt had two assists and Minnesota beat Boston University 7-3 on Saturday in the West Regional semifinals.

"We've made a great jump this season," Gophers coach Don Lucia said.

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.

No Gophers seniors have gone their entire four-year career without making the NCAA tournament since the class of 1970. The Gophers won back-to-back national titles in 2002 and 2003, but they hadn't even been to the NCAA tournament since 2008.

"We have had such a good team, from our first line guys to our fourth line guys. We really are a family," Hansen said.

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, a significant accomplishment considering the off-ice distractions that shrouded them during the past few months.

Corey Trivino, the leading goal scorer in the Hockey East conference at the time, was kicked off the team in December after his arrest on indecent assault and battery charges. Another player, Max Nicastro, was removed from the roster in February after being charged with rape. Both of them pleaded not guilty. But the university formed a task force to examine the culture and climate of the men's hockey program.

Charlie Coyle, another one of BU's top players, left the team in December to play for a junior team in Canada.

"I would say it was a rewarding season, to see what we went through. There was turmoil and sadness," coach Jack Parker said. "From December on, they had more fun coming to the rink than anything else. They were uncomfortable otherwise. It was a hard year for the team."

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), with 24 of those under Parker.

The officials weren't shy about blowing their whistles in this one, 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 five-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.

Hansen's first goal came 20 seconds after Justin Courtnall was given the mandatory ejection and major penalty for elbowing Schmidt in the head.

"Like we told the guys, we had to flush that one out," Lucia said, referring to the collapse against North Dakota.

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.

"Any time it seemed like we had some momentum, it seemed like they got a goal and countered," Gaudet said.

North Dakota edges Western Michigan

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- North Dakota ended up with a familiar result even with a new look for Saturday's NCAA hockey regional semifinals.

Michael Parks, Corban Knight and Brock Nelson scored for North Dakota in Saturday's 3-1 win over Western Michigan to advance to Sunday's regional finals.

Aaron Dell made 25 saves for UND, which wore new jerseys for the first time with the North Dakota name spelled on the front due to an NCAA ban deeming the school's Fighting Sioux nickname to be "hostile and abusive."

The ban is in place for NCAA tournament play, but it's an issue the school and some supporters are still trying to fight with a state law, which goes to a referendum vote in June.

"It hasn't been an issue for our hockey team," coach Dave Hakstol said. "You've got to remember, we've dealt with it over, really, over two seasons. I don't mean to make light of it in any way, shape or form. And I'm certainly not doing that.

"But I think (team captain) Mario Lamoreaux said it best, 'We came here to try and win a hockey game.' That was our main focus and he wasn't just saying that. That was truly our main focus."

Parks scored his 12th goal of the season and Knight added his 16th to give the region's top seed a 2-0 lead, and Nelson scored his 28th with an empty-net tally with 25 seconds left as North Dakota (26-12-3) won its eighth straight game.

UND is 11-2 all time in NCAA regional games and has been to the Frozen Four in five of Hakstol's first seven seasons, the most of any school.

North Dakota will play Minnesota on Sunday for the right to advance to the Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla., on April 5-7.

Making its 10th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, UND is 14-2-1 in its past 17 games.

"We're on a roll right now, and I got a lot of help from my linemates on all those goals," said Parks, who's scored goals in three straight games dating to last weekend's tournament in the same arena.

Kyle O'Kane scored his seventh goal of the season for Western Michigan and freshman goaltender Frank Slubowski finished with 24 saves, but the Broncos fell to 0-6 in NCAA tournament games.

"It's the first time I have been through this in the dressing room," said Western Michigan coach Andy Murray, who finished his first season as coach after 10 seasons as a head coach in the NHL. "We have five seniors who won't wear the Broncos' jersey anymore, but the job they have done for this university is very commendable and they will always be Broncos."

Western Michigan advanced to the NCAA tournament for the second straight year for the first time in school history.