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Minnesota senior forward Nate Condon leaps into the glass after scoring in the Gophers’ 7-3 win over Robert Morris in a West Regional semifinal of the NCAA Tournament Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Forum News Service

Gophers thrash SCSU to reach men’s Frozen Four

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Gophers thrash SCSU to reach men’s Frozen Four
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

By Andy Greder

St. Paul Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL — For the 21st time since 1953, the Gophers hockey team is headed to the Frozen Four after a 4-0 win over St. Cloud State in the NCAA West Regional final Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center.

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In a quest for their sixth national title, the Gophers (27-6-6) will face North Dakota in a national semifinal April 10 in Philadelphia. Union and Boston College will play in the other semifinal.

Sunday, the top-seeded Gophers renewed their rivalry with the Huskies for the 94th time and first time in the NCAA tournament. Just like the 53-28-12 record as mostly WCHA foes, the Gophers came out on top.

And the tradition continues.

Two goals from freshman center Justin Kloos and 24 saves from sophomore goalie Adam Wilcox gave coach Don Lucia his 650th career win, 10th most all time.

And the tradition continues.

Three of the Gophers’ goals Sunday came off rebounds, but the third at the midpoint of the game came as a result of crisp passing by Nate Condon and Taylor Cammarata to set up Kloos’ second goal at 9:53.

That proved to be a backbreaker for the Huskies (22-11-5), who were attempting to reach the Frozen Four in consecutive seasons.

St. Cloud State outshot the Gophers 11-10 in the period, but gave up two goals.

The third-seeded Huskies (22-10-5), who ranked third in the nation with 3.68 goals per game, were blanked for only the second time this season.

After Saturday’s win over Robert Morris, Lucia said the regional championship would come down to which team defended better.

That was the Gophers.

The Huskies’ starting goalie, Ryan Faragher, gave up three goals on 15 shots and was replaced by freshman Charlie Lindgren at 14:40 of the second period.

Faragher, who tied a season high with 39 saves Saturday against Notre Dame, has been battling flu symptoms all weekend.

In the first period, Gopher freshman center Justin Kloos wrapped around the net and caught Faragher out of position for a 1-0 lead at 11:09.

Faragher came out of the net to defend Nate Condon, who shot wide. Kloos controlled it and went over to the left side, and Faragher dove back too late.

When they score first, the Gophers are unbeaten in 21 games (16-0-5).

And the tradition continues.

In the second period, Seth Ambroz netted a rebound at 3:48 to give the Gophers a 2-0 lead.

The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.

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