WCHA Final Five: UMD loses to Denver, 4-3, in 2 OTsCOLLEGE MEN'S HOCKEY: Minnesota Duluth’s comeback this afternoon in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five semifinals fell just short as Denver scored at 8:14 of a second overtime to win 4-3 before a crowd of 12,804 at the Xcel Energy Center.
By: Kevin Pates, Duluth News Tribune
ST. PAUL — Minnesota Duluth’s comeback this afternoon in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five semifinals fell just short as Denver scored at 8:14 of a second overtime to win 4-3 before a crowd of 12,804 at the Xcel Energy Center.
No. 2-ranked UMD (24-9-6) trailed 3-0 but came back with two Mike Seidel goals and one by Jack Connolly to force sudden death in what turned out to be the longest game in Final Five history. Freshman winger Zac Larraza scored his first collegiate goal to give the No. 9 Pioneers (25-12-4) their second straight OT win in two days.
Denver goes on to meet Minnesota or North Dakota in Saturday’s 7:07 p.m. title game.
UMD will await Sunday’s 11 a.m. NCAA Selection Show to find an opponent and regional site for the Division I tournament. Denver likely earned an NCAA spot with today's win. The Final Five champions gains an automatic berth.
UMD led in final shots on goal 70-49 as Denver goalie Sam Brittain set a school single-game record with 67 saves. Kenny Reiter made 45 for UMD.
Denver raced to a 3-0 lead by early in the second period. Center Shawn Ostrow finished a 2-on-1 break from the left circle 8:01 into the game for the only goal of the first period.
The Pioneers then connected for goals 2:36 apart in the second. Jason Zucker scored from the crease at 3:26, his 22nd of the season, and senior Dustin Jackson’s second goal of the season was also at the crease at 6:02.
The second period then saw Seidel goals 2:48 apart. He slid a backhand attempt in from the left edge of the net with 9:03 left and then gained a Jack Connolly pass for a quick shot from the slot. The puck went to the high left corner with 6:15 to go in the period.
UMD had a 25-10 advantage in shots on goal, just in the second period, and 17-7 in the third. When defenseman Drew Olson was knocked off the puck in the offensive zone, Connolly, No. 2 in points in Division I, took control and scored from the slot. That came with 7:22 left in regulation.
The Bulldogs led 50-24 in shots through three periods. By the middle of the first period, Denver goalie Sam Brittain had reached a career single-game high in saves.
UMD had to kill off a penalty to start the first OT as defenseman Chris Casto defused Zucker on a breakaway in the last two seconds of the third period.