NCAA men's hockey will have a first-time champion this year after Massachusetts and St. Cloud State earned tight victories Thursday in the Frozen Four semifinals at Pittsburgh.
Nolan Walker scored a go-ahead goal with 54 seconds remaining in the third period to lift St. Cloud State to a 5-4 win over Minnesota State to send the Huskies to their first NCAA hockey national title game.
In the nightcap, Bobby Trivigno sent a wraparound pass to Garrett Wait at 14:30 of overtime, and Wait tapped in the puck to give UMass a 3-2 win over two-time defending national champion Minnesota Duluth.
Minnesota Duluth beat Notre Dame for the 2018 title before topping UMass in the 2019 final. The Frozen Four wasn't held last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
St. Cloud State trailed by a goal with 10 minutes to go Thursday. Joe Molenaar scored his first career goal at the 10:14 mark of the final period to even the score at 4, and Walker redirected a shot from Seamus Donohue to cap the comeback.
Spencer Meier, Kyler Kupka, Will Hammer and Walker each had one goal and one assist for St. Cloud State. Nathan Smith scored twice for Minnesota State, which got a goal and an assist apiece from Walker Duehr and Dallas Gerads.
UMass got goals in regulation from Zac Jones and Anthony Del Gaizo. Tanner Laderoute and Cole Koepke responded for Minnesota Duluth.
The national final will be played Saturday night in Pittsburgh.
--Field Level Media