Minnesota State Advances to Frozen Four
Gophers Shut Out for First Time All Season
Eyes on Talented Gopher Youngsters who may Turn Pro
Loveland, CO – Sometimes you run into a buzzsaw.
With a chance to advance to the Frozen Four, the #1 seed Minnesota Gophers (24-7-0 Overall) were outclassed by the #2 seed Minnesota State Mavericks (22-4-1) in every facet of the game.
Mankato scored the first two goals of the game midway through the first period and never really looked back. Minnesota totaled 9 shots on goal through two periods, which was a testament to just how well the Mavericks were able to keep the Gophers off balance. Seemingly every Gopher shot was hitting a Mankato skate, stick, or body, and the Mavericks disrupted Minnesota’s typical high-flying offense throughout the game.
The Gophers did put on a push in the third, outshooting Mankato 13-6 in the final frame with the season on the line. It was Minnesota State that scored in the third, though, going up 3-0 halfway through the period and effectively putting the final nail in the coffin.
Mankato added an empty netter with 2:19 left in the third to close out the scoring at 4-0.
This was the first time all season that the Gophers were shut out, and the Maverick win means that no #1 seeds advanced out of their regions to the Frozen Four this season.
Three of Minnesota’s five D1 programs have advanced to the Frozen Four: Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State, and St. Cloud State. UMass is joining them as the fourth team in the Frozen Four.
As always at the end of the season, eyes turn towards which Gopher players will return and which will leave early. With COVID this season, no player will burn a year of eligibility, so any player leaving will technically be “leaving early”.
That said, it would be surprising if any of the “seniors” (Jack LaFontaine, Scott Reedy, Brannon McManus, Cullen Munson, Sam Rossini) returned for another year.
Another expected departure is junior forward Sampo Ranta, who led the team in goal scoring and was second in the nation behind Cole Caufield.
Other players to watch are on the Gophers’ talented defensive corps: sophomores Jackson LaCombe (2nd round pick) and Ryan Johnson (1st round pick), as well as freshmen Brock Faber (2nd round pick) and Mike Koster (5th round pick) are all highly touted. Although all four are expected back in the Maroon and Gold next season, it wouldn’t be shocking if one left for the NHL.
All Tourney Team
G McKay MSU
D Faber MN
D Livingstone MSU
F Furry MSU
F Sandelin MSU – MVP
F Borchardt MSU