NCAA men’s hockey regional recap: Cornell upset highlights Thursday’s semifinal

Boston University, St. Cloud State, Cornell and the University of Minnesota qualified for their respective regional title matches after an exciting first day of action:

Terriers too strong for West Michigan

Boston University has now won eight in a row and has a shot at qualifying for the Frozen Four with a 5-1 win over the Western Michigan Broncos on Thursday.

The Terriers will now face Cornell University in the Manchester Regional on Saturday night.

Western Michigan managed to score first, but were sent off due to goalie interference. Hugh Larkin got the first shot on net but was stopped by Drew Commesso. Larkin continued, and around the fourth shot the goal was called back.

It saved the Terriers, who finally broke the deadlock at 3:24 p.m. with his mid-air wrist shot. The goal broke a 35-year-old U-19 defensive goalscoring record, with Hutson – now on 48 points – passing Brian Leetch for third all-time in a single season.

Lane’s older brother, Quinn Hutson, scored to make it 2-0 at 8:53, and Matt Brown followed a few changes later to make it 3-0.

Jason Polin, one of the best UFAs at the end of the NCAA season, finally put WMU on the board at 32:34. Good puck work from Ryan McAllister and Tim Washe allowed Polin to score his 30th of the season, breathing life into his team.

Unfortunately for WMU, not much more came of it. Wilmer Skoog scored a goal with just three minutes left in the second period, giving Boston a 4-1 advantage — a lead Western Michigan couldn’t do much about. Ethan Phillips’ empty net with minutes to play in the third helped seal the deal, giving BU a place in Saturday’s final.

St. Cloud rules out Minnesota State

In what many expected to be a tightly contested battle, the St. Cloud State Huskies managed to beat Minnesota State 4-0 in a convincing effort at Fargo.

St. Cloud will face the University of Minnesota after the top-ranked team managed to beat Canisius late in the game in North Dakota.

The opening period was scoreless, but Minnesota managed to take a 10-4 shot advantage in the first break. St. Cloud was lucky to get out of there without dropping a goal, and they would make the Mavericks pay in the second as a result. Just over 12 minutes into the second on the power play, Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Veeti Miettinen scored on a blistering shot to make it 1-0.

Then, with just 2:37 left in the frame, Jack Peart scored his third of the season with a quick wrist, beating Keenan Rancier for the goal 2-0.

Minnesota State kept the action alive, but a late third period goal from Zach Okabe made it 3-0 for St. Cloud. The Mavs pulled their goaltender in an attempt to generate something with about six minutes left, but Grant Cruikshank’s empty net with 3:16 remaining sealed the deal for SCS.

Cornell is upset with the defending champions

We ourselves have the first surprise of the national regional championships.

Cornell University went to the Manchester Regional final after beating Denver 2-0 on Thursday. They will face Boston University, which beat Western Michigan to kick off regional action earlier in the day.

It was a fantastic effort for the Big Red, who scored twice in the third period to take Denver’s life away. It started early when Jack O’Leary finished a game which saw Cornell maintain significant pressure, beating Magnus Chrona for the goal 1-0.

Less than 10 minutes later, Ben Berard managed to beat a tense Chrona, who lost track of the puck and found herself in dire straits. The teams traded five-minute major penalties in the second, but neither team generated a scoring chance. Denver went 15 minutes without a shot and only managed two late in the five-minute power play, but they couldn’t do anything to spark a comeback. Cornell managed to hold on, giving them a win after doing the Frozen Four.

Top-ranked Minnesota avoid loss to Canisius

With several leads in the contest, it looked like Canisius — ranked 42nd in the pairings — was going to create a major upset against the No. 1 University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.

That didn’t happen, however, as Minnesota came back from a 2-1 trail to win 9-2 in a game that was close for 40 minutes.

Minnesota will face St. Cloud State University on Saturday for a shot at qualifying for April’s Frozen Four.

Minnesota started well, with defenseman Luke Mittelstadt taking the pass from Mike Koster to make it 1-0 at 6:08. But two minutes later, Daniel DiGrande whistled past Justen Close for the equalizer on the power play, making it 1-1. That scoreline stayed that way until Nick Bowman got past two defenders to score at 23:23, shockingly putting Canisius in the lead.

The Griffins held the lead for five minutes, when Aaron Huglen’s wrist in the slot beat Jacob Barczewski and scored the equalizer. Connor Kurth then scored 10 minutes later to give Minnesota their first lead of the game.

A game foul by Stefano Bottini of Canisius for a contact to the head changed the course of the match. Jimmy Snuggerud scored in the first minute of the five-minute advantage, and Brody Lamb scored a minute later to make it 5-2.

Just before the halfway point of the third, Bryce Brodzinski looked like he scored on a shot that hit both posts. But after a review of the play, officials determined that the puck never crossed the line, and you could tell Brodzinski wasn’t happy.

On the next scoring chance, Logan Cooley got past two defenders before finding Brodzinski all alone, who then fired the puck for the 6-2 goal. Brodzinski scored two more to complete the hat-trick, while Mason Nevers scored his first goal as Minnesota completed the big 9-2 win.

Impact on the NHL

  • Keep an eye out for three of West Michigan’s top forwards: Jason Polin, Ryan McAllister And Max Sasson. Polin scored his 30th of the season, while McAllister fell just short of the 50-point mark as a rookie. Both are believed to have serious NHL attention, while sophomore Sasson has also turned heads with a huge campaign.
  • Jack Perbix (Anaheim) and Carter Berger (Florida) completed their senior seasons for WMU. Their two respective NHL teams will have until August 15 to decide whether or not to sign them. If they are not signed, they will both become free agents.
  • With Minnesota State now out, two of the UFA’s best defenders – Jake Livingstone And Akito Hirose – can now be signed. Both are thought to have received significant NHL attention, with Livingstone considered one of the best UFAs in the NCAA.
  • With by Magnus Chrona his four-year college career now over, it’s up to the San Jose Sharks to see if they’ll sign him to a deal. The 6-foot-6 guard was originally drafted by Tampa Bay in the fifth round in 2018 and posted a 73-34-5 record in 113 games with Denver. Kaapo Kahkonen is the only goaltender signed for 2023-24 in the San Jose system, with Eetu Makiniemi and Strauss Mann expected to become RFA.

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