Boston University falls to top-seeded Minnesota in Frozen Four


Minnesota and Boston University entered Thursday's Frozen Four matchup with five national championships each, tied for fifth most all-time. 

It's the Golden Gophers who will get a chance to break that tie. 

Their quest for a sixth national title continues after top-seeded Minnesota defeated No. 5 Boston University 6-2 in the Frozen Four at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.

Luke Mittelstadt scored two third-period goals to send a Gophers team seeking its first title since 2003 to Saturday's championship game at 8 p.m. on ESPN2. They'll play the winner of fellow No. 1 seeds Michigan (26-11-3), which is tied with Denver for most national championships with nine, and Quinnipiac (32-4-3), which is looking for the first title in program history.

Minnesota came out aggressive with its high-powered offense as Boston goalie Drew Commesso survived the early flurry, making a series of saves one minute in to keep the game scoreless. The Gophers had five scoring chances in the opening two minutes, including a deflected shot by Jimmy Snuggerud that hit the post and bounced around the crease before being cleared.

Despite being outshot in the early going, Boston was first to find the back of the net. 
Sam Stevens knocked in a rebound off a shot from the point by Domenick Fensore midway through the first period to give Boston a 1-0 lead. 

It seemed to be a good omen for the Terriers, who entered 21-0-0 when scoring the opening goal this season. 

But Minnesota evened the score when Mike Koster netted a power play goal on a wrist shot with 4:51 left in the period.

The Gophers struck again just 50 seconds later on the power play when Aaron Huglen sent a beautiful no-look pass in front of the net to Rhett Pitlick, who scored to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead.  

The Gophers appeared to add another goal late in the period when Logan Cooley knocked in a loose puck in front of the net with 44.5 seconds left in the first but the goal was overturned after a coaches' challenge due to goaltender interference.

Boston pulled even when Jay O'Brien's shot from straightaway was deflected in for a power play goal that tied the score at 2-2 just over eight minutes into the second period.

Minnesota nearly regained the lead on two instances late in the second that went to review. A shot by Matthew Knies struck the crossbar and was ruled no goal with two minutes remaining in the second. Commesso then used his glove to stop the puck from trickling over the goal line with 43.7 seconds left. Replay did not appear to show conclusive evidence that it fully crossed as it was ruled no goal and the two went into the second intermission tied at 2-2.

It took Minnesota just 1:40 into the third to take the lead as Mittelstadt scored a power play goal on a wrister for a 3-2 advantage. 

The freshman defenseman then netted another goal just 2:29 later on a shot from the point to increase the lead to 4-2.

Cooley added a pair of empty net goals in the closing minutes to seal it, sending the Golden Gophers to their first title game since 2014. 

Minnesota (29-9-1) is now one victory away from a sixth national championship. 

Boston University, which was seeking its first title since 2012, finishes the season at 29-11-0.

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