Union makes Frozen Four for first time
Daniel Ciampini, Kyle Bodie, Jeremy Welsh and Josh Jooris scored for the Dutchmen (26-7-7), who made their first appearance in the tournament last year. Union will face Midwest Regional champion Ferris State, a 2-1 winner against Cornell, in the national semifinals on April 5 in Tampa, Fla.
Troy Grosenick, a Hobey Baker Award finalist, made 19 saves for Union, the ECACHL champion, which outshot Lowell 39-21. Doug Carr made 35 saves, and Matt Ferreira and Terrence Wallin scored for the River Hawks.
Lowell (24-13-1), the regular-season runner-up in Hockey East, cut Union's lead to 3-2 at 5:40 of the third period when Welsh lost the puck going behind the net, and it slipped to the front, where Ferreira fired it past Grosenick. But Grosenick made a big save on a rebound try by Ferreira with 4:49 remaining to preserve the lead, then stood up to another Lowell scramble with about three minutes to go. Bodie iced the win by hitting the empty net with 40.6 seconds remaining.
An ECAC team had not made the Frozen Four since Cornell lost in the semifinals in 2003. Lowell was also seeking its first Frozen Four berth. The River Hawks made their fourth NCAA tournament appearance and first since 1996.
Ferris State 2, Cornell 1
Ferris State, the lone remaining CCHA team in the tournament, made the Frozen Four for the first time in school history by beating Cornell in the Midwest final in Green Bay.
After two scoreless periods, Garrett Thompson gave Ferris State a 1-0 lead by poking in a loose puck for a power-play goal 11 seconds into the third. Dustin Mowrey tied it for Cornell just 1:21 later, splitting two defenders before beating Taylor Nelson with a backhander.
Just seconds later, Cornell received a golden opportunity when Ferris State's TJ Schlueter was given a five-minute major for checking from behind. But the Bulldogs not only killed the penalty, they scored the game-winner 12 seconds after it expired. On a 2-on-1 break, Jordie Johnston took a pass from Andy Huff and beat Andy Iles over the right shoulder at 6:54 for a 2-1 lead.
Nelson made 22 saves for Ferris State (25-11-5), the CCHA regular-season champion. Eleven of those saves came in the third period, including a game-saver on Sean Collins with just over a minute to go.
Iles stopped 19 shots for Cornell (19-9-7), which was trying to join Union and give the ECACHL two teams in the Frozen Four.
North Dakota 3, Western Michigan 1
Minnesota 7, Boston University 3
Top-seeded North Dakota got 24 saves by Aaron Dell to advance to the regional final and another date with WCHA rival Minnesota in St. Paul. UND beat Minnesota last Friday in the conference tournament semifinals, then beat Denver in the final.
North Dakota got off to a fast start when Michael Parks' attempt at a wraparound deflected into the net off the pads of Broncos goalie Frank Slubowski just 6:04 into the game.
Corbin Knight made it 2-0 at 3:16 of the second period, scoring a goal in his third consecutive game at the Xcel Energy Center -- he connected in North Dakota's victories against Minnesota and Denver last weekend.
Kyle O'Kane made it a 2-1 game by beating Dell at 12:57 of the second, and the Broncos (21-14-6) thought they had tied it late in the period when Ian Slater put the puck in the net -- but the referees waved off the goal, ruling that the net had been knocked off its moorings an instant before the puck crossed the goal line.
"That was a big turning point in the game," O'Kane said.
Western Michigan, the CCHA tournament champs, managed only five shots in the third period before UND's Brock Nelson -- an Islanders' first-round pick in 2010 -- iced the win by hitting the empty net with 25 seconds remaining.
In the second game, Jake Hansen scored two goals and Nate Schmidt had two assists as the Golden Gophers won an NCAA tournament game for the first time in five years.
Kyle Rau, Jake Parenteau, Seth Helgeson, Nico Sacchetti and Nick Bjugstad also scored and Kent Patterson made 31 saves for Minnesota (27-13-1).
Wade Megan, Ross Gaudet and Adam Clendenning scored and Alex Chiasson had two assists for the Terriers (23-15-1), the third-place finisher in Hockey East. BU, which lost two top players to discipliary reasons and another to junior hockey after the first semester, was making its first NCAA tournament appearance since winning the national championship in 2009.
Boston College 2, Air Force 0
Minnesota-Duluth 5, Maine 2
Boston College, the top seed in this year's tournament, advanced to the finals of the East Regional in Worcester, Mass., by shutting out a stubborn Air Force team.
The Eagles, champions of Hockey East, got two goals by Rangers prospect Chris Kreider and a 20-save performance by Parker Milner to move into Sunday's regional final against defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth, which beat Maine.
Kreider opened the scoring 7:39 into the game, but the Falcons (21-11-7), champions of the Atlantic Hockey Association and the lowest seed in the tournament, shut down the Eagles until Kreider's power-play goal off a scramble with 1:21 remaining in regulation.
Air Force goaltender Jason Torf kept the Falcons in the game with 32 saves.
In the second game, Maine led 2-0 midway through the game on goals by Spencer Abbott and Matt Mangene before Minnesota-Duluth ran off five unanswered goals. Jack Connolly's power-play goal at 10:47 got the Bulldogs (25-9-6) on the board, and they took the lead when Caleb Herbert and Jake Hendrickson scored in a 60-second span late in the period.
Herbert, on a break inside the offensive zone, fired a shot that went over the net, off the glass and rebounded back over the net and into the crease, where it appeared to hit the leg of sophomore goalie Dan Sullivan and go into the net with 3:32 remaining. Hendrickson tucked in the rebound of Brady Lamb's shot for the lead.
J.T. Brown added an insurance goal midway through the third period, beating Sullivan with a backhander, before Hendrickson hit the empty net.
Kenny Reiter made 25 saves for UMD. Sullivan stopped 21 shots for Maine, the runner-up in the Hockey East tournament, which finished 23-14-3.