Loveland, Colo. --- #5 Minnesota State took down #2 Minnesota with a 4-0 victory in claiming the NCAA Division I West Regional Championship Sunday in Loveland, Colo.
The Mavericks, which jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead, used a stifling defense and great goaltending from Dryden McKay in picking up the win.
Sam Morton, stymied on a wraparound attempt, picked up his rebound and beat Jack Lafontaine on the glove side at 10:23 for his fifth goal of the year to open the scoring. Then, two minutes later, Ryan Sandelin put the puck into the net, deflecting a shot from Jack McNeely for his seventh goal of the season and including his overtime game-winner in last night's victory over Quinnipiac, his second of the weekend. The Maverick outshot the Gophers 14-5 and entered the locker room at the end of 20 minutes owning a 2-0 lead.
After a scoreless second period in which the Mavericks outshot the Gophers by a 7-4 margin, Minnesota State improved its lead to 3-0 at 9:50 of the third period when Nathan Smith one-timed a blast from the right circle past Lafontaine for his seventh goal of the year. Senior winger Dallas Gerads tallied an empty-net marker at 17:41 to close out scoring in the game.
Minnesota State, which went zero-for-three in power play chances in the game, owned a 27-22 advantage in shots on goal.
Junior netminder Dryden McKay, a finalist for this year's Hobey Baker Award and the Mike Richter Award, stopped all 22 shots in the game in tying his school record for shutouts in a season with 10. McKay, who ranks second on the NCAA career shutouts list with 24, stands 21-3-0 for the year with the win tonight.
The Mavericks, who improved to 22-4-1 on the year with the win, now advance to 2021 NCAA Frozen Four, which is scheduled for April 8 and 10th. Minnesota State will face St. Cloud State in one semi-final and Minnesota-Duluth vs. UMass in the other semi-final. This will be Minnesota State's first appearance at the Frozen Four.