The University of North Dakota is heading to the Frozen Four for the third time in five years and seventh time since Dave Hakstol took over.
Defense continued to guide UND in the NCAA Tournament West Regional. Junior goaltender Zane McIntyre allowed just a single goal for the second consecutive night. Top seed North Dakota came back from an early deficit Saturday night to defeat NCHC foe St. Cloud State 4-1 in Fargo, ND.
With the win North Dakota will face Boston University in a Frozen Four semifinal. The Terriers defeated Minnesota Duluth 3-2 earlier Saturday to win the Northeast Regional.
Third seed St. Cloud State, who a week earlier defeated North Dakota in the NCHC Tournament, needed all of 89 seconds to send an opening shot across UND's bow. Jimmy Murray scored his 5th goal of the season, giving the Huskies a lead in a game for the first time in the NCAA Tournament.
Giving up the first five shots on goal, North Dakota fought back. Both teams slowly chipped away at one another after St. Cloud State drew first blood in the sixth game of the year between the two squads. Chances were earned rather than given. McIntyre and Huskies sophomore goaltender Charlie Lindgren matched one another save for save.
The action on the ice culminated with UND senior defenseman Andrew Panzarella, playing for the first time since January 24th, getting his first goal of the season. Panzarella unleashed a wrist shot that bounced and found its way past Lindgren to tie the game at one 8:59 into the first period..
Drake Caggiula gave UND the lead for good with 13:11 remaining in the second period when his shot went into the net just before teammate Michael Parks could finish the job.
North Dakota nearly made it 3-1 in the closing seconds of the period, but Lindgren, who made 22 saves stopped Stephane Pattyn with a big save to keep it a one goal game. It wasn't to be, though. A Luke Johnson shot from the corner of the rink in the third period went high off the crossbar, bounced on Lindgren and slowly trickled over the red line before the St. Cloud State goaltender could get to it.
Colten St. Clair picked up an empty net goal in the closing seconds.
Once again, North Dakota's goaltender and defensemen stepped up in single-eliminationplay. McIntyre stopped 19 shots Saturday. He didn't face many shots in the late first and second period, but when he did the junior was tested. His biggest - a huge point blank save on St. Cloud State captain Nick Oliver with 9:01 remaining in the second period - forced McIntyre to quickly get in front of and smother a rebound.
St. Cloud State's NCAA Tournament run ends in the West Regional final for the second consecutive season.
The 2015 Frozen Four will be played at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts with the semifinals on Thursday April 9th and championship game two days later on April 11th.