Friday, April 05, 2002

Maine, Minnesota advance to hockey final

AP Sports Writer

Minnesota celebrates their 3-2 victory over Michigan during the Frozen Four semifinals at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
(AP photo)
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        ST. PAUL, Minn. — Grant Potulny scored two goals and Adam Hauser made 27 saves as Minnesota held off Michigan 3-2 on Thursday night in the Frozen Four semifinals.

        The Gophers (31-8-4), playing in their 17th Frozen Four, will face Maine on Saturday in the championship game. Maine beat New Hampshire 7-2 in the first semifinal.

        An NCAA hockey tournament-record crowd of 19,234 — most of them rooting for Minnesota — watched the Gophers advance to their first title game since 1989, also in St. Paul.

        Minnesota, seeking its first title since 1979, lost to Harvard in overtime in the 1989 final at the Civic Center.

        Gophers goalie Adam Hauser was 6 minutes away from the ninth career shutout when J.J. Swistak scored to pull the Wolverines to 3-1. Michigan goalie Josh Blackburn was pulled with 2 minutes left, and Jed Ortmeyer scored with 1:34 remaining to make it 3-2.

        Jeff Taffe scored his 34th goal and added an assist, and John Pohl had his nation-leading 50th assist for the Gophers, who beat the Wolverines for the first time in four postseason meetings.

        Blackburn made 23 saves for the Wolverines (28-11-5), who were making their second straight Frozen Four appearance.

        Hauser made 10 saves in the first period, and Potulny — a native of Grand Forks, N.D., who's the only non-Minnesotan on the roster — capitalized on a lucky bounce and gave the Gophers a 1-0 lead.

        Michigan defenseman Eric Werner tried to clear the puck from the corner, but it hit off Taffe's skate toward the Wolverines goal. Blackburn blocked it, but Potulny was parked outside the crease and put in the rebound.

        Potulny made it 2-0 early in the second period on a tip-in of Jordan Leopold's slap shot.

        Hauser stayed tough in the second, stonewalling Michigan's star forward Mike Cammalleri on a breakaway and making a diving glove save of Ortmeyer's shot on a power play.

        Michigan failed to score on an extended power play in the second period that included 47 seconds of a two-man advantage.

        Maine 7, New Hampshire 2

        ST. PAUL, Minn. — Motivated by the memory of its former coach, Maine made sure top-ranked New Hampshire wouldn't get a chance at its first NCAA hockey title.

        Peter Metcalf, Robert Liscak and Paul Falco scored two goals apiece Thursday to lead the Black Bears to a 7-2 victory over the Wildcats in the Frozen Four semifinals.

New Hampshire's Jim Abbott (15) struggles with Maine's Peter Metcalf (4) as Maine's goalie Mike Morrison keeps his eye on the puck.
(AP photo)
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        Maine outshot New Hampshire 40-25 and broke the game open with four goals in the third period before an NCAA hockey tournament-record crowd of 19,214 at Xcel Energy Center.

        In Saturday's championship game, Maine (26-10-7) will play either Michigan or Minnesota.

        The Black Bears dedicated this season to Shawn Walsh — their 17-year coach who died of cancer the day before practice began.

        Under interim coach Tim Whitehead, the Black Bears played with green shamrock-shaped patches bearing Walsh's initials on their left shoulders and hung a blue jersey behind the bench with Walsh's name on it.

        The Wildcats (30-7-3), competing in their fourth Frozen Four, had a 10-game winning streak stopped with their worst loss this season.

        Sean Collins and Steve Saviano scored for New Hampshire, playing Hockey East conference rival Maine for the fifth time this season, to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead after one period.

        New Hampshire needed only 21 seconds to score, when Maine's Martin Kariya lost control of the puck in his own zone and Collins corralled it and scored on goalie Mike Morrison, who got the start instead of Matt Yeats.

        Morrison, improving to 20-3-4, made 23 saves against the nation's highest-scoring team, at 4.5 goals per game.

        Metcalf scored on identical slap shots from behind the left circle 2:20 apart to give Maine a 3-2 lead halfway through the second period.

        Liscak and Lucas Lawson scored in the third period, and Falco scored both of his goals late.

        The Black Bears wiped out all four power plays for New Hampshire, which to Maine in overtime in the 1999 title game.

        New Hampshire's Darren Haydar, one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, had a 10-game point streak snapped.


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