Tampa Bound! Observations from Minnesota's 5-2 Win Over North Dakota

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Tampa Bound!
For the 20th time in program history, Minnesota has reached the NCAA Frozen Four. The Gophers will face either Boston College or Minnesota-Duluth in Tampa Bay, Fla. on April 5 for a spot in the national championship game on April 7. Minnesota will be seeking its sixth NCAA title and first since 2003. The Gophers will make their first Frozen Four appearance since 2005.

Unlikely Sources
In two games at the West Regional this weekend, Minnesota scored 12 goals, but it wasn't just the usual suspects getting on the scoreboard. Five of the Gophers' goals were scored by players who entered the weekend with four goals or less on the season. On Friday Jake Parenteau scored his second of the season, Seth Helgeson notched his fifth, and Nico Sacchetti tallied his fourth. On Saturday, Ben Marshall posted his fourth goal of the year, while Travis Boyd scored his first collegiate goal.

Also of note, Taylor Matson ended a 17-game goal-scoring drought with his eighth goal of the season and linemate Nate Condon ended an 11-game goalless streak with his 11th goal of the season.

Not This Time
On Friday, Minnesota won its first NCAA Tournament game since Mar. 24, 2007 when it defeated Air Force 4-3. That year, the Gophers lost to North Dakota 3-2 in overtime in the regional final. This year, the Gophers earned a 5-2 win in the regional final to reach the Frozen Four and avenged a 6-3 loss to North Dakota in the WCHA Final Five.

Minnesota also won the season series against UND 4-2-0 with the win. The Gophers have the same record in regional championship games under Don Lucia.

Classic Field
Three of the four teams from the 2010-11 Mariucci Classic have advanced to this year's Frozen Four. Minnesota, Union, and Ferris State all competed in the two-day tournament, which was won by Bemidji State. Playing without then-freshmen Nick Bjugstad and Erik Haula, who were competing at the World Junior Championships, the Gophers lost to Union 3-2 in overtime in their first game and tied Ferris State 2-2 the next night.

Hot Streaks
With an assist on Saturday, Kyle Rau continued his postseason tear. He now has nine points, including two goals, in his last four games. Erik Haula, who scored the game's second goal, now has 20 points, half of them goals, in his last 15 games. Haula, who was only held off the board in two games during that span, leads the team with 48 points and is the Gophers' highest-scoring player since 2005-06 when Ryan Potulny had 63 points.

Defenseman Nate Schmidt has one goal and 14 assists in his last 14 games and is on a six-game point streak. He now has 41 points on the year and his 38 assists this season are sixth all-time by a Gopher defenseman in a single season.

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