Playing in its first NCAA Frozen Four game since 2005, the Minnesota men's hockey team was eliminated from the tournament with a 6-1 loss to No. 1 overall seed Boston College at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla. The Eagles, who have handed the Gophers their last two NCAA Tournament losses, were led by a 30-save performance by junior goaltender Parker Milner.
After each team recorded one shot in the game's first six minutes, Boston College took the lead when Barry Almeida found Steven Whitney with a centering pass in front of the Gopher net at 6:03.
The Gophers picked up play following the goal and outshot BC 9-3 to end the period, but Milner shut the door on several quality scoring opportunities.
The intensity from Minnesota continue at the outset of the middle frame, but Boston College received its first power play of the game and wasted little time to add to its lead. Eight seconds after Nate Schmidt was called for hooking, Whitney fed Kevin Hayes in the left circle and Hayes beat Minnesota netminder Kent Patterson up high.
Minnesota attempted to seize momentum back and controlled play a majority of the period, outshooting the Eagles 11-10, but Boston College took control heading into the third period with goals by Chris Kreider and Paul Carey.
Senior assistant captain Jake Hansen gave the Gophers life at the beginning of the third period by notching his 16th goal of the season to make it 4-1. The goal also ended a 213:49 shutout streak that dated back to the Hockey East Championship game on March 17 for Milner.
Following a lengthy review, Boston College answered Hansen's tally 22 seconds later on a one-time goal from the slot by Carey.
Top-ten Hobey Baker finalist Brian Dumoulin capped the scoring at 6-1 at the 5:51 mark when his shot from the point hit the stick of a Gopher defender and went past Patterson.
The loss dropped Minnesota to 52-34 in the NCAA Tournament all-time with a 19-17 record at the Frozen Four. Thursday's game was the furthest south the team has ever played and was the team's first game outside of Minnesota since Feb. 25.
The Gophers finished the season with a 28-14-1 record and won their third MacNaughton Cup in seven years as the WCHA regular season champions, going 20-8-0 in league play. The team also went the entire season without being shutout for the first time since 2002-03. Patterson finished the year with a single-season school-record seven shutouts.
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The Maroon & Gold enter this weekend’s series with a 110-45-15 all-time record against Michigan State including a 45-27-8 mark on the road against the Spartans.
Sheehy Tabbed B1G Second Star
The sophomore leads the Gophers with 20 points and nine goals this year while his 11 assists are tied for the team lead.
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A native of Excelsior, Minn., Lettieri ranks second on the Gophers with 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 14 games this season.