Minnesota vs. St. Cloud State prediction and game preview - March 25, 2023 | NCAA Hockey

2022 NCAA Division I Men
Bryce Brodzinski #22 of the Minnesota Gophers skates against the Minnesota State Mavericks during the second period of the Frozen Four semifinal at TD Garden on April 07, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The NCAA Hockey Tournament is heating up, and this evening, one of two teams will try to make their claim for a spot in the NCAA Frozen Four. The Minnesota Golden Gophers and the St. Cloud State Huskies will face off for the Fargo Regional Final with the winner heading to Tampa, Florida, for a spot in the NCAA Frozen Four.

Minnesota and St. Cloud State to show down in NCAA Fargo Regional Final.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers have been the real deal in the NCAA this season. They proved that by utterly dismantling Canisius in the regional semifinals of 9-2. The most impressive thing about the win was the fact that the Golden Gophers were only up by one at the beginning of the third period and scored six straight unanswered goals to put the nail in the coffin.

The Golden Gophers got scoring from all over their roster in the win. Bryce Brodzinski, the Philadelphia Flyers' seventh-round selection in 2019, scored a hat trick in the third period alone. The Gophers also got goals from Luke Middlestadt, Sabres 2019 fourth-round pick Aaron Huglen, 2022 Lightning sixth-rounder Connor Kurth, 2022 Blues first-round pick Jimmy Snuggerud, 2021 Rangers fourth-rounder Brody Lamb, and Mason Nevers.

Gopher goalie Justen Close only had to face 18 shots in the win and gave up two early on. Close was fantastic for the Gophers down the stretch, though, and made big save after save in the third period as the Gophers piled on in the offensive end.

The St. Cloud State Huskies road proved to be a little more difficult as they drew fellow western Minnesota rival, Minnesota State-Mankato. The Mavericks posed little challenge to the Huskies as SCSU walked away with a 4-0 victory, with three of the goals coming in a 20-minute stretch in the second and third period.

Veeti Miettinen, the Toronto Maple Leafs 2020 sixth-round selection, kicked off scoring for the Huskies followed up by Minnesota Wild defensive prospect Jack Peart. In the third, Zach Okabe buried one to seal the game before Grant Cruikshank put the puck in the empty net.

The standout story from the regional matchup was Huskies goalie Jaxon Castor, who stopped all 34 shots by the Mavericks en route to a round one shutout. The senior from Arizona will be looking to make his presence felt again against the Golden Gophers.

Prediction: Minnesota might be the most talented team in the entire tournament. The Huskies have a solid defense and a solid goaltender, but this is the Gophers’ game to lose. Minnesota wins 5-1 to head to the NCAA Frozen Four.

Edited by Windy Goodloe
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