Vu All Over Again
St. Cloud-Minnesota epic reminiscent
of '91 NCAA title game
Cloud State 8,
Wheeler, C. Harrington
Fletcher, B. Hooton
Jensen, D. Carlisle
Gordon, J. Jensen
McElroy, B. Hooton
Kessel, C. Harrington
Irmen, C. Harrington
Kessel, C. Harrington
Stoa, R. Potulny
Irmen, P. Kessel
Raduns, D. Kronick
Bobby Goepfert, 69:14, 44 saves, 7 GA
Kellen Briggs, 25:54, 17 saves, 5 GA; Jeff Frazee, 42:12,
13 saves, 3 GA
SC 4/8; MN 3/6
Plays: SC 1-3; MN 2-4
PAUL, Minn. – About two minutes after Ryan Potulny’s
fourth goal of the night sent Minnesota and St. Cloud State
to overtime tied at 7-7, Alaska Anchorage coach Dave Shyiak
was seen in the arena pressbox sporting a huge grin.
“What does this remind you of?”
he asked rhetorically. “It’s 1991 all over again.”
Shyiak was a senior on the 1991 Northern Michigan
team, which won the NCAA title at the St. Paul Civic Center
(which was torn down in 1998 to make way for the Xcel Energy
Center). On that night, the Wildcats defeated Boston University
8-7 in three overtimes.
Nearly 15 years later on the same site, we
got a near-repeat of the 8-7 thriller.
Minnesota, outshot 16-8 in the opening period,
trailed 5-2 at one point in the second period. With barely
two minutes to play, the Gophers trailed by two goals. But
by outshooting the Huskies 20-7 in the third and by getting
Potulny open with 14.6 seconds to play, they forced overtime.
“When they went ahead by two goals at
the end of the game, I was so mad at our guys I didn’t
even want to pull the goalie,” said Gophers coach
Don Lucia. “I figured they got what they deserved.
Then they made it a one-goal game and I had to.”
In the extra session, the Huskies were outshot
6-2, but fourth-line wing Matt Hartman ended it and sent
the Huskies to the Final Five title game for the third time
in program history.
“That’s a WCHA game from the ‘70s,
I think,” joked Huskies coach Bob Motzko afterward.
He said after Potulny scored with 0.4 seconds left in the
second to make it 6-5 Huskies, he saw goalie Bobby Goepfert
off his game for the first time all year.
“Bobby was a little rattled after the
second period,” Motzko said, admitting Potulny was
in his head. “He was shaking almost. I’m not
a goalie guy, but I went and told him, ‘This is college
hockey.’ He said, ‘No matter what I do, it doesn’t
work,’ and I told him, ‘That’s Ryan Potulny.
He’s been doing it to other teams all year.’”
So now the Huskies get a chance to play for
their season one last time and become the first team to
win the Final Five after winning the play-in game. Tired,
sure. Worried? Nah, says their coach.
“This is going to be our sixth game
in nine days,” Motzko said. “Short rest and
turn around and we’ll go again. I think we’re
going to be fine.”
Dakota 4, Wisconsin 3
Klubertanz, A Burish
Dowell, R. MacMurchy
Radke, J. Toews
Watkins, C. Porter
Oshie, C. Porter
Pavelski, A. Burish
Jordan Parise, 60:00, 27 saves, 3 GA
Brian Elliott, 59:29, 27 saves, 4 GA
NDK 5/10; WIS 6/12
Plays: NDK 0-5; WIS 1-4
KAIP'S COMING-OUT PARTY
Talking to a reporter in the pressbox during
North Dakota’s 4-3 win over Wisconsin in the Final
Five semifinals, injured Sioux forward Drew Stafford joked
that while he’s out of the lineup, he’d left
the offensive leadership reins securely in the hands of
sophomore Rylan Kaip.
If that was the top secret plan, it worked
like a charm for North Dakota as Kaip, playing in his 60th
career game, scored his first two collegiate goals on Friday
afternoon to propel his team to the Final Five title game.
“I haven’t scored in quite a while,
so it felt good to get that monkey off my back,” said
Kaip, who played right wing on a line with Andrew Kozek
and Matt Watkins. “I think my last (goal) was back
when I was playing juniors in Saskatchewan, so it’s
been a while.”
Kaip played in 22 games as a rookie, recording
four assists an earning a letter. But his first year of
college hockey came to a premature end when post-concussion
syndrome forced him to be a spectator for the team’s
run to the national title game.
“His first year, he didn’t play
from December on,” said Sioux coach Dave Hakstol.
“That’s almost like missing a full season. But
the fact that he’s in the lineup speaks to the support
he’s gotten from his teammates.”
With the Sioux trailing 2-1 late in the first,
Kaip got open in front of the Badger net and ripped low
shot that found a tiny gap between the post and Brian Elliott’s
right skate blade to finally see the red light illuminate
after one of his shots. Kaip’s second period goal
off a feed from Chris Porter put the Sioux up 4-2 and was
“He’s brought a lot of energy
to this team and a lot of playmaking,” said Hakstol.
“His first one wasn’t exactly a highlight reel
goal, but that second one could’ve made some highlights.
That’s him. He brings a lot to this team whether he
scores or not.”
BAND ON THE RUN
The first fight song heard at the Xcel Energy
Center wasn’t for Minnesota Duluth or St. Cloud State.
While those teams warmed up on Thursday night, “Fight
Tech Fight” was heard coming from the upper deck.
While Michigan Tech hasn’t appeared at a Final Five
since 1996, the Husky Pep Band is in St. Paul this weekend
as special guests of the WCHA.
The invite stems from last year’s title
game in which Denver and Colorado College squared off in
a near-full arena that was strangely quiet as neither team
had a band in attendance. Anticipating at least one of those
teams would make it to St. Paul again this year, WCHA officials
offered to pay for 47 members of the Tech band to stand-in
for either the Tigers or Pioneers.
When both of those teams were upset in the
first round, league officials faced the possibility that
bands (six) would out-number teams (five) at the tournament.
But as it was spring break at Minnesota Duluth, the Bulldogs
didn’t bring a band to St. Paul, leaving the students
from Houghton to effectively stand in for another team with
a dog mascot.
“We weren’t technically the Bulldogs’
band for that game,” said band director Nick Enz.
“We tried to play our normal stuff and be a little
Enz noted that for many band members, it’s
strange and a little disappointing to play at a hockey game
that Tech isn’t involved in, but that all are having
fun and are hopeful to see their Huskies back in the Final
“The Tech band has such a terrific reputation
around the league,” gushed WCHA commissioner Bruce
McLeod. “I followed them around before a game working
the concourses and interacting with the fans.”
Even though fewer than 50 members of the band
had their expenses paid by the league, at least 15 more
paid their own way to come to St. Paul.
INCH's Three Stars of the Night
Rylan Kaip, North Dakota.
Apparently he vowed not to score a goal until there
were at least 15,000 on hand to see it. Playing before
the biggest crowd of his career, the Sioux sophomore
had the game of his career.
Bobby Goepfert, St. Cloud State.
Never has a goalie looked so good allowing
seven goals in a game. For a tired group of Huskies,
he and his 44 saves were literally the last line of
Ryan Potulny, Minnesota
Have four goals ever been scored in one game
with such a flair for the dramatic? Wow.
Minnesota State Mankato forward David
Backes had an interesting trip to the WCHA awards banquet,
where he was named a second-teamer. On Wednesday he flew
to St. Louis for a physical with officials from the Blues,
who hold his rights. While there, the team made an offer
he couldn’t, or at least didn’t, refuse and
he signed a contract. On Thursday he was back in WCHA country
to accept his award from the league before he reports to
the Blues’ AHL affiliate in Peoria.
“It was a tough decision and I
hated to leave those fans a year early,” he said.
“But I apologized to them and I’ll always be
Mavericks coach Troy Jutting, watching
Thursday night’s game from the Xcel Energy Center
pressbox, said he was saddened but not surprised by Backes’
early departure and thankful for his contributions to the
“I’m just glad I got to
coach him for three seasons,” Jutting said. “He
meant a lot to our team.”