North Dakota beats Minnesota 4-1 in clincher

Published 7:57 am Monday, March 15, 2010

Jason Gregoire’s goal late in the second period proved to be the game-winner as North Dakota beat Minnesota 4-1 in the clinching game of their Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff series.

The Fighting Sioux (22-12-5) won the best-of-three series two games to one Sunday to advance to the WCHA Final Five.

The loss by the Gophers ended their streak of 11 straight WCHA Final Five appearances.

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Gregoire had a goal and two assists.

“Put your stick on the ice and you’ll get lucky every now and then,” Gregoire said. Gregoire’s goal was a deflection of Danny Kristo’s shot.

Matt Frattin added an insurance goal, his fourth goal of the series, midway through the third period.

Frattin sat out the first semester while serving a suspension, but has played a key role in UND’s late-season surge.

“He made the right choices, and he’s worked his way back to where we hoped he’d be — maybe ahead,” North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol said.

Gregoire passed up an empty-netter in the closing seconds, instead feeding the puck to Brett Hextall for a goal.

North Dakota won the series opener 6-0 on Friday, but the Gophers evened things with their first playoff win in Grand Forks 4-2 on Saturday.

Ben Blood’s first career power-play goal at 4:59 of the first period gave North Dakota the lead.

Jake Hansen tied it on Minnesota’s first shot on goal. But North Dakota regained momentum by killing off a five-minute penalty on Frattin, who knocked out Minnesota’s Kevin Wehrs along the board in the second period, prompting a minor skirmish.

Brad Eidsness had 18 saves for UND and Alex Kangas made 25 for the Gophers (18-19-2).