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SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota men’s hockey program fell short in its efforts to close out its final Western Collegiate Hockey Association season with a conference playoff title on Friday night, falling 2-0 to Colorado College in WCHA Final Five semifinal action at Xcel Energy Center.
Minnesota (26-8-5 overall) outshot the Tigers 35-20 overall and held Colorado College to single-digit shots in all three periods of the league nightcap, but the Gophers couldn’t find a way through Colorado College’s Joe Howe. The Tigers’ netminder made 35 saves in the win and helped Colorado College weather a trio of Minnesota power plays including a five-minute major in the third period.
On the other end of the ice, the Tigers (18-18-5) took advantage of a fortuitous five-minute spell to start the second period and doom Minnesota. After the two teams battled to a scoreless tie over the game’s first 20 minutes, Colorado College opened the second stanza with Rylan Schwartz’s 19th goal of the year just 59 seconds into the period (Peter Stoykewych and Eamonn McDemortt earned assists on the goal). Charlie Taft made it a two-goal game at 4:24 of the second after being setup by Alexander Krushelnyski for the team’s second and final goal of the night.
Adam Wilcox suffered his first loss since March 1 on Friday night, making 18 saves to fall to 25-7-5 in his rookie campaign. Friday night marked just the second time this season that the Gophers have been shut out by an opponent. Minnesota is 7-0-0 this season following a loss.
The Gophers now await a likely at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. ESPNU will televise this year’s Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Selection Show on Sunday at 8 p.m. CT.