Gophers Advance to Final Faceoff, Huskies Eliminated by UMD
The Gopher men's hockey team closed out their season with a sweep of Ohio State, the Gopher women's hockey team took the win in game two to advance in the WCHA Tournament, and the Granite City Lumberjacks pulled off a close win to split the series with the Toros on Saturday, while the SCSU softball team, SJU baseball team, and Minnesota Twins all split their doubleheaders. The St. Cloud State men's hockey team fell to Omaha for the series split, and the SCSU women's hockey team got swept by Duluth in the WCHA quarterfinals. The St. John's and St. Ben's hockey teams both lost to Augsburg in the MIAC semifinals, the Gopher men's basketball team lost their 12th straight game, and the St. Cloud Norsemen got swept by the Bruins. On Sunday, the St. Cloud State women's basketball team will make their first appearance in the NSIC Tournament, the St. John's basketball team will try to earn themselves another MIAC title, the Gopher women's basketball team will wrap up their season at Williams Arena, and the Minnesota Timberwolves and Wild will try to find their way back to the win column.
- The no. 1 Gopher men's hockey team closed out the season with a 5-2 Saturday win and a weekend series sweep of no. 8/7 Ohio State. Minnesota fell behind 2-0 early in the second period but responded with five unanswered goals to earn an impressive win. Aaron Huglen, Matthew Knies, Logan Cooley, Bryce Brodzinski, and Ryan Johnson each netted one goal for Minnesota. Justen Close made 28 saves and allowed two goals. The Gophers improve to 25-8-1, 19-4-1 B1G and earn the first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament. They will host a semifinal matchup on March 11th.
- The no. 4 Gopher women's hockey team swept St. Thomas with a 6-2 win in game two of the WCHA First Round at home Saturday. The Gophers outshot the Tommies 57-24 in the win. Taylor Heise led all scorers with two goals for Minnesota. Skylar Vetter earned her 24th win of the season with a 22-save performance. The no. 2 seeded Gophers improve to 27-5-3 and will host no. 6 Wisconsin (seeded no. 3) in the WCHA Final Faceoff on Friday night. This is Minnesota's 22nd straight trip to the Final Faceoff. The other final four elimination game will feature no. 1 seed Ohio State host no. 4 seed UMD. Puck-drop is set for 5:00 p.m. at Ridder Arena.
- The Lumberjacks used a late rally to lift themselves over the Toros 3-2 on Saturday to earn the weekend split. Mason City scored the first goal late in the opening period. Granite City responded with one of their own to open the second period and tie things up. The Toros lit the lamp again before the end of the middle period to retake the lead, but the Lumberjacks found the back of the net twice in the final frame to secure the win. Matthew Delany led Granite City with two goals. Ryan Lehet made 28 saves and allowed two goals in the win. The Lumberjacks improve to 37-6-1-1 and close out their regular season next weekend with two road games. The first contest is set for Friday at 7:10 p.m. in Alexandria.
- The SCSU softball team split their doubleheader at the Washburn Invite in Topeka, Kansas on Saturday. St. Cloud beat Central Missouri 3-1 in game one. The Huskies took a 1-0 lead in the second inning and extended that lead to 2-0 with a home run from Jasmin Estrada in the fourth. One more run in the fifth gave SCSU a 3-0 advantage. On the mound, Trinity Junker threw five strikeouts and gave up three hits and one run.
In game two, the Huskies gave up a late run and fell 3-2 to Pittsburg State. Once again, St. Cloud pushed out to an early 2-0 lead, but Pitt State tied it up 2-2 in the bottom of the second inning and earned a walk-off run in the bottom of the seventh to win it. The Huskies are now 3-3 and will close out the invite with two more games on Sunday. The action begins with game one against Nebraska-Kearney at 9:30 a.m. followed by game two against Rockhurst at 1:30 p.m.
- The SJU baseball team split their season-opening doubleheader in Kansas against Luther College on Saturday. Game one was a slugfest that went to 10 innings, but saw St. John's come away with a 10-9 win. Owen Best led the Johnnies with five RBIs. Casey Trapp and Wyatt Rudolf combined for 16 strikeouts and gave up 18 hits and 10 runs. In game two, Luther shut out SJU 8-0. St. John's managed only three hits in 23 at-bats. The Johnnies are now 1-1 and will complete the series against the Norse with game three on Sunday. First-pitch is set for 11:00 a.m.
- The Twins opened Spring Training with a doubleheader split Saturday afternoon. Minnesota beat Tampa Bay 8-4 in game one. Willi Castro and Tyler White each had two RBIs for the Twins. Eight different pitchers took the mound for Minnesota, combining for eight strikeouts and eight hits. In game two, the Twins fell 10-5 to the Orioles. This time Mark Contreras led the team with two RBIs, and the seven pitchers on the mound combined for 7 strikeouts and 13 hits. The Twins are now 1-1 in Spring Training and will face the Phillies (1-1) at 12:05 p.m. Sunday.
- The no. 6 SCSU men's hockey team fell 6-2 to no. 14/15 Omaha to earn the split in their final road series of the season. The Huskies fell behind 2-0 early and were unable to recover. Grant Cruikshank and Zach Okabe each scored once for St. Cloud in the loss. Dominic Basse made five saves and allowed two goals in the first nine minutes of the opening period. Jaxon Castor made 30 saves and allowed three goals in the remainder of the game. The Huskies fall to 19-10-3, 11-8-3 NCHC, and will return home to host UMD at 7:30 p.m. Friday in game one of their final regular season series.
- The no. 12 SCSU women's hockey team was eliminated from the WCHA Tournament with a 5-1 loss to the no. 7 Bulldogs on Saturday. UMD scored the first goal late in the first. The Bulldogs extended their lead to 4-0 with a strong second-period performance. Taylor Lind scored the lone goal for St. Cloud in the final period to avoid the shutout. Sanni Ahola made 24 saves and allowed two goals, while JoJo Chobak made 19 saves and allowed two goals. The Huskies finish the season 18-18-1 overall.
- The no. 3 seed SJU hockey team was eliminated from the MIAC Tournament with a 3-1 loss to no. 2 Augsburg in Minneapolis on Saturday. Neither team scored in the opening period, but the Auggies found some momentum in the second, taking a 2-0 lead. The Johnnies started the third with their first goal to close the gap to 2-1, but Augsburg knocked one more in late to lock up the win. Max Borst scored the lone goal for St. John's in his first game back following an injury. SJU outshot Augsburg 35-26 in the loss. The Johnnies finish the season 13-10-3 overall, while the Auggies advance to the championship where they will face either St. Scholastica or St. Olaf.
- The no. 3 seeded CSB hockey team fell 5-2 to no. 2 Augsburg in the semifinal round of the MIAC Tournament on Saturday. St. Ben's came out on the ice hot, pushing out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, but then gave up five unanswered goals to Augsburg in the remainder of the game. Sami Hackley and Jenna Timm each scored one goal for CSB. Ally Frantzick made 42 saves and allowed five goals. The Bennies finish their record-setting season 14-12 overall behind first-year Head Coach Lindsay Macy. The Auggies improve to 18-6-2 and will face either Gustavus or Hamline in the championship.
- The slump continued for the Gopher men's basketball team who earned their 12th straight loss with a 78-67 decision in Nebraska on Saturday. The Huskers outscored the Gophers in both halves, holding off a late rally by Minnesota. Ta'Lon Cooper and Jamison Battle led the Gophers with 12 points each. Dawson Garcia added 11 points and a team-high 14 rebounds. The Gophers fall to 7-20, 1-16 B1G. The team will return home Thursday for their second to last game of the season when they host Rutgers (17-11, 9-8 B1G). Pre-game coverage starts at 5:30 p.m. on AM 1240 and 95.3 FM WJON.
- The Norsemen dropped another heartbreaker 4-3 in OT to Austin on Saturday. St. Cloud scored the only goal of the opening period, fell behind in the second, but rallied to tie it up 2-2. The Bruins slid one more into the net in the final seconds of the middle period, but the Norsemen tied the score once again in the third to send it to extra time. Just over two minutes into the extra period, the Bruins lit the lamp to earn the win. Blake Perbix, Jack Wandmacher, and Severi Sulonen each scored once for St. Cloud. The Norsemen fall to 22-18-3-3 and the Bruins improve to 29-11-3-4. St. Cloud will travel to Mason City to face the Bulls in game one of a three-game series on Friday. Puck-drop is set for 7:10 p.m.
- The SCSU women's basketball team (17-9, 14-8 NSIC) is set to take on Southwest Minnesota State (18-10, 14-8 NSIC) in the Quarterfinal Round of the NSIC Tournament Sunday afternoon. As the no. 2 seed in the North Division, St. Cloud earned a first-round bye, while the South Division's no. 3 seeded Mustangs beat Crookston 83-66 on Tuesday to advance out of the First Round. The teams met once in the regular season with the Huskies notching a 70-59 overtime win. The matchup was just one of two that extended beyond regulation for the Huskies this year. Tip-off is set for 1:30 p.m. in Sioux Falls.
- The no. 2 SJU basketball team (17-9, 13-7 MIAC) will face no. 1 Carleton (23-3, 17-3 MIAC) in the conference championship for their chance to earn a trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament. This marks the fourth straight title game for the Johnnies and the fifth one in the last six seasons. St. John's beat no. 5 St. Olaf 67-56 in the semifinals, while Carleton topped no. 6 Hamline 68-51. The Knights swept the regular season series 2-0 with wins in January and February. Both games were decided by a margin of fewer than 8 points. Tip-off for the finale is set for 2:00 p.m. in Northfield.
- The Gopher women's basketball team (10-18, 3-14 B1G) will end their season with a home matchup against Purdue (18-8, 9-7 B1G) on Sunday. The Boilermakers beat the Gophers 75-56 in Indiana back in January. Minnesota will also host Senior Day and Alumni Day as part of their final game. Tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m.
- The Timberwolves (31-31) will look to snap a two-game losing streak when they take on the Warriors (30-30) on the road Sunday. This will be the second matchup between the teams this season with Golden State beating Minnesota 137-114 back in November. Pre-game coverage tips off at 6:00 p.m. on AM 1240 and 95.3 FM WJON.
- The Wild (32-21-6) will look to rally after a close OT loss to Toronto when they host Columbus (18-35-5) on Sunday afternoon. Minnesota blanked the Blue Jackets 2-0 on Thursday on the road. Pre-game coverage starts at 12:45 p.m. on AM 1390 and 93.9 FM Granite City Sports.