And Western goes 0 for 8. Love it.Midwest Regional – Allentown
#1 – Minnesota State v. #4 – Western Michigan
The Minnesota State Mavericks squared off against the Western Michigan Broncos in the opening tilt of the Midwest Regional Semifinals today in Allentown. The Mavericks’ Marc Michaelis got the top seed on the board early, thanks to a beautiful wrister from the slot that beat WMU’s Brandon Bussi five-hole to give Mankato a 1-0 lead. Minnesota State built on their advantage midway through the opening frame, after Mattias Samuelsson was called for interference. With the man advantage, the Mavericks spun the puck around the offensive zone, eventually finding Charlie Gerard at the bottom of the near circle, who roofed a wrister over Bussi’s outstretched blocker. At the other end of the ice, MSU goaltender Dryden McKay held the Broncos off the scoreboard in the first twenty, and through one period, Minnesota State had a 2-0 advantage. Western Michigan would finally crack McKay’s spell early in the second when Ronnie Attard found Austin Reuschhoff in the neutral zone. Reuschhoff split the defenders and ripped a wrister from the slot that beat McKay glove-side to pull the Broncos within a goal. Minnesota State would respond quickly however, as just moments later Parker Tuomie gathered a puck along the near boards, skated to the near circle, and wristed a shot that beat Bussi stick-side clean, putting the Mavericks back up by two. Midway through the second, the Broncos reared back into the game, after Nathan Smith was called for cross-checking. On the powerplay, McKay stopped Cam Lee’s slapper from the top of the far circle, but the rebound went straight to Paul Washe, who flicked a backhand into the back of the net and pulled WMU back within a goal. After forty minutes of action, that is where the score remained, Minnesota State holding a precarious 3-2 lead. The Broncos would finally pull even early in the third when Rhett Kingston’s wrist shot from the top of the slit deflected off a Mankato defenseman, and fooled McKay, who watched the puck drift past his glove and into the back of the net. Tied 3-3, both sides pushed for the lead. Just aver the midway point of the period, Michaelis put his team on his back, poking a loose puck near the benches past the Broncos’ blueliner, and skated in on a partial breakaway. Michaelis’ moved to the slot and flipped a wrister on Bussi, who pushed it aside, but the rebound went right back to Michaelis’ stick at the top of the crease, and he jammed the rebound under Bussi’s pads to put Minnesota State back on top 4-3. As the clock wound down, Western Michigan pushed for the equalize. Unfortunately for the WMU faithful, it would be Reggie Lutz padding Minnesota State’s lead with just over two minutes to play, catching the Broncos trying to pinch in and going in all alone on a breakaway and putting a wrister top shelf to give Minnesota State a 5-3 advantage. That would be all the Mavericks would need, and when the final horn sounded, Minnesota State captured the program’s first ever NCAA Tournament victory, 5-3 over Western Michigan, and advanced to the Midwest Regional Final tomorrow afternoon.