A quick start to the second period was all the Colorado College Tigers needed to dispatch the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in the semifinals of the 2013 WCHA Final Five.
The Tigers, with the help of senior goalie Joe Howe, shutout the Gophers 2-0 in front of almost 19,000 fans at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Howe stopped 35 Minnesota shots in the game to propel his team to the championship game Saturday night versus Wisconsin.
Colorado College scored just 0:59 in to the second period thanks to Rylan Schwartz’s nineteenth goal on the year. It was followed up less than four minutes later when Edina native Charlie Taft gave the Tigers all the space they would need on the scoreboard with his seventh of the season.
The Gophers could not capitalize on opportunities all game. To top off the night, Minnesota had a five-minute power play in the third period down two when senior CC defensemen Joe Marciano was called for a major penalty for cross-checking. Countless attempts to get the puck into the Tigers’ goal were blocked and cleared by the shorthanded team from Colorado Springs.
The stagnant power play for the Gophers was snake bitten all night by Howe — who hails from Plymouth, Minn. All but three Gophers attempted shots in the game. One of those was goalie Adam Wilcox and the others were captain Zach Budish and sophomore forward Christian Isackson.
The loss ends the presence of the U of M as a member of the WCHA. The season is not over for the Gophers as they will wait until Sunday night’s NCAA selection show to see where their next playoff fate lies this season.