Boston – Denver and Minnesota face each other in the Cold Four final after winning Thursday night.
Denver beat Michigan 3-2 in overtime, and Minnesota State defeated Minnesota 5-1 in the second semifinal.
The championship game is on Saturday.
For Michigan, Carter Savoy’s 5:07 goal, which remained in the first overtime, was won by the Pioneers.
“It was a really good hockey game. We’re obviously excited to be on a positive footing,” said Denver coach David Carl. “Our guys are stuck, done their job, and we’re still in Boston until Saturday.”
Denver, number 4 seeded in the tournament, is looking for its ninth men’s hockey championship in program history, which equates Michigan to the largest number in Division I NCAA history.
The overtime winner was the result of Michigan’s careless play in his zone. The wolverines tried to go on the attack before securing the puck. “Denver” gathered turnover, and the pass of the leading scorer Bobby Brink from the right corner was turned into a “Savoy” in front of the net, sending the “Pioneers” to the holiday, and “Raamahi”, sown with the best number, home.
“They flipped the puck on the blue line. I tried to pass it to Bob [Brink], it hit about the bet, and then he obviously returned it. That pass was incredible. I got the first hit and then got a rebound, ”Savoy said. – No words to describe it. The best feeling. “
The game between “Pioneers” and “Raamaha” was not such an offensive bullet, which many expected. Instead, it was a tense battle between two talented and deep teams who continued past regulations.
Denver took a 1-0 lead with a score of 8:38 in the first period after a goal by Brett Stepley, his 17th of the season. Defender Justin Lee knocked the puck off the spot. With the Pioneers player on the doorstep, goalkeeper Eric Portillo hit back. That’s where Stepley gathered him, and when Partillo clashed with his central Matthew Beniers, shoved him into the open net for Denver’s leadership.
The Pioneers scored before Michigan scored, and the Wolverines finally scored a 3:56 goal against Denver goalkeeper Magnus Chron.
Michigan head coach Mel Pearson’s message to his players after Wednesday’s workout was “focus on the beginning and be prepared”. The first period ended in an advantage in Denver, and the Pioneers were 20-1-1 when they scored first, and 15-0-1 when leading after the first period.
Wolverine finished the game 1-1 from 15:57 until the end of the second period on a goal by Jimmy Lambert. Nolan Moyle’s right flank made a great game to control the puck at the entrance to the zone, sparking a Michigan cycle with senior teammates Gareth Van Wye and Lambert. The puck eventually returned to Nolan behind the Denver net, and he fed Lambert ahead to score a goal that became his 6th of the season.
Michigan continued the next few minutes of the period, but had performance problems, including four offside games and a productive leap when Partila lost his helmet after the save. Denver ended the period with a 16-9 throw advantage, as the Pioneers didn’t realize the team’s only opportunity during that period.
In the third period, the pioneers took the lead with a score of 14:24. The puck returned to defender Mike Benning at the right point, who struck a wrist blow that Wright deflected past Partil. It was the senior winger’s 22 goals of the season in 40 games.
But Michigan tied the game 2-2 with 10:51 before the end of the third. The game began with the unraveling of Mark Estopa’s block of blows to Denver defender Anti Tuomist. Michael Pastuzhov from Michigan went on the flank. His midfield pass was disallowed, but second-year forward Thomas Brothel cleverly slowed his progress to score a rebound and equalize.
The Wolverines won in Denver after a free kick for landing forward Brendan Bryson. With 5:31 left before the game, freshman forward Maki Samaskevich received whistles for holding on, which caused a lot of Michigan fans in the stands. But the Wolverines killed that too.
The loss sends Michigan into off-season uncertainty. Raamahi has seven players selected in the first round of the NHL Draft, including four of the first five 2021 draft elections. Defender Owen Power, the No. 1 overall pick, is expected to sign with the Buffalo Sabers after the NCAA tournament. Pearson also has no contract further this season.
Michigan coach Mel Pearson’s contract expires on April 30th. Asked if he would be Raamahi’s head coach next season, Pearson said: “I’m just going to talk about the game and our team tonight.”
Last month, the Ann Arbor News reported that Michigan’s program is under investigation at the school for trying to cover up COVID-19 cases ahead of last year’s NCAA tournament. The Michigan Daily student newspaper also reported that Pearson and hockey operations director Rick Bancroft allegedly created a toxic work environment for female staff and that Pearson took revenge on a player who raised issues with the program.
Pearson denied all allegations. “The truth will come true at the end of the investigation, and I feel very confident that the allegations will be proven wrong,” he told the Michigan Daily.