Minnesota tops Omaha 3-2 in opening round of NCAA Tournament

The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (23-10-5) defeated the 3-seeded Omaha Mavericks (23-13-4) 3-2 in round one of the NCAA Sioux Falls Regional Thursday night.

The first period finished scoreless, but the Mavericks had the Gophers on their heels. Omaha outshot Minnesota 9-4, including two shots that rang off the post. Minnesota successfully fended off one Maverick powerplay at the 7:34 mark but were called for a five-minute major with just 55 seconds remaining in the period.

Omaha’s Joaquim Lemay capitalized on the man advantage early on in the second putting the Mavericks up 1-0 at the 18:09 mark. Jimmy Snuggerud had a nice chance on a breakaway to get one back for Minnesota a few minutes later, but his shot was turned away by Omaha goalie Simon Latkoczy. The Gophers had the momentum back on their side as Omaha was called for a slashing penalty but couldn’t convert on their first power play of the night. With 1:59 left in the first Minnesota found the 1-1 equalizer from a Jimmy Clark snipe. The Gophers outshot Omaha 22-16 in the second period moving the overall shots to 26-25 in favor of MN.

Omaha retook the lead on their first shot in the third period as Ty Mueller buried one passed Close. With 10:45 to go, the Gophers found an answer once again. Jaxon Nelson put one in the back of the net from a nice assist courtesy of fellow fifth-year Bryce Brodzinski. With 4:13 remaining it was Déjà vu for Minnesota as they grabbed their first lead of the night from another Nelson goal and Brodzinksi assist. Omaha was unable to convert with the empty net and the Gophers clinched the 3-2 victory, outshooting the Mavericks 39-36.

Minnesota will now face off with top-seeded Boston University in the Sioux Falls Regional Final on Saturday, March 30 at 5:30 p.m. at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center. The last time these two teams faced off, Minnesota topped BU 6-2 in the 2023 Frozen Four. The Gophers are 13-12-2 all-time versus the Terriers.