Gophers fall to Qunnipiac in OT at NCAA Frozen Four Championship

U of M hockey fans watch the championship game
University of Minnesota students and hockey fans gathered to watch the Gophers play in the NCAA Frozen Four Championship game Saturday, April 8, 2023, at the Kollege Klub Bar in Minneapolis.
Tim Evans for MPR News

Updated: 10:20 p.m.

The five-time national champion Gophers (29-9-1) sought their first title since 2003 against Quinnipiac on Saturday in Tampa, Fla. Minnesota has outscored its opponents 19-5 in the NCAA Tournament ahead of Saturday’s championship.

No. 1 Minnesota scored early in the first period against No. 2 Quinnipiac, ending the period ahead 1-0. The Gophers were up 2-1 at the end of the second period.

Quinnipiac pulled its goalie late in the third period and tied the game 2-2 with less than three minutes remaining. But neither team was able to score before the end of regulation, sending the championship game into overtime.

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10 seconds into overtime, Quinnipiac scored and won its first national championship in program history. It was the first Frozen Four championship game to go to OT since 2011.

John Mittelstadt scored from point-blank range with 14:25 left in the first period and Jaxon Nelson gave Minnesota (29-10-1) a 2-0 lead when he re-directed a shot by Brock Faber that bounced off the wall into the net about five minutes into the second.

Cristophe Tellier’s goal with 12:39 left in the second period trimmed Quinnipiac’s deficit to 2-1.

With 3:28 to play in regulation and the Gophers leading 2-1, Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold went with an empty net and 41 seconds later Collin Graf — who leads the team with 21 goals this season but had yet to score in three-plus tournament game — to make it 2-2 and eventually force the extra period.

Jacob Quillan scored 10 seconds into overtime to give Quinnipiac a 3-2 victory over Minnesota.

The Bobcats outshot Minnesota 30-15 and had a 34-23 advantage in faceoffs won.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.