The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers faced off against the Colorado College Tigers in the semifinal round of the 2013 Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Final Five on March 22, 2013 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Gophers ended the season tied for first place with the St. Cloud Huskies and were, by all accounts a foregone conclusion to defeat Colorado College and advance to the finals on March 23, 2013.
This is why we play the game. The Gophers dominated the first period and the tension in the building was growing as crowd was anticipating a goal with every Gopher rush. The goal never came and Colorado College weathered the early storm. Better stated, Tiger goalie Joe Howe was a brick wall moving side to side with lightning speed and stopping every shot the Gophers put together in the first period.
The Tigers had a fire lit under them during the first period intermission and came out in force. The Tigers’ Rylan Schwartz scored the first goal of the game less than one minute into the period. The majority of the almost 19,000 fans in attendance had the wind sucked out of their sails with that goal.
Less than four minutes later the Tigers put up another goal, scored by Charlie Taft that energized the anti-Gopher crowd. With Saint Cloud, Mankato and North Dakota, the closest teams to Saint Paul other than the Gophers, out of the tournament many neutral fans began cheering for the upset.
Those fans were treated to a goaltending clinic put on by Howe who stopped 100% of the 35 shots the Gophers put on him.
With the win the Colorado College Tigers will face the University of Wisconsin Badgers in the final WCHA Final Five at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The league will undergo realignment next year with the Badgers and Gophers, among others, moving the Big Ten.
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