Denver, Maine advance to Frozen Four championship

Posted: Friday, April 09, 2004

BOSTON (AP) Lukas Dora scored the game-winner with 11:35 left Thursday as Denver rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Minnesota Duluth 5-3 in the NCAA hockey semifinals and advance to the Frozen Four championship game.

Denver trailed 2-0 and 3-1 before getting four consecutive goals the first two when Gabe Gauthier and Ryan Caldwell scored 34 seconds apart to tie it just 3:04 into the third period. Five minutes later, Dora skated across the ice and fought off a defender to slip the puck between Isaac Reichmuth's pads.

Adam Berkhoel stopped 26 shots for Denver (26-12-5), which will play for its first championship since 1969 on Saturday night against Maine.

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association foes had already played twice this season, with Duluth winning both games back in January.

Junior Lessard scored two power-play goals, and Reichmuth made 25 saves for Minnesota Duluth (28-13-4). He was pulled for the last 1:25; Duluth knocked one in with 32.2 seconds left, but the goal was disallowed because Tyler Brosz was in the crease before he barreled into the goaltender and dislodged the puck.

Greg Keith added an empty-netter with 7.8 seconds left to clinch it.

The leading scorer in the nation with 32 goals and 63 points, Lessard is one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award that will be given to college hockey's top player Friday. He is the only one of the three who made it to the Frozen Four as a player, too.

Maine 2, Boston College 1

BOSTON Dustin Penner scored the winning goal early in the third period and Jimmy Howard stopped 40 shots, leading Maine to a win over Boston College for a berth in the NCAA hockey championship game.

Penner's goal came on a second chance after Patrick Eaves blocked his first shot from about 30 feet. The puck ricocheted right back to Penner and he put a 20-footer to the far side of goalie Matti Kaltianinen with 1:05 gone.

Then Howard and the nation's stingiest defense did the rest, holding the Eagles to just one weak shot in the last seven minutes.

Despite outshooting Maine 33-15 through two periods, BC had to come from behind. The Eagles tied the game 1-1 on Ryan Shannon's goal at 2:35 of the second period after Maine's Jon Jankus scored with 32 seconds left in the first.

But Howard, who led the nation with a 1.20 goals against average, was right at home in the Maine net at the FleetCenter, just five miles from BC's campus.

In three games in the building, including two in the Hockey East tournament, he saved 123 of 125 shots.

Now he has another game the biggest of his career in the same building. That will end a season that he began with a 4-0 win over two-time defending champion Minnesota.

The last time the Frozen Four was at the FleetCenter, in 1998, the Eagles made it to the title game before losing to Michigan in overtime.

Maine outscored opponents 26-12 during the nine-game winning streak it took into Thursday's game, with the last seven wins coming by one goal. And Maine was 2-1 this season in Hockey East games against BC.

BC had lost three of four before winning two tournament games to reach the semifinals, but fell behind late in the first period.

Jankus took a 25-foot shot from the left that went in between Kaltiainen's left arm and body for his ninth goal of the season.

Shannon got his 15th goal on a play he began by winning a faceoff to the left of Howard. Shannon won the draw, then skated to the net. Howard made the first save with his arm, but Shannon, unguarded by a defenseman, put the rebound under the goalie's stick.

Penner then scored his 11th goal of the season and his second big one in postseason tournaments. The first came in a 2-1 win in three overtimes against Massachusetts that gave the Black Bears the Hockey East title.

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