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Denver, North Dakota advance to WCHA semifinals

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Brock Nelson scored twice as North Dakota beat St. Cloud State 4-1 in the quarterfinals of the WCHA Final Five.

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Nelson got off a wrist shot from 15 feet out that fooled Huskies goalie Mike Lee, breaking a 1-1 tie in the second period and added an empty-net goal as the Fighting Sioux got one step closer to a three-peat in the WCHA's postseason tournament. Corban Knight got North Dakota's first goal, and Danny Kristo had another empty-netter.

Ben Hanowski's power play goal was the only marker for St. Cloud State, which got 24 saves from Lee in its final game of the season.

North Dakota will face WCHA regular season champion Minnesota on Friday night at 7 p.m. in the semifinals.

Denver 3, Michigan Tech 2

Jason Zucker hopes to one day become a regular scorer on the ice at the Xcel Energy Center as a member of the NHL's Minnesota Wild, but for now, he's just fortunate to be playing another college game there.

The Denver University sophomore, the Wild's second overall pick in the 2010 draft, scored his 21st goal of the season 2:18 into overtime to give the Pioneers a 3-2 win over Michigan Tech.

"It's obviously a very nice building," Zucker said of the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. "I've been here for a couple summers for camp and stuff, but it's a state of the art building, and it's fun to play in."

Ty Loney and Luke Salazar also scored for third-seed Denver (24-12-4). Josh Olkinuora made 27 saves for the Pioneers, who will face defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth in Friday's semifinals.

Denver, ranked No. 9, has won six of its past seven games after dealing with injuries throughout the season and the absence of Zucker, who scored three goals and had four assists in six games during the World Junior Championships in January.

An All-WCHA second-team selection this season with 20 goals and 24 assists in the regular season, Zucker has been rumored to possibly be leaving for the NHL, but for now he's looking forward to continue his collegiate career. Denver, the preseason pick to win the WCHA, entered the week 12th in the Pairwise rankings.

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