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MEN'S HOCKEY: Minnesota State tops Ferris State 4-1, captures first-ever Final Five title

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — After finishing the regular season separated by just a point in the WCHA standings, it was appropriate that Minnesota State and Ferris State would meet for the Broadmoor Tropy at this year’s Final Five.

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And although the Bulldogs beat out the Mavericks for the regular-season title, it was Minnesota State who had the last laugh.

The Mavericks beat the Bulldogs 4-1 Saturday at VanAndel Arena, capturing their first-ever WCHA Final Five title and securing their second-straight NCAA tournament bid.

MSU (26-13-1) outshot the Bulldogs 32-26 in the game and rode the hot hand of freshman goaltender Cole Huggins to victory.

Huggins was named the Final Five MVP after stopping 25 shots Saturday and shutting out Bowling Green in Friday’s semifinals.

The Mavericks dominated early, scoring twice in the first period to go up 2-0; they outshot the Bulldogs 13-9 in the period.

Michael Huntebrinker put MSU up 1-0 almost halfway into the opening frame with a nice feed from Zach Lehrke and Jean-Paul Lafontaine.

Five minutes later, MSU defenseman Brett Stern gave the Mavericks a two-goal cushion with a goal at 13:50.

In the second frame Ferris cut Minnesota State’s lead in half during the final minute of the period.

Freshman Gerald Mayhew, notching his third goal of the Final Five, scored with 45 seconds to go when he got his own rebound and knocked the puck past Huggins from his stomach.

But Minnesota State got that one back with Brett Knowles’ goal at the 8:38 mark of the third frame.

Ferris State couldn’t cut into the lead any further despite getting numerous scoring chances in the final frame.

Teddy Blueger added an empty-netter with four seconds left to seal the victory.

CJ Motte made 28 saves for Ferris State (28-10-3). The Bulldogs were already assured an NCAA tournament bid regardless of what happened in Saturday’s game but were still playing for a No. 1 overall seed. FSU can still get one of the four No. 1 seeds depending on other results Saturday.

The NCAA will reveal the tournament pairings at 11 a.m. today during a selection show on ESPNU.

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Jack Hittinger is the sports editor of the Bemidji Pioneer. He is also the Bemidji State beat writer. He hails from the Great State of Michigan. Read his Bemidji State blog at http://thebeaverblog.areavoices.com/ and follow him on Twitter at @Jackhitts.
(218) 333-9772
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