Minnesota shuts out Western Michigan in hockey regional final

Detroit News staff
The Detroit News

Justen Close stopped all 24 shots he faced and Minnesota denied Western Michigan a spot in the Frozen Four with a 3-0 victory on Sunday in a regional final at Worcester, Mass.

Matthew Knies opened the scoring for Minnesota at 10:10 of the first period, scoring off assists from Brock Faber and Ben Meyers.

Western Michigan's Josh Passolt (21) is taken down by Minnesota's Mike Koster (6) as the puck gets away in front of Minnesota goalie Justen Close, left, during Sunday's regional final in Worcester, Mass.

The score remained 1-0 until 33 seconds into the third period when, with Western’s Ethen Frank in the penalty box for slashing, Aaron Huglen doubled the lead with assists from Meyers and Jackson LaCombe.

Western’s last chance at victory came when Minnesota’s Matt Staudacher took a penalty for hooking with 3:32 to play.

Western pulled the goalie to get the two-man advantage, but Blake McLaughlin scored an unassisted goal into the empty net to seal the victory.

Brandon Bussi stopped 23-of-25 shots for Western.

Western finished the season with a record of 26-12-1. Minnesota moves to the Frozen Four at 26-12.