ST. PAUL, Minn. — Tournament Most Outstanding Player Grant Potulny scored the winning goal at 16:58 of overtime, propelling Minnesota to a 4-3 win over Maine and its first national championship in 23 years.
With two third-period goals, Maine had pulled ahead 3-2, and the Black Bears appeared to be on their way to their third NCAA championship. But Matt Koalska and the Golden Gophers had other plans, knotting the score with 53 seconds remaining in regulation to send the title game into overtime.
Minnesota led 2-1 at the start of the third, but Michael Schutte netted his second goal of the game for Maine at 1:17 into the stanza to tie it.
Then, at 15:27 of the third, Robert Liscak put the Black Bears ahead with a tally he banked off the backside of Minnesota goaltender Adam Hauser from left of the net near the goal line.
After Maine dominated most of the third, Minnesota tied it up when Hauser was pulled in favor of the extra skater. Koalska’s goal came right after a faceoff in the right Maine circle. John Pohl won the draw, tipped to Troy Riddle, and Koalska took advantage of traffic in front of screened Maine goaltender Matt Yeats for his 10th goal of the season.
Keith Ballard put the Gophers on the board first at 7:18 on the power play to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead after one.
Schutte tied it for Maine at 4:47 with Grant Potulny in the box for Minnesota, but Peter Metcalf’s feed had as much to do with the goal as Schutte’s game-knotter as did the junior’s shot. At the top of the slot, Metcalf looked to the net but passed to Schutte, camped to the right of the crease.
By the time Minnesota goaltender Adam Hauser realized that Schutte and not Metcalf had the puck, it was too late. Schutte had a wide-open net and several seconds to make sure he put it home.
The tie was short-lived, as Pohl scored his 27th of the season for Minnesota at 5:38. Skating into the Maine zone on the left wing, Pohl rifled a shot from the top of the left circle, sending the puck between the stick and leg of Black Bear Cliff Loya, and into the net off the far post.