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Gopher men win Big Ten hockey tourney; NCAA tournament is next

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The Golden Gopher men defeated Michigan 4-2 to win the Big Ten hockey tournament Saturday night in Detroit, and with the trophy comes an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.

Just last weekend, Minnesota won the regular-season conference championship.

The win gives Minnesota its first conference playoff title since 2007, when it was still in the WCHA, and its 15th overall conference playoff title, according to GopherSports.com.

Justin Kloos launched a shot past Wolverines goaltender Steve Racine to give Minnesota a 3-2 lead with 10:31 remaining in the third period, scoring what proved to be the game-winning goal for the Gophers, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Travis Boyd scored twice for Minnesota, including an empty netter near the end of regulation that sealed the win. Kyle Rau also scored, and goalie Adam Wilcox made 24 saves.

“We came out to play, and I think it’s one of our best games of the year and we really deserve this win,” Wilcox said, according to the Star Tribune.

The Gophers will be the Big Ten’s only representative in the NCAA tournament next week. The pairings in the 16-team field will be announced Sunday morning at 11 a.m. on ESPNU.

Meantime, the Gopher women will be playing for the NCAA national championship at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon against Harvard. The game, which is sold out, is at Ridder Arena on the U of M campus.

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