Nolan Walker scored with 53.2 seconds remaining to help the St. Cloud State Huskies defeat the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks and advance to the program's first national championship game on Thursday night.
St. Cloud State took the early advantage when Spencer Meier put the Huskies on the board at 3:48 of the first period. After the Mavericks tied the game with a power play goal from Nathan Smith, SCSU took the lead back with a marker from Kyler Kupka to head into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead.
The Huskies extended their lead early in the second period when Will Hammer scored to make it 3-1 but the Mavericks battled back. Walker Duehr and Smith's second goal of the game helped MSU-Mankato tie the game heading into the third period.
Dallas Gerads gave the Mavericks their first lead of the game at 4:18 of the third, but the Huskies evened the score with a goal from Joe Molenaar midway through the period to tie the game again.
That set the stage for Walker to be the hero, sending a shot past Dryden McKay and give the Huskies a 5-4 victory.
St. Cloud State will face the winner of the Minnesota-Duluth/Massachusetts game, which is slated for 8 p.m. on Thursday night.