ST. PAUL (AP) -- Thomas Vanek scored at 3:57 of the overtime period to lift Minnesota to a 3-2 victory over Minnesota State, Mankato Friday night at the Xcel Energy Center.
The fifth-ranked Gophers (22-8-9) will face top-ranked Colorado College for the tournament title Saturday night. The Tigers needed overtime to beat Minnesota Duluth 4-3 in the other semifinal. The ninth-ranked Mavericks (20-9-10) and Bulldogs will meet for third place.
Coming down the slot, Vanek took a pass from Troy Riddle, split two defenders as he cut to his right and put a wrist shot off the shoulder of Maverick goaltender Jon Volp for his 26th goal of the season.
The overtime game was the 14th of the season for the Mavericks and 12th for the Gophers.
Trailing 2-1 entering the third period, the Gophers got the equalizer when Volp only got a piece of a Keith Ballard shot. As the puck trickled behind Volp, Grant Potulny reached in and knocked the puck into the net at 1:58.
The goal marked the 16th straight game Minnesota has scored on the power play. It also marked the sixth straight playoff game in which Potulny has scored a goal.
After the Mavericks' Grant Stevenson and Minnesota's Barry Tallackson swapped first period goals, Minnesota State got the lone goal of period two on the power play at 14:30, despite being outshot 17-3 in the period.
Gophers goaltender Justin Johnson stopped the shot of Stevenson, but the rebound went to Cole Bassett just outside the left post. He sent a blind backhand pass across the crease and between the legs of Matt Koalska to a wide open B.J. Abel who easily put the puck past Johnson, diving back across the crease. Johnson was starting in place of Travis Weber, who was nursing an injured ring finger on his left hand.
Johnson finished with 14 saves for Minnesota; Volp had 46 for Minnesota State.
Colorado College 4, Minn.-Duluth 3 OT
Brett Sterling's goal 7:18 into overtime gave Colorado College a 4-3 win over Minnesota Duluth in the semifinals of the WCHA Final Five tournament Friday afternoon.
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