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DU hockey punches ticket to Frozen Four

The Pioneers defeated Minnesota Duluth 2-1 in the West Region final on Saturday to advance.

LOVELAND, Colo. — The DU hockey team is Boston bound.

Denver, the No. 1 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament, defeated No. 2 Minnesota Duluth 2-1 on Saturday at a packed Budweiser Events Center to advance to the Frozen Four.

It was a dose of revenge for the Pioneers, who were eliminated in the semifinal round of the NCHC Playoffs by these same Bulldogs just last weekend.

"It was a heck of a battle tonight," DU head coach David Carle said. "I thought it was a heavyweight bout, and we're obviously very proud of the effort of our guys to come out on the positive end of it."

DU came out with an aggressive start on Saturday that included a number of scoring opportunities it was unable to capitalize on. Minnesota Duluth stuck first when Darian Gotz scored in the opening period on their just second shot of the game.

"I felt like I had to do my job to keep us in the game after that," said Denver goaltender Magnus Chrona, who finished with 24 saves.

The Pioneers were swift to respond when captain Cole Guttman scored just over two minutes later. Both teams went scoreless through the second period and late into the third until Carter Savoie delivered the game-winner with 6:16 left to play.

Savoie slammed home the winning goal from a bounce off the boards that was assisted by teammate Sean Behrens, a Colorado Avalanche prospect.

"Sav, a lot of times, he arrives on time -- and that's what he did there," Carle said.

Denver will play the winner of  Sunday's regional final between Michigan and Quinnipiac in the Frozen Four. Puck drop is slated for 6:30 p.m. (MT) on April 7 at the TD Garden in Boston.

DU is in search of its ninth national championship in program history, and first title since 2017.

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