Gophers power past Nebraska-Omaha in NCAA Regional Semifinal

Mason Nevers scored his first two collegiate goals to help Minnesota advance.

Mat Robson eyes the puck from the goal during the game against Arizona State on Friday, March 1, 2019 at 3M at Mariucci Arena.

Jack Rodgers

Mat Robson eyes the puck from the goal during the game against Arizona State on Friday, March 1, 2019 at 3M at Mariucci Arena.

Julianna Landis, Sports Reporter

Minnesota made quite the statement in its semifinal game of the West Regional in Loveland, Colorado, with a 7-2 win over Nebraska-Omaha Saturday.

Ending its regular season ranked fourth in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC), Omaha was seeded fourth of four teams selected for the Regional; Minnesota was awarded the first seed regionally and third overall heading into the tournament.

Minnesota’s depth showed up on the scoresheet, with freshman Mason Nevers scoring twice alongside five other goal scorers. Nevers scored his first career goal to open the scoring in the first period and again in the second period to put Minnesota ahead 6-1.

The Gophers quickly capitalized on Omaha’s mistakes, scoring three goals apiece in the opening two periods. The usual suspects of Sampo Ranta, Scott Reedy and Ben Meyers all scored, along with Jack Perbix and Ryan Johnson.

Freshman Brock Faber also made a significant contribution to Saturday’s stats, recording a career-high of five assists on the night to tie a school record for single-game assists.

Though Nevers’ two goals were the first goals he has scored in his time with the Gophers, head coach Bob Motzko said postgame his scoring was a long time coming.

“What’s crazy about Mason Nevers is, it’s been coming all year. He’s had so many chances — he scores in practice almost at will. He’s gonna be an outstanding player, he just was snakebit, and y’know, the lid came off for the young guy, and it was awesome to see, ” Motzko said.

Moving on in the Loveland Regional, the Gophers will face Minnesota State on Sunday for a chance to advance to the Frozen Four.