|1st||12:24||MNS||1-0||EV GW||Brad McClure (11)||-|
|2nd||15:18||MNS||2-0||EV||Brad McClure (12)||Casey Nelson/26, Jon Jutzi/9|
|2nd||18:16||MNS||3-0||PP||C.J. Franklin (8)||Brad McClure/14, Stephon Williams/1|
|3rd||17:57||MNS||4-0||EV EN||Bryce Gervais (27)||-|
|Shots on Goal||1st||2nd||3rd||SOG|
|Team Stats and Records||PP||PIM||SHGF|
|Ferris State (18-20-2)||0/3||5/10||0|
|Minnesota State (28-7-3)||1/4||4/8||0|
|Ferris State Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|C.J. Motte (L, 18-20-2)||59:29||3||6||11||4||21|
|Minnesota State Goaltending||MIN||GA||1||2||3||Saves|
|Stephon Williams (W, 24-5-3)||60:00||0||3||9||13||25|
By Robert Desimone for WCHA.com
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Brad McClure scored two goals and added an assist, and goaltender Stephon Williams made 25 saves for his fifth shutout of the season as No. 2 Minnesota State defeated Ferris State 4-0 in the second semifinal of the 2015 WCHA Final Five at the Xcel Energy Center.
Minnesota State looks to repeat as WCHA Final Five champions versus No. 4 Michigan Tech on Saturday at 6:07 PM CT. The Mavericks won the school's first Broadmoor Trophy last season after a 4-1 victory over Ferris State.
Behind one of the NCAA's leading goaltenders, Minnesota State has become one of the elite defensive teams in the nation and Friday was no different.
The Mavericks entered the game ranked first in the nation in shots against per game (21.51) and third in the nation in goals against per game (1.97). Minnesota State asserted itself early defensively, holding Ferris State off the shot clock for more than 12 minutes to start the game and allowed just three shots in the first period. Minnesota State then went on the offensive and took the lead at 12:24 off a tremendous individual effort by McClure.
Battling for the puck behind the net, McClure fought off the Bulldog defenseman, skated out below the left faceoff circle, and fired a shot over the shoulder of Ferris State goaltender CJ Motte for an unassisted goal.
"It just landed on my stick and I fired it in," McClure said of his 11th goal of the season.
Trailing 1-0, Ferris State came out strong in the second period to test the Maverick defense.
"We had a pretty good push, I thought we got through the first period and had a good push to start the second," Ferris State Head Coach Bob Daniels said. "We needed a goal during that time frame; I thought we were controlling the play."
Midway through the second period Ferris State had a great opportunity to get the equalizer when Justin Buzzeo sprung free on a breakaway. The opportunity was thwarted when Sean Flanagan took a slashing penalty to end the scoring chance, which gave Ferris State its first power-play of the game.
Once again the Minnesota State defense rose to the occasion and killed off the penalty without allowing a shot. Just 30 seconds after the penalty expired, McClure added his second of the game when a shot from the point by Casey Nelson deflected off the shin pad of McClure and past Motte for a 2-0 lead.
"The way our games have gone against Ferris State is that, if you can get two before the other team gets one, then that's great," said Minnesota State Head Coach Mike Hastings.
"Obviously, when they got that second goal it was painful one," Daniels added. "They are such a good team and to fall behind by two really puts a lot of heat on us. That was the kind of bounce we needed when we play a team of Minnesota State's quality."
The Mavericks continued to pressure following the goal and moments later Motte made a great save on Zach Palmquist in front of his net. Ferris State cleared the zone, but on the ensuing rush C.J. Franklin skated in along the right wing and fired a shot off the cross bar and in past Motte, giving Minnesota State a commanding 3-0 lead at 18:16 of the second period.
"We've had different players step up at different times," Hastings added regarding his team's depth. "When you can start talking about different people on different nights, that's a good thing to spread the responsibility; and, the team doesn't mind sharing the workload."
Once again Ferris State came with a push in the third period, but an early power-play proved unsuccessful as Ferris State ended the game 0-for-3 on the power play with just two shots on goal. Trailing by three late, Coach Daniels pulled Motte for an extra attacker, but Bryce Gervais netted his team leading 27th goal of the season to seal the 4-0 victory for the Mavericks.
Gervais' goal puts him just two behind Harvard junior Jimmy Vesey (29) as the nation's leading goal scorer. Gervais also tied Tyler Deis and Grant Stevenson for second on Minnesota State's all-time single season goal list. Shane Joseph (2002-03) holds the Mavericks' single-season record with 29 goals.
The loss for Ferris State marked the end for a stellar senior class, including Motte, the team's captain and all-time leader in goaltending victories.
"I am very appreciative of their efforts," Daniels said. "They have led us to two NCAA Tournaments, the NCAA Championship game, two conference titles and will be right at 90 wins and that's a pretty good four years. I'll take that four years out of any group of kids. I think the further we get away from this loss, the more we will appreciate this year's team, our seniors and their accomplishments."
In the other net, Williams posted his 10th career shutout while recording his 50th career victory. He heads into the Final Five championship game opposite another one of the nation's leading goaltenders in Michigan Tech's Jamie Phillips.
"I wouldn't call it a rivalry, but I have a lot of respect for him," Williams said of Phillips. "It is good to go against someone you have a lot of respect for, just like CJ Motte."
Phillips and Williams are tied for second in the nation with a 1.63 goals against average. Phillips leads the nation with 28 wins, while Williams ranks third with 24. Saturday's game will mark the fifth meeting between Minnesota State and Michigan Tech this season, with the Mavericks leading the season series 3-0-1. The matchup will also be the only conference championship game on Saturday that features two of the top five teams in the nation.
"In my opinion, Minnesota State is the No. 1 team in the nation, and I think Michigan Tech is right there with them," Daniels said. "Going forward we have two teams, and hopefully Bowling Green will be the third (in the NCAA Tou