Final Five MVP McClure Scores Three as Minnesota State Repeats as Broadmoor Trophy Champions
Freshman's third period hat trick leads Mavericks to 5-2, comeback victory over Michigan Tech

Freshman forward Brad McClure nets hat trick in third period for Mavericks




Prd Time  Team Score Type Scored By Assists
1st 6:04  MTU1-0 PP Blake Pietila (14)David Johnstone/20, Shane Hanna/13
1st 9:28  MNS1-1 EV Chase Grant (7)Brett Stern/4, Teddy Blueger/16
2nd 2:44  MTU2-1 PP Alex Petan (15)Shane Hanna/14, David Johnstone/21
3rd 8:08  MNS2-2 EV Jordan Nelson (4)Michael Huntebrinker/6, Brett Stern/5
3rd 11:29  MNS3-2 EV GW Brad McClure (13)Michael Huntebrinker/7, Zach Palmquist/20
3rd 14:25  MNS4-2 PP Brad McClure (14)Teddy Blueger/17, Jon Jutzi/10
3rd 18:40  MNS5-2 PP Brad McClure (15)Zach Palmquist/21, Sean Flanagan/12
Scoring 1st 2nd 3rd Final
Michigan Tech  1102
Minnesota State  1045
Shots on Goal 1st 2nd 3rd SOG
Michigan Tech  612725
Minnesota State  1341128
Team Stats and Records  PP PIM SHGF
Michigan Tech (29-9-2)  2/3 7/14 0
Minnesota State (29-7-3)  2/7 3/6 0
Michigan Tech Goaltending MIN GA 1 2 3 Saves
Jamie Phillips (L, 28-8-2)60:005 124723
Minnesota State Goaltending MIN GA 1 2 3 Saves
Stephon Williams (W, 25-5-3)60:002 511723

Freshman Brad McClure scored three consecutive third period goals for a natural hat trick and goaltender Stephon Williams made 23 saves as nationally second-ranked Minnesota State rallied to defeat No. 4 Michigan Tech 5-2 to win the Broadmoor Trophy and repeat as WCHA champions in front of 8,204 at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul on Saturday night.

Chase Grant and Jordan Nelson also scored for the Mavericks, while Michael Huntebrinker, Teddy Blueger, and Brett Stern each added two assists. McClure was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, scoring five goals and adding one assist in two games at the "X."

"It's really hard to put into words," said Grant, a senior captain. "Obviously it was a goal of ours at the start of the year, I think every team starts out with that goal and we knew it was going to be hard to do. You know you have that target on your back and Tech was a really tough team to beat, but just to do it with this group of guys - it will be special forever."

Michigan Tech's notoriously tough defense was on display early and made it difficult for the Mavericks to gain any momentum, despite entering with one of the NCAA's top offenses.

"They made it extremely difficult, pretty much squeezed the life out of us," Minnesota State Head Coach Mike Hastings said. "We weren't creating many opportunities, we didn't have the puck very long and I thought they really carried the play."

The Huskies, one of the nation's top defensive teams, took an early lead on the power-play as senior forward Blake Pietila scored at 6:04, just nine seconds after a goaltending interference penalty to Grant.

Grant was quick to respond though and evened the score at 9:28 with his seventh goal of the season.

"I knew I had to do something to contribute to make up for that mistake, I watched the replay and apparently did not try very hard to get out of the goalie's way," Grant joked about his penalty. "I came back to the bench and was going to try my best to get it back, it just turned out it was a goal and Stern made a great play."

The teams entered the second period tied at one, but the Huskies were quick to strike again on the power-play. At 2:44 of the second period, with Zach Palmquist in the penalty box for holding, Alex Petan fired a seeing-eye shot from the point that found its way to the back of the net for his 15th goal of the season, giving Michigan Tech a 2-1 lead.

"I thought our guys did a real nice job moving the puck," Michigan Tech Head Coach Mel Pearson said about his team's success on the power-play. "We have some skill players that haven't had much time on the power-play the last few weeks, so it was nice to see them have a couple opportunities and they did a good job."

David Johnstone and Shane Hanna assisted on both of Michigan Tech's power-play goals. Johnstone finished the Final Five with five assists after posting three helpers in Friday's 5-2 victory over Bowling Green.

Following the goal, Michigan Tech continued to control the play, outshooting Minnesota State 12-4 in the period.

"They got the energy and I thought they carried it from there, but we needed something good to happen," Hastings said. "I was hoping just to get out the period down one and it wasn't a bigger hill to climb because two against them is hard to come back from."

Despite Michigan Tech's dominance and numerous quality opportunities in the second period, Williams proved why he is one of the nation's top goaltenders and held the Huskies off the board the rest of the way, giving Minnesota State hope heading to the third period.

"Without Stephon being as good as he was in the second period we don't have a chance for the third period to happen," Hastings added. "I think with the experience in our junior and senior class, I didn't have to say much between periods. They handled themselves and I think they've been rewarded for their patience, for staying after it, and tonight they were rewarded again. Minnesota State immediately came out with momentum in the third period and drew an early power-play when C.J. Eick was sent to the penalty box for interference. Michigan Tech killed off the penalty, but Eick once again was whistled for interference when he stepped out of the penalty box and laid a big hit as the puck was played through the neutral zone.

The Mavericks came up empty on the power-play, but continued to build momentum before they finally found the equalizer when Nelson banged home a rebound in front at 8:08.

Minnesota State then took its first lead of the game when McClure moved in the right wing side, deked around the defender and fired a shot over the shoulder of Tech goaltender Jamie Phillips.

"Right away this year you could tell he is extremely skilled," Grant said of McClure. "He's got a good release and the second goal couldn't have been a better example of that."

The finish by McClure was the end of a play that began in the defensive zone, a play Coach Hastings believed was a result of the team settling down and playing more as a unit.

"The second period we were just grabbing and throwing pucks, their defense made a lot of plays but I thought the guys settled down and we started playing in groups of five instead of maybe one guy pulling the rope at a time. Palmquist went back and shook a defender, got us out of the zone tape to tape and we ended up scoring a very big goal."

With the lead and the third period momentum, Minnesota State looked to finish the comeback and finally broke through on the power-play at 14:25.

Controlling the puck in the offensive zone, Jon Jutzi set up Blueger for a quick shot at the point. From the slot it was McClure, with his back to the net, who deflected the puck past Phillips for a two-goal lead.

"I honestly give a lot of credit to Teddy there," McClure said. "He wasn't shooting high where I couldn't get my stick on it, I think he put the puck in the right place and I just tried to get a piece of it and change the direction."

Michigan Tech looked for some late magic but Williams stood tall in net and back-to-back penalties late gave Minnesota State a two-man advantage, allowing McClure to finish the natural hat trick at 18:40 and send the Mavericks to a 5-2 victory.

The hat trick for McClure highlights a season for a freshman class that have been key contributors and have grown up quickly at the collegiate level, something Hastings credits to his veterans and the team's culture.

"Our leadership group has done a good job of just making sure they're all together," Hastings said. "I think when that happens you can have growth sooner than later and especially with Brad you can see that, he had a good start and maybe a little lull, but now look what he's doing."

With the victory the Mavericks receive the WCHA's automatic berth into the NCAA championship with the possibility of the number one overall seed. Regardless of where they end up when the brackets are released tomorrow, the back-to-back Broadmoor Trophy champions will be ready.

"I'm trying to take real small steps because that's about all I can handle," Hastings said. "We'll get back and enjoy this tonight, let the guys have the opportunity to see their families that are here and the people that took the time to come see them. This group has done a good job of just living today, so we're going to let them live today and when tomorrow shows up they'll handle it well and get prepared for what we've got in front of us."


Notes

- McClure's hat trick was the first in the WCHA Final Five since MacGregor Sharp scored three for Minnesota Duluth, leading the Bulldogs to a 4-0 win over Denver in the 2009 championship game.

- McClure is the second freshman in as many years for Minnesota State to win the WCHA Final Five MVP after Cole Huggins took home the hardware in 2014.

- The 2015 NCAA selection show will take place Sunday at 12:00 PM (ET) and will be broadcast on ESPNU.


2015 WCHA Final Five All-Tournament Team
Forward - Tyler Heinonen, So., Michigan Tech
Forward - David Johnstone, Sr., Michigan Tech
Forward - Brad McClure, Fr., Minnesota State
Defense - Zach Palmquist, Sr., Minnesota State
Defense - Brett Stern, Sr., Minnesota State
Goaltender - Stephon Williams, Jr., Minnesota State

Most Valuable Player - Brad McClure, Fr., F, Minnesota State