North Star College Cup results

The North Star College Cup is a college hockey tournament that consists of 5 Division 1 hockey schools from Minnesota. Those teams are: the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Bemidji State Beavers, St. Cloud State Huskies, Minnesota State Mavericks and the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. The tournament started back in 2014.

The University of Minnesota won in the cup 2014, Bemidji State won in 2015, and St.Cloud State won last year in 2016. 2017 marks the 4th annual tournament and most likely the last.

The tournament has been taking place at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul, and it has not been drawing a crowd. This year’s tournament took place Friday to Saturday, January 27th and 28th. Last year only 23,584 people combined showed up for both days, which is not a lot considering a Minnesota Wild game usually has 18,000+ in attendance per game.

This year’s teams consisted of just 4 of the original 5 teams, with Minnesota State withdrawing. The Duluth Bulldogs took home the cup this year in a 2-1 overtime win against St. Cloud State. St. Cloud State got to the championship by defeating Bemidji State 2-1, while the Bulldogs defeated the Gophers in an exciting 3-2 win. This all set up for a boring 3rd place game in which Minnesota won 4-0 over Bemidji State.

Late in the 1st period, of the championship game, St. Cloud State defenseman Will Brogen opened the scoring with a wrist shot from the right side of the left circle; off a pass from Forward Robby Jackson. The Bulldogs responded just 42 seconds into the second period, as Alex Lafallo scored by finding a loose puck in front of the net off a pass from behind the net and shooting it past the goaltender.

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image taken from: NCAA.com

Both teams had tremendous chances for the rest of the second period and for the whole 3rd period, but neither team could score another goal which sent the game to overtime. With 6 minutes into overtime Duluth defenseman Neal Pionk shot a puck from the point and it was deflected to the left side of the net where left-handed Duluth forward Kyle Osterberg shot the puck past goaltender Jeff Smith. The Minnesota-Duluth fan section erupted out of their seats as the Bulldogs had won their first North Star College Cup.

This was Duluth’s first championship appearance since they lost in a shootout 5-4 vs. Minnesota in 2014. Again, this is more than likely the last North Star College Cup because of the lack of attendance, but it will always be something the players and local hockey fans enjoyed.

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