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North Dakota advances to Frozen Four

UND players do a stick salute after their weekend sweep to advance to the Frozen Four. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 22
St. Cloud goalie Charlie Lindgren watches the puck roll past him to give UND a 3-1 lead NCAA West Region championship at Scheel's Arena in Fargo. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald3 / 22
Luke Johnson pushes Kalle Kossila away from the puck after the face off. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald4 / 22
Colten St. Clair and Bryn Chyzyk look to clear the puck in front of UND goalie Zane McIntyre in the second period. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Heraldc5 / 22
UND's Michael Parks shoots the puck at SCSU goalie Charlie Lindgren in the second period. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald6 / 22
UND's Austin Poganski brings the puck up the ice as SCSU's Andrew Prochno defends. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald7 / 22
UND players react to their NCAA West Region championship at Scheel's Arena in Fargo. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald8 / 22
Zane McIntyre signs autographs for young fans after UND's NCAA West Region championship at Scheel's Arena in Fargo. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald9 / 22
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UND players Colten St. Clair and Bryn Chyzyk celebrate Andrew Panzarella's goal in the first period as SCSU's Niklas Nevalainen and goalie Charlie Lindgren look on. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald11 / 22
UND players get a photo with their fans as they celebrate Saturday's NCAA West Region championship at Scheel's Arena in Fargo. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald12 / 22
University of North Dakota players salute the fans after defeating St.Cloud State 4-1 Saturday, March 28, 2015, during the NCAA Division 1 men's hockey West Regional final at Scheels Arena in Fargo. David Samson / The Forum13 / 22
University of North Dakota's Brendan O'Donnell is hit by St.Cloud State's Nathan Widman Saturday, March 28, 2015, during the NCAA Division 1 men's hockey West Regional final at Scheels Arena in Fargo. David Samson / The Forum14 / 22
University of North Dakota's Paul LaDue, Jordan Schmaltz and goalie Zane McIntyre celebrate as the final horn sounds after defeating St.Cloud State Saturday, March 28, 2015, during the NCAA Division 1 men's hockey West Regional final at Scheels Arena in Fargo. David Samson / The Forum15 / 22
University of North Dakota's Drake Caggiula and goalie Zane McIntyre strike a victory pose after defeating St.Cloud State Saturday, March 28, 2015, during the NCAA Division 1 men's hockey West Regional final at Scheels Arena in Fargo. David Samson / The Forum16 / 22
University of North Dakota's Drake Caggiula shouts after his second-period goal Saturday Saturday, March 28, 2015, during the NCAA Division 1 men's hockey West Regional final at Scheels Arena in Fargo. David Samson / The Forum17 / 22
University of North Dakota's Drake Caggiula shouts after his second-period goal Saturday, March 28, 2015, during the NCAA Division 1 men's hockey West Regional final at Scheels Arena in Fargo. David Samson / The Forum18 / 22
University of North Dakota's Drake Caggiula, left, celebrates his second-period goal with Michael Parks Saturday, March 28, 2015, during the NCAA Division 1 men's hockey West Regional final at Scheels Arena in Fargo. David Samson / The Forum19 / 22
University of North Dakota's Drake Caggiula fires a shot that deflects off of St.Cloud State's Jimmy Murray for a goal Saturday, March 28, 2015, during the NCAA Division 1 men's hockey West Regional final at Scheels Arena in Fargo. David Samson / The Forum20 / 22
University of North Dakota's Gage Ausmaus collides with St.Cloud State's Saturday, March 28, 2015, during the NCAA Division 1 men's hockey West Regional final at Scheels Arena in Fargo. David Samson / The Forum21 / 22
University of North Dakota's Tucker Poolman, left, hugs Andrew Panzarella after his first-period goal against St.Cloud State Saturday, March 28, 2015, during the NCAA Division 1 men's hockey West Regional final at Scheels Arena in Fargo. David Samson / The Forum22 / 22

FARGO -- Illnesses have been running through the UND men's hockey locker room for a week-plus, and it wasn't any better Saturday.

One player was on IVs. Another couldn't play at all. But the players weren't bothered by it.

"I don't think a little cold or a little flu is going to keep us from where we want to go this year," Bryn Chyzyk said.

Next stop: Boston.

UND earned its seventh trip to the NCAA Frozen Four in 11 years under coach Dave Hakstol with a convincing 4-1 win against St. Cloud State in a frenzied Scheels Arena in Fargo.

Andrew Panzarella, playing his first game in two months for an ill Keaton Thompson, scored the first goal of the game, while Drake Caggiula, Luke Johnson and Colten St. Clair added goals, bringing the 5,307 fans louder and louder with each one.

For the last 10 seconds, they stood and roared as the team mobbed goaltender Zane McIntyre, who was named MVP of the West Regional after stopping 19 of 20 shots.

After grabbing their regional championship hats, UND players circled the logo on center ice, waited for all of the players to grab a stick -- including the ones who couldn't play Saturday -- and they saluted the fans.

"That was pretty amazing," Chyzyk said. "I cannot believe our fans continue to impress us like this. I thought I was impressed in Omaha my first year. They continue to up the ante and up the ante. That was the best experience I've ever had playing hockey. That was the best atmosphere. I don't think it gets any better than that. That was pretty surreal out there."

Three weeks ago, UND huddled on the ice for a team picture with the Penrose Cup after winning it in Oxford, Ohio. Everyone was there except coach Dave Hakstol, who was doing a radio interview in the press box.

When he was told that he missed the team photo, the coach smiled.

"We'll have more opportunities for pictures in the future," Hakstol said.

The coach remained confident in his team, even after it dropped a pair of games last weekend at the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Frozen Faceoff.

His team proved him right.

"It feels great," Panzarella said. "I'm kind of speechless. Everyone played so well tonight. We had a lot of guys who were dealing with different stuff. I'm really proud of everyone in here. It's awesome to be going to Boston."

The game didn't start the right way for UND.

St. Cloud State scored just 89 seconds into the game to put UND behind.

Center Joe Rehkamp went forward with an offensive zone draw and chipped the puck to Jimmy Murray, who quickly snapped a shot five-hole on Zane McIntyre to make it 1-0 at 1:29.

UND answered in unlikely fashion with 11:01 to go in the first. Freshman defenseman-turned-forward Tucker Poolman started the play with a strong forecheck in the offensive zone. The puck went to Panzarella at the point and the senior blasted a slap shot off the post and in for his first goal of the season.

UND took its first lead at 6:49 of the second on a transition play. Caggiula skated the puck through the neutral zone on the right side, toe-dragged past a Husky defender in the circle to gain some space, then fired a shot on net. St. Cloud State goaltender Charlie Lindgren made the save, but kicked the rebound into defenseman, who inadvertently put it in his own net.

Johnson added the third goal of the game from a weird angle at 2:53 of the third period. The former Grand Forks Central standout fired a shot from the corner that hit the post, went off of Lindgren's back and in the net for a 3-1 lead.

UND held off a late charge by St. Cloud State and St. Clair iced it with an empty-netter.

"I'm not feeling a thing right now," said Pattyn, who played with the flu. "This is awesome. You win and all of that goes away. I'm just happy, but we're also knowing that we haven't done our job yet. We have two more games to win."

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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