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NCAA: Gophers knocked out in first-round upset

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

It's not a bad week to be Kenneth Agostino.

The Yale forward had his rights traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Calgary Flames in Wednesday night's Jarome Iginla deal, and two days later, had one of the best games of his collegiate career as the Bulldogs (18-12-3) upset No. 2 Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship.

The Gophers' surprising loss means the end of a championship run for a talented group that could be split up by decisions to turn pro, most notably Florida Panthers first-round pick Nick Bjugstad who has the option to head to AHL San Antonio. Blue Jackets prospects Mike Reilly (freshman) and Seth Ambroz (sophomore) are both expected to return to Minnesota next season and pursue a national championship -- and they'll have a good shot at it once again.

And as unlikely as the Bulldogs' win was this afternoon in Grand Rapids, if you're the Gophers, you have to tip your cap to your opponent that played a hard-working, determined game from the outset.

After a scoreless opening period, Agostino opened the scoring at 7:08 of the second period, and the lead become 2-0 at 15:28 on a big power-play tally from Gus Young.

But the Gophers wouldn't go quietly. Defenseman Nate Schmidt did his thing on the power play in the third period, getting Minnesota back in it with a man-advantage marker to make it a 2-1 hockey game. Zach Budish tied the game with a nifty re-direction of Kyle Rau's shot with 6:20 tp play and the momentum appeared to be all in Minnesota's favor, but Agostino quick setup to Jesse Root at the start of overtime ended the Gophers' comeback hopes.

Yale meets the winner of tonight's first-round game between North Dakota and Niagara tomorrow afternoon.

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