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Defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth rallies for 5-2 win over Maine

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WORCESTER, Mass. - A crazy bounce helped keep defending champion Minnesota-Duluth's chance for a repeat going for at least another day.

Jack Connolly, Caleb Herbert and Jake Hendrickson scored second-period goals as Minnesota-Duluth rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 5-2 win over Maine on Saturday in the Northeast Regional.

The Bulldogs will face top-seeded Boston College on Sunday night in the regional final, a matchup of the past two NCAA champions. The winner advances to the Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla.

Trailing 2-0 early in the game, Minnesota-Duluth rallied in the second, collecting an unusual game-tying goal by Herbert.

Herbert stole the puck from defenceman Brice O'Connor at the blue line, broke in alone fired a shot over the net, but the puck hit off the back glass, caromed into the air and went into the net off Sullivan's left leg as he was getting into position in the crease.

"I thought I had the goaltender beat and shot it over the net," Herbert said, before joking about his strange goal. "We've been working on that in practice: When you bank it off the wall, it pops up and goes in the net."

It was the spark the Bulldogs needed after a rough start.

A minute later, Brady Lamb intercepted Sullivan's bad clearing pass along the right boards, fired a shot on net and Hendrickson knocked in the rebound.

"They got that crazy bounce and fed off the momentum," Maine coach Tim Whitehead said. "That was the key goal, the one that came after they tied it."

Earlier in the day the Eagles won their 16th straight game, beating Air Force 2-0 on a pair of goals by Chris Kreider.

"There's no question they've got a lot of depth," Minnesota-Duluth coach Scott Sandelin said of BC. "They're rolling right now."

J.T. Brown added a third-period goal for the Bulldogs (25-9-6) and Hendrickson sealed it with an empty-netter in the final minute.

Spencer Abbott and Matt Mangene scored for Maine (23-14-3).

The Black Bears opened a 2-0 lead on goals early in the second period before the Bulldogs struck for three goals in 6 minutes, 41 seconds.

Connolly started the scoring spree when he fired a wrister past goalie Dan Sullivan for a power-play goal at 10:47, and Minnesota-Duluth then got a huge bounce to go its way.

Celeb and Hendrickson put the Bulldogs in front for good.

"That's been our 'MO' all year," said Bulldogs goaltender Kenny Reiter, who made 25 saves. "When we get down, we don't get down on ourselves."

Brown beat Sullivan with a backhander between the pads 9:15 into the third.

Abbott scored a power-play goal to make it 1-0 when he fired a wrister from the point that slipped behind Reiter.

Mangene made it 2-0 early in the second when he broke in alone down the right wing, shifted around Reiter and tucked in a backhander. Maine was 13-1-2 when leading after the opening period, but things fell apart for the Black Bears midway through the second.

The Bulldogs improved to 15-0-2 when leading after two periods.

Sullivan made 21 saves.

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