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2012 Frozen Four, Minnesota - How The Golden Gophers Got Here

Following a win by the Minnesota Golden Gophers women's hockey team in the women's version of the NCAA Hockey Tournament, the men's team came in looking to give the Gophers a clean hockey sweep. They'll have their chance thanks to a great run leading them to a Frozen Four.

Among the 'big name' teams that made the tournament, Minnesota have looked the strongest by far. They made the tournament on a roll, earning an At Large bid with a 26–13–1 record in the WCHA, only a sliver behind the North Dakota team that won the conference. Only that tournament loss kept the strong Gophers team from being rated a No. 1 seed in one of the brackets.

When the tournament started, they showed they were no slouches. Two three goal periods along with goals from six different guys led the Gophers to a 7-3 slaughter of Boston University in the first round, and they followed that up by showing who the real kings of the WCHA were by beating the Fighting Sioux by a similarly lopsided 5-2 scoreline in the next round.

Minnesota has steamrolled its way to the Frozen Four and on form alone could be the favorites to win it. They will face a Boston College team that shut out both of its opponents so far in the semifinals on Thursday. An offense that has been beating teams to a pulp versus a defense that has not allowed a single point against? It's the match up that analysts dream of.

For more on the Frozen Four, stick with our 2012 NCAA Hockey Tournament StoryStream. You can also follow Western College Hockey and SB Nation's NHL hub for more NCAA Hockey news.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.