Blues prospect Kessel scores as UMass wins NCAA hockey title

Blues prospect Matthew Kessel (4) scored a power-play goal as UMass defeated St. Cloud State in the NCAA hockey championship game.
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PITTSBURGH — Defenseman Matthew Kessel, a fifth-round pick of the St. Louis Blues in the 2020 NHL Draft, scored a power-play goal as Massachusetts beat St. Cloud State 5-0 on Saturday night to win the NCAA hockey championship.

Filip Lindberg had 25 saves and Aaron Bohlinger scored his first career goal as the program won its first NCAA title.

After a St. Cloud State turnover, Bohlinger led a breakaway and dropped the puck to Ryan Sullivan, whose one-touch pass set up Bohlinger’s one-timer to open the scoring about seven minutes into the game. Reed Lebster’s wrap-around goal with about a minute left in the first gave the Minutemen a 2-0 lead.

UMass (20-5-4), which extended its unbeaten streak to a program-record 14 games, made its third NCAA Tournament appearance. The Minutemen lost 3-0 to Minnesota Duluth — which UMass beat in Thursday’s semifinals — in the 2019 title game. The 2020 Frozen Four was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

David Hrenak had 17 saves for St. Cloud State (20-11-0), which made the program’s first title game appearance.

Phillip Lagunov picked up a loose puck near center ice, cut back to evade a defender and scored a short-handed goal about five minutes into the second period to make it 3-0, Kessel added a power-play goal about eight minutes later and Bobby Trivigno capped the scoring in the third period.

Lindberg posted his record fourth career shutout in the NCAA Tournament. The junior from Finland went into the game leading the nation in goals against average (1.33) and save percentage (.946).

UMass is 15-0-0 this season when scoring at least four goals.