By the start of overtime, Gophers forward Evan Kaufmann had seen enough of Maine goalie Jimmy Howard's glove.
So he tried something new the next time he got the puck, and it gave Minnesota a 1-0 win yesterday in the NCAA West Regional in Minneapolis.
Kaufmann took a pass from Garrett Smaagaard and blasted a rising shot from the top of the crease, finding a gap on Howard's stick side 1:46 into the extra frame.
"We had been getting nothing all game going to his glove side," said Kaufmann, a freshman. "During one of the breaks [backup goaltender] Justin Johnson told me that if we were going to get anything on this guy, we'd have to go somewhere other than his glove."
The goal was the only blemish on an otherwise spectacular day for Howard, who had 37 saves.
"The guys do such a tremendous job in front of me," he said. "They make me look really, really good sometimes."
Howard's counterpart, Kellen Briggs, had 25 saves for Minnesota in his fourth shutout of the season. Briggs missed two weeks of action last month with a broken hand, and Minnesota coach Don Lucia didn't decide to start him until shortly before the game.
"It wasn't an easy decision, but he's been our main guy the last two years, and he's the guy we've got to go with," Lucia said.
With the win, Minnesota (27-14-1) advances to face Cornell in the regional final today. Maine finished 20-13-7.
It was the third consecutive NCAA Tournament meeting between the Gophers and Black Bears to go to overtime. Maine beat Minnesota, 5-4, in the first round in 2001, and Minnesota won, 4-3, in the 2002 NCAA championship game.
Minnesota had more shots and more high-quality scoring opportunities in the first 60 minutes, but the Gophers were repeatedly foiled by Howard.
Maine's best scoring chance early came midway through the game when forward Jon Jankus hit the pipe with a long-range shot that fooled Briggs.
"We were playing to win," Maine coach Tim Whitehead said. "We weren't playing tentative and just dumping the puck out."
Cornell 3, Ohio St. 2 -- Mike Iggulden's third-period goal made the difference as the Big Red rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat the Buckeyes in a West Regional semifinal in Minneapolis. Iggulden, stopped on a breakaway, got a pass from Matt Moulson and stuffed the puck past Ohio State goaltender Dave Caruso.
Cornell (27-4-3) extended its unbeaten streak to 19 games (18-0-1). Ohio State (27-11-4) got a goal and an assist from Tom Fritsche.
Cornell goalie David McKee had 34 saves. The Buckeyes scored the only goal of the first period when Fritsche fought off a defender and sent a backhand pass to Domenic Maiani. With McKee sliding across the crease, Maiani blasted a shot two feet off the ice and past the goaltender.
Ohio State scored a second period power-play goal to go ahead, 2-0, when Fritsche's rising shot from the slot beat McKee. Cornell answered just 18 seconds later, when a shot by defenseman Doug Krantz found its way through traffic in front of the net. The Big Red tied the score later in the middle period on a 2-on-1 break, with Cam Abbot setting up Chris Abbot for an easy tap-in.
Colorado College 4, Michigan 3 -- Trevor Frischmon scored twice and assisted on a third goal as the Tigers erased a three-goal deficit to beat the Wolverines in the Midwest Regional final in Grand Rapids, Mich., and clinch a berth in the Frozen Four. After Eric Nystrom scored 1:32 into the second period to give Michigan (31-8-3) a 3-0 edge, Colorado got back into the game with its special teams play. Marty Sertich scored with the Tigers up two men at 6:13 and Trevor Frischmon made it 3-2 with a shorthanded tally at 15:27.
Frischmon got Colorado (31-8-3) going in the final period, setting up Joey Crabb for the tying goal at 4:24 and scoring the winner at 10:06, sending the Tigers to the Frozen Four for the first time since 1997.