The St. Cloud State men's hockey team is headed to the NCAA national championship game after topping Minnesota State-Mankato 5-4 in a thrilling semifinal in Pittsburgh.

Former local high school hockey standouts Spencer Meier (Sartell) and Will Hammer (Cathedral) each scored goals in the win.

The Huskies will be appearing in their first-ever National Championship game.

The Huskies got on the board first early in the first period when Sartell native Spencer Meier found the back of the net on a rebound at 3:18. Meier's goal was assisted by Kevin Fitzgerald and Zach Okabe.

The Mavericks tied the game at one with a power play goal late in the first period, but the Huskies responded just ten seconds later with a Kyler Kupka goal to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.

Cathedral graduate Will Hammer scored at 2:40 of the second period to give St. Cloud State a 3-1 lead.

However, the Mavericks would score a pair of goals in the second period to tie the game, then take the lead early in the third on a Dallas Gerads goal at 4:18.

The Huskies answered back again with a Joe Molenaar goal at 10:14 of the third, making the score 4-4. Molenaar was in front of the net when a Meier shot squirted past Mankato goalie Dryden McKay.

St. Cloud State scored the winning goal when Nolan Walker deflected a shot past McKay at 19:06 of the final period, assisted by Seamus Donohue.

The Huskies will take on the winner of the game between Minnesota Duluth and UMass, which will be played at 8 p.m. Thursday night.

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