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Quinnipiac, St. Cloud State headed to Frozen Four

  • Quinnipiac left wing Matthew Peca (20), left, celebrates with Quinnipiac center Connor Jones (10), center, as Union defensemen Shawn Stuart (28), right, skates away after Peca scored his third goal in the first period of their East Regional final in the NCAA college hockey tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

    Quinnipiac left wing Matthew Peca (20), left, celebrates with Quinnipiac center Connor Jones (10), center, as Union defensemen Shawn Stuart (28), right, skates away after Peca scored his third goal in the first period of their East Regional final in the NCAA college hockey tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

  • Quinnipiac right wing Travis St. Denis (24) tries to get his stick on the puck as Union left wing Matt Hatch, left, pursues during the first period of their East Regional final in the NCAA college hockey tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

    Quinnipiac right wing Travis St. Denis (24) tries to get his stick on the puck as Union left wing Matt Hatch, left, pursues during the first period of their East Regional final in the NCAA college hockey tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

  • Union right wing Wayne Simpson (21) grapples with Quinnipiac center Jeremy Langlois (17) during the first period of their East Regional final in the NCAA college hockey tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

    Union right wing Wayne Simpson (21) grapples with Quinnipiac center Jeremy Langlois (17) during the first period of their East Regional final in the NCAA college hockey tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

  • Union center Max Novak (18), left, takes a shot on goal as Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell (33), right, blocks the puck during the second period  of their East Regional final in the NCAA college hockey tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

    Union center Max Novak (18), left, takes a shot on goal as Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell (33), right, blocks the puck during the second period of their East Regional final in the NCAA college hockey tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

  • Quinnipiac left wing Matthew Peca (20), left, celebrates with Quinnipiac center Connor Jones (10), center, as Union defensemen Shawn Stuart (28), right, skates away after Peca scored his third goal in the first period of their East Regional final in the NCAA college hockey tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
  • Quinnipiac right wing Travis St. Denis (24) tries to get his stick on the puck as Union left wing Matt Hatch, left, pursues during the first period of their East Regional final in the NCAA college hockey tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
  • Union right wing Wayne Simpson (21) grapples with Quinnipiac center Jeremy Langlois (17) during the first period of their East Regional final in the NCAA college hockey tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
  • Union center Max Novak (18), left, takes a shot on goal as Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell (33), right, blocks the puck during the second period  of their East Regional final in the NCAA college hockey tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Matthew Peca recorded the fastest hat trick in NCAA tournament history, scoring three goals in a 3:12 span of the first period, leading top-seeded Quinnipiac to a 5-1 victory over Union in the East Regional final last night.

The Bobcats, who notched their first-ever tournament win by rallying past Canisius Saturday, will face Saint Cloud State on April 11 in one of the two national semifinal games in Pittsburgh. Yale takes on UMass Lowell in the other semifinal.

Quinnipiac (29-7-5), an upstart that rose to the No. 1 ranking this season for the first time, trailed Canisius, the No. 16 seed, 3-1, on Saturday before turning on the jets en route to a historic weekend in Rhode Island. Peca ignited a three-goal rally in the 4-3 win over the Golden Griffins, then had three more by the 12:58 mark yesterday. The Bobcats scored six goals in a span of 24:56 across two games.

Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell lost a shutout bid when Daniel Ciampini scored 3:15 into the third for Union (22-13-5).

MIDWEST REGIONAL

St. Cloud St. 4, Miami (Ohio) 1

Joey Benik and Cory Thorson each scored twice and Saint Cloud State earned its first-ever Frozen Four berth with a victory over Miami (Ohio) in the Midwest Regional title game.

The Huskies (25-15-1), the No. 4 seed in the region, will be in Pittsburgh April 11 to face Quinnipiac.

Benik, who had a pair of goals in Saturday’s 5-1 win over Notre Dame, sent a slap shot past Miami goalie Ryan McKay five minutes in to give Saint Cloud State a lead it never lost. He added another when he flicked in a rebound of Brooks Bertsch’s shot.

Second-seeded Miami (25-12-5) cut the lead in half on Blake Coleman’s power-play goal, but the Huskies answered when Thorson scored. He added an empty-net goal in the final minute.

Ryan Faragher had 20 saves for Saint Cloud State. McKay finished with 18.

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