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Minnesota Hockey: Eric Haula and Nick Bjugstad Shine in Da Beauty League Semifinals

The two former Gophers nearly single handedly willed their team to the championship game

Buffalo Sabres v Florida Panthers
Nick Bjugstad is one reason why Team RBC is in the Championship Game
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

You may remember earlier this summer where we summarized who you should be rooting for if you were a Gopher Hockey fan in Da Beauty League—a summer hockey league featuring both college and professional players from the Upper Midwest. Well good news for Gophers fans is that the top four teams we said you should root for ended up playing in the league semi-finals on Monday night. And our overall #1 team will play for the league championship Wednesday night.

One semifinal pitted our #2 team against our #3 team, Team Bic against Team Velocity.

Velocity went up 2-0 early on a goal by former North Dakota player and current Boston Bruin Drew Stafford, and one by current Gopher defenseman Steve Johnson. BIC would then cut the lead to 2-1 on this bomb from former Gopher Justin Kloos:

The teams continued to trade goals, and current Gopher Mike Szmatula tied the game at 3 late near the end of the second half. Bic goalie and former UMD Bulldog Alex Stalock got called for tripping with just under two minutes to play, and Velocity made them pay when Stafford scored his second goal of the night to clinch the victory and a berth in the championship game.

The second semi-final pitted our #1 team—Team RBC against our #4 team—Team Tria.

With the playoffs beginning both teams brought in some ringers. RBC added former North Dakota player and current Washington Capital TJ Oshie to their roster, while Tria added former Gopher and current member of the Columbus Blue Jackets Jordan Schroeder to their roster.

Tria would take a 1-0 lead on this goal by former Gopher Vinni Lettieri:

After former SCSU Huskie and current Los Angeles King Nic Dowd tied the game at 1, it was another former Gopher, and current member of the Minnesota Wild, Mike Reilly who put Tria back in the lead at 2-1:

Jake Guentzel and Dowd would trade goals to make it 3-2 Tria before Schroeder struck in his first game of the season:

Oshie, Guentzel, and Schroeder would all add goals before former Gopher and current New York Islander Nick Leddy put Tria up 7-4 late in the 2nd half.

It appeared Tria was headed to the championship game—but two former Gophers had other plans. Dowd scored his third goal of the night to cut the lead to 7-5 before current Vegas Golden Knight Eric Haula took a sweet feed from Oshie to cut the lead to 7-6.

A bit later it was Nick Bjugstad with the amazing individual effort to tie the game at 7.

Finally with just seconds left in the game Haula struck again making former Badger Jake Gardiner look lost as hel scored the game-winning goal and sent RBC to the championship game:

The Championship Game will take place at 7:30 Wednesday night at Bremar Arena in Edina. It will pit Team Velocity and current Gophers Steve Johnson and Ryan Lindgren, and former Gophers Kyle Okposo, Travis Boyd, and Seth Helgeson against Team RBC and current Gophers Tyler Nanne and Brent Gates and former Gophers Nick Bjugstad, Eric Haula, Alex Goligosi, Aaron Ness, Stu Bickel, and Adam Wilcox.

So go check out the title tilt and root for your favorite group of guys who wear/have worn the maroon and gold!