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FARGO – Halfway through Thursday's NCAA men's hockey Fargo Regional semifinal, things did not look promising for St. Cloud State. The Huskies had only seven shots on goal and spent most of the second period pinned in their own zone by Minnesota State Mankato.

That changed quickly, thanks to Veeti Miettinen, and stayed that way, thanks to Jaxon Castor.

Miettinen scored a power-play goal 12:30 into the second, and the second-seeded Huskies took off from there, taking control of the period and the game in a 4-0 victory over the third-seeded Mavericks. Castor made 34 saves for his second consecutive shutout.

St. Cloud State (25-12-3) advanced to Saturday's final (5:30 p.m., ESPNU) at Scheels Arena. The Huskies will face the winner of Thursday's semifinal between the top-seeded Gophers and No. 4 seed Canisius.

"I'm really proud of how our guys fought through a lot of adversity,'' Huskies coach Brett Larson said. "We kind of played the rope-a-dope against a team that was really coming at us.''

Jack Peart, Zach Okabe and Grant Cruikshank (empty net) added goals for St. Cloud State. Minnesota State (25-13-2) got 17 saves from Keenan Rancier.

Minnesota State allowed St. Cloud State little space and time in the first period. The Huskies had trouble putting the puck on net, going 9:43 before getting their first shot on goal and enduring a stretch of 5:08 between their second and third. The Mavericks, however, didn't cash in on the territorial advantage and 10-4 lead in shots on goal in the period.

"In games like this, momentum is incredibly important,'' Mavericks coach Mike Hastings said. "We had momentum, but you know, there's a reason they keep score.''

The Mavericks kept the pressure up to start the second period and pinned the Huskies in their zone, eventually drawing a slashing penalty on St. Cloud State's Jami Krannila at 6:06. Castor made back-to-back saves in tight on Ryan Sandelin and David Silye as the Huskies killed the penalty.

"It's awesome when you can have a backbone like that,'' Peart said of Castor.

St. Cloud State's pushback came on a power play at 11:44 when Mavericks center Brendan Furry was called for holding. The Huskies broke the deadlock when Miettinen fired a shot through a screen and past Rancier at 12:30.

Peart, a 2021 second-round draft pick of the Wild, increased the Huskies' lead to 2-0 at 17:23 with a bar-down blast from the point.

St. Cloud State made it 3-0 at 13:03 of the third when Okabe lifted a rebound over Rancier. The goal came moments after Huskies defenseman Ondrej Trejbal saved a goal by sweeping away a trickling puck just before it crossed the goal line.

Hastings pulled Rancier for an extra attacker with 6:06 left, and Cruikshank scored into an empty net at 16:44.

"You've got to earn every inch out there, and it was definitely tough to do that against a really good team,'' Larson said.