Gophers Take Down Tigers
Warning, Serratore Goals Hold Up in Road Win
It was reported before the game that the flu was making its way through the team towards the end of the week. No signs of it at all during the game tonight as the Gophers power their way through Colorado College to the tune of a 4 – 2 win on Friday night, netting two huge league points with just one game remaining before the finals/winter break.
The Gophers started out focused and strong, attacking in the offensive zone and played most of the period in the Tiger end. Their fore-check got them an early power play, and while they won’t get credit for it, it basically got them a goal. Sam Warning gained possession of the puck in the neutral zone, skated the puck in the Tiger goalie Joe Howe’s right side and snapped a shot over his shoulder for his first goal of the season. The goal happened only a second after the penalty expired.
Just as the game was evening out as the second period started, Warning duplicated his effort in the second period to double the Gopher lead. Taking a pass at center ice, he crossed up the Tiger defender and flipped the puck to himself, coming down the ice to Howe’s right again. He waited and made Howe commit, and basically scored the exact same goal as a period earlier.
And it was a good thing he got that 2nd goal because after a couple of typical 2012 Gopher mental breakdowns, the game was tied at intermission.
After four Gophers were caught lowing trying for a scoring chance, Mark Alt – who was just a stalwart last season on the back end – couldn’t figure himself out covering a two on one, basically backing himself right into Adam Wilcox, and Archie Skalbeck converted. Then just a minute after that, no Gopher forwards were back-checking – except Zach Budish taking the same man as Seth Helgason – and the Tigers had – basically – an empty net goal put in by Tiger captain William Rapuzzi.
However, the Gophers were playing very good hockey up until that point and there was no reason for that to change. They played their 3rd period, holding defensively and getting a timely goal by an unlikely sniper. Home-boy Tom Serratore put the Gophers on top 3 – 2 with about six minutes to go, after a real nice shift by Mike Reilly handling the puck and the forwards keeping the pressure. Serratore swept in a rebound shot for his 3rd goal in his last four games.
After a couple of tense moments and a pane of glass shattering causing an non-Mariucci like 10+ minute delay, Zach Budish netted an empty-net goal to round out the scoring.
The game got a bit testy at times and who knows how the team will show tomorrow night if a decent amount of them are fighting the flu. But play as soundly as they did tonight and they can sack-up with no games for three weeks, and maybe they can make their last (for the foreseeable future) trip to the Springs a sweep. The rematch is at 8PM tomorrow night.