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Gophers Drive for Six Ends in 7-4 Loss to Union

Minnesota national runner-up for seventh time

Philadelphia, Penn. – Minnesota is a program that goes into each season looking to raise banners. This year’s team was able to win the inaugural Big Ten regular season title, but came up short in the conference tourney and then again falling 7-4 to Union in the NCAA title game.

The Gopher coaching staff often preaches that their philosophy starts from defending their own goal and extends from there. Saturday night, the team was caught watching, waiting, wishing for their goalie to freeze the puck, but the Dutchmen kept getting sticks on rebounds and capitalizing.

It was an uncharacteristic game from their second team All-American goaltender Adam Wilcox to allow so many rebounds, but it was also an overall poor game defensively for Minnesota. The Gophers were outshot 49-40 on the night, the most shots allowed by Minnesota the entire season. The team also took eight minor penalties throughout the game, slowing the game’s flow and forcing them to kill off seven short-handed situations.

The loss was just the team’s seventh of the season, and was a letdown performance for a team that seemed so focused in their previous three tournament games. The run included easy wins over Robert Morris 7-3 and St. Cloud State 4-0, and then a spectacular finish via a literal last second goal by Justin Holl to defeat North Dakota 2-1.

Overall, this year’s team met or exceeded the expectations placed on them in October. The coaching staff had to replace the early departures by Erik Haula, Nate Schmidt, and Nick Bjugstad. Those departures were felt most on special teams as the staff had to replace practically their entire power play, and it took a long time for the team’s power play to get going. It finally hit stride after the holiday break and was a strength in the loss to Union. The Gophers killed off seven short-handed situations and got a power-play goal in the third period in their fourth opportunity.

Yet the season seems like a missed opportunity to add a national title. They seemed to have a great path to the trophy and their freshman got better and better throughout the season. The Gophers got three goals from their freshman class against Union, as Hudson Fasching, Justin Kloos and Taylor Cammarata got in book. Sam Warning was the other Minnesota goal scorer, but it has been the freshman class who stepped right into major roles. The class scored 59 goals this season, over 40 percent of the team’s goal scoring.

The team will be forced to part ways with seniors Holl, Nate Condon, Jake Parenteau, Tom Serratore, and Michael Shibrowski, who did get to see the net for the 45 seconds against Union. The class has taken the program from the dark depths of near .500 seasons and losing to Alaska-Anchorage in the WCHA playoffs to three consecutive regular season titles, three NCAA tournament berths, and two Frozen Fours.

Also, the team will surely be faced with the drama of early departures. Sophomore Wilcox could face pressure from Tampa Bay to sign, as they’ll risk him pursuing free agency if he plays out the 2014-15 season. Fellow sophomores Mike Reilly and Brady Skjei could be enticed by Columbus and the New York Rangers respectively to sign after two very solid seasons. Both players had impressive showings in the World Junior Championships and could be ready for the challenge of professional competition next season. Juniors Kyle Rau (FLA), Ben Marshall (DET), Travis Boyd (WSH), and Seth Ambroz (COL) also could receive attention from their NHL teams as it has been the norm for coveted NHL draft picks to get an enticement to sign after their junior season rather than risk them pursuing free agency after their senior season.

GOLDEN NUGGETS: It was the 12th national championship appearance for Minnesota, but ended as their seventh runner-up finish. That’s seventh is the most second place finishes in NCAA hockey. The program was tied with Boston College at six before the game, a truly Minnesotan record to hold… Minnesota is tied for fifth with five national titles, behind fourth ranked Wisconsin (6) and North Dakota (7), sorry for the reminder… The Gophers had three players named to the CCM/AHCA All-America team, M. Reilly first team and Wilcox, Rau to the second team. Reilly was the first to earn first team honors since Ryan Stoa in 2009, and the first only the third time Minnesota has had three All-Americans (Brian Bonin, Mike Crowley, Dan Trebil in 1996 and Ken Yackel Sr., Dick Dougherty, John Mayasich in 1954)… The seven goals allowed by the Gophers was the most allowed since they gave up six to Minnesota-Duluth on November 24, 2013 and the last time they allowed seven was January 27, 2007 to North Dakota.

Written by: Eric Vegoe on Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Buzzer Beater!

Gophers’ Holl Scores with 0.6 Seconds Left to Propel Minnesota to National Championship Game

Philadelphia, PA – Just another classic moment in the Minnesota-North Dakota rivalry.

Whenever you say Minnesota-North Dakota, you know you're in for something special. These two teams have fought numerous battles over the years, with names like Broten and Wheeler etched in Gopher lore for the miracle-goals they’ve scored to beat North Dakota on a grand stage. Tonight, Minnesota fans will add Justin Holl’s name to that storied list, after his shorthanded goal with 0.6 secon...

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Gophers Beat Huskies 4-0 WHOOOOO

Minnesota Face North Dakota in Frozen Four

Saint Paul, Minn. – The Gophers hit a pothole last week in the Big Ten Tournament losing to Ohio State, but their ‘Fab Five’ seniors made sure they booked a spot in the Frozen Four with a 7-3 win over Robert Morris and a dominating 4-0 win over St. Cloud State in the West Regional.

“The focus this weekend was tremendous,” said Minnesota coach Don Lucia. “On the bench, I don’t know if I’ve seen it this focused and communicated and dialed in as we were for the game tonight. Again, that is a credit to our captains and right on ...

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Gophers Survive, Advance Versus Robert Morris

Condon's Two Goals Pace Gophers Over Colonials

Minneapolis – “This time of year, nobody’s going to give up.”

Kyle Rau’s words rung true tonight, as Minnesota had to fight hard to beat a pesky Robert Morris squad. Although Minnesota won 7-3, the game was much closer than the score indicated, with Robert Morris coming back from a 4-goal deficit in the second period to close within two and make the game very interesting into the third period.

Minnesota came out like a house of fire, registering a 5-1 shot advantage just 90 seconds into the game. However, a couple of ...

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