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 re...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Saturday, April 12th, 2014 4 comments! | Post your comment

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 seconds left in the third period broke a 1-1 tie and vaulted the Minnesota Gophers (28-6-6) over North Dakota and into the National Championship Game.

Outside of the rivalry, the game itself was an exciting one, with both teams trading conservative but relentless hockey for the better part of the first two periods. The goaltenders were the stars of the show, with Adam Wilcox stopping chance after chance from a fired up North Dakota squad, and UND’s Zane Gothberg making all the saves he needed to make to keep it knotted at 0-0.

The two teams exchanged chances throughout the first two periods, but neither Minnesota nor North Dakota could break the deadlock through the first fifty minutes. The game’s first goal was scored with only 9:09 remaining in the third period, as Sam Warning scored his 13th of the season from Kyle Rau to give the Gophers a 1-0 lead. Rau skated the puck around the net before trying to stuff a wrap-around attempt home. The p...
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by: Chris Eckes on Friday, April 11th, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment

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 down. It was obvious that it was very, very important for us to play well this weekend.”

The Gophers came out with a purpose against the Huskies, working the puck deep into the offensive zone and winning the races to keep it there.

“We knew they played four periods last night, they went deep into overtime, so we knew they’d be tired,” said Travis Boyd. “We wanted to make sure we made their D go back and get pucks all night, try and wear them down. I think we did a really good job of that, and by the time the second and third period rolled around we were really taking it to their D.”

Minnesota executed one of their most perfect games of the season. The centers were sharp in the circle winning 67% of all face-offs, the team only took one penalty during the game, the team got on the board first, and their goalie, Adam Wilcox, earned his fourth shutout of the season making 24 saves. Wilcox was named to the all-regional team and...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Monday, March 31st, 2014 5 comments! | Post your comment

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 early penalties would give Robert Morris a two-man advantage early in the first. The Gophers’ penalty kill stood strong, and they were able to kill off the man advantage.

The game settled in at 0-0 for much of the first, with the Gophers looking slow and generally not moving their feet. Nate Condon changed that with a dynamic end-to-end rush up the ice with just under four minutes to play in the opening frame. Condon beat a pair of RMU defenders before shooting the puck from the top of the left circle into the lower corner of the net, relieving the tension and giving the Gophers a 1-0 lead.

“I believe momentum is a big thing in hockey,” said Condon after the game, and it certainly was for the Gophers late in the first. Minnesota would add two more goals late in the first – goals from Brodzinski at the point and Kloos in front of the net – to go into the locker room up 3-0 after one.

Minnesota’s Rau would sc...
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by: Chris Eckes on Saturday, March 29th, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment

Buckeyes Beat Sloppy Gophers 3-1
Dzingel's 3rd Period Winner the Difference for Ohio State

St. Paul – One team had something to play for, the other didn’t.

That’s how much of tonight’s B1G Semifinal matchup felt between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Minnesota showed flashes of their typical game, but the Buckeyes prevailed to advance to the B1G Championship game thanks to a Ryan Dzingel 3rd period game winner.

The two teams played a fairly even first period, with the Gophers garnering the majority of the scoring chances. Sam Warning hit the post on a Gopher powerplay about halfway through the period, but it was Ohio State that would take the first lead of the game. Ohio State took advantage of their lone full powerplay in the opening frame, as Nick Schilkey found the back of the net on a backdoor play at 15:20. Although the Gophers led the shots 12-8 after the first, the Buckeyes led 1-0 on the scoreboard, and Minnesota was lucky it wasn’t 2-0, as the puck took a funny bounce off the endboards and caromed off of Wilcox’s arm and through his legs. The clock wound down just before Ohio State could coax the puck across the line.

The Gophers would tie the game early in the second period on a powerplay of their own. Kyle Rau tapped in a Taylor Cammarata pass into a wide-open net on the backdoor at 4:47 of the period to knot the game at 1-1. Travis Boyd earned the first assist on the Rau goal. Minnesota took a few more penalties in the middle of the period, but the penalty kill held firm, ...
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by: Chris Eckes on Friday, March 21st, 2014 4 comments! | Post your comment

Wolverines Win 6-2 for Weekend Split with Gophers
Michigan keeps NCAA hopes alive while Minnesota heads home to see their trophy

Ann Arbor, Mich. – Minnesota took care of business on Friday night sealing the Big Ten’s first regular season title. Saturday night, they stepped onto the ice with little to play for, and the Wolverines took advantage by scoring the first five goals en route to a 6-2 win.

Gopher coach Don Lucia chose to rest Adam Wilcox, who has played nearly 2000 minutes over 33 games, and Sam Warning, who has been nursing an upper-body injury, for Saturday’s game. Connor Reilly got a chance to play on the top line, Christian Isackson was inserted back in the line-up, Michael Brodzinksi rotated back in on defense and Michael Shibrowski got his third start of the season. While none of the moves by themselves were costly, the team’s lone bright spot was Brady Skjei scoring two goals.

The game didn’t start out awful as Minnesota (24-5-6, 14-3-3-0) pushed the pace throughout the first period outshooting the opponents 11-5, but a turnover at their own blue line led to an odd-man rush and an early deficit. JT Compher forced the turnover, the puck went off his shin pads, and an opportunistic Alex Guptill had all the time he needed to make the score 1-0 at 5:16.

The Wolverines got their second goal 22 seconds into the second period when Michael Downing’s shot went off the end-glass, and out front to Luke Moffatt who directed it into an empty net making it 2-0.

Michigan extended their lead to three while on the powe...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Saturday, March 15th, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment


Rau’s OT winner lifts Gophers to Conference Championship

It may have taken an extra game than they would have liked, but that was the way you clinch a championship – on the road against a rival and in overtime to boot. The Gophers clinched the first ever Big Ten conference title with a 3 – 2 win in overtime. It was their third win in three games against the Wolverines this season and even though they would have won the title outright because Michigan State knocked off Wisconsin, the Gophers grabbed it the right way instead of backing into it.

The game started a bit sluggish for both sides, possibly due to the slightly (for Eastern Time) early start. And it was the Wolverines who took the lead into intermission but the Gophers got the early lead after a Brady Skjei unassisted tally about halfway through the period, on a seeing-eye fluttering shot from the point.

Michigan tied it shortly after and took the lead just before intermission. First, forward Evan Allen put a pretty harmless shot on net from – basically – a spot even with the goal line (from the corner). But Adam Wilcox channeled his Jeff Frazee and the puck snuck between his leg pad and the goal post.

Just before intermission, Tyler Motte and Andrew Copp hooked up for a nice transition goal. Jake Bischoff got caught a bit at the Gopher blue line. Motte got in deep and had the puck in the corner – Copp came into the zone through the slot, and beat his back-checker Taylor Cammarata to tap in the puck over Adam Wilcox.

The second period was a bit of the same in terms of fits and starts but the Gophers found their...
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by: Jeff Oftos on Friday, March 14th, 2014 12 comments! | Post your comment

Gophers Lead Late, but Lose in Shootout in Columbus
Minnesota One Point Short of Share of B1G Title

Columbus – After holding a lead for all but 3 of the first 56 minutes, the Gophers all but had their hands around the first ever B1G regular season title.
A late Buckeye goal and another poor shootout performance later, Minnesota (24-4-6 Overall, 13-2-3-0 B1G) was a point short of clinching a share of the B1G title, and will need at least two points in Ann Arbor next weekend to guarantee themselves the B1G championship.

Saturday night’s game got off to another great start for the Gophers, as Minnesota got an early powerplay and capitalized, with Kyle Rau collecting a rebound on the short side and sliding it past OSU goalie Christian Frey. Mike Reilly and Travis Boyd assisted on the goal at 2:32. The Gophers thought they had doubled their lead in the first period when Tom Serratore dented the twine, but the goal was disallowed due to Gabe Guertler interfering with the goaltender.

The Gophers ended the first with a 1-0 lead, and after an uneventful second period the teams started the third at that same 1-0 score. Mike Reilly took an early penalty and the Buckeyes capitalized, as Ohio State’s leading scorer Ryan Dzingel scored his 18th of the year to knot the game at 1-1 just 2:31 into the third. Minnesota responded only 24 seconds later when Gabe Guertler deflected a Ben Marshall shot from the left point past OSU’s Frey to give the Gophers another lead.

The B1G title was in their grasp, but Ohio State had other ideas, ...
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by: Chris Eckes on Saturday, March 8th, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment

Gophers Beat Buckeyes, Inch Closer to Big Ten Title

Win clinches Top-2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament

The calendar has turned to March and the stretch run is here. Everything seems to get extra tough this time of year – no matter the opponent or where you are playing. As a young team, it’s certainly plausible that you could argue the last two regular season series would be extra tough for the Maroon & Gold. But the Gophers really stuck with it after a few rough patches in the first period and took care of business on Friday night against Ohio State with a 5 – 1 win.

Goldy got off to a great start as Justin Kloos popped home a rebound from Taylor Cammarata and it was 1 – 0 early. After Connor Reilly just missed a wide open chance in front which really would have put the Buckeyes on their heels early, OSU really turned the tables. They pinned the Gophers in their zone for a few long stretches but the Gophers battled out of it. They ended up with a late power play and increased the lead to 2 – 0 at intermission when Kyle Rau scooped in a rebound from his place to the right of the net.

Taylor Cammarata got the Gophers up 3 – 0 with a great one-time shot from the circle as the 2nd period got underway. It was the 2nd power play goal of the game for the Gophers and the game was teetering. Unfortunately, Tanner Fritz was able to knock in a rebound just seconds later after a fortunate bounce got the Buckeyes a short breakaway.

But, before OSU could gain any momentum, the Gophers put the game away with two quick goals. First, Connor Reilly atoned for his pipe shot in the first period by ti...
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by: Jeff Oftos on Friday, March 7th, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment

Battle Hymn Plays as Gophers Sweep Nittany Lions
Serratore scores game-winner in 2-1 win on senior night

Minneapolis, Minn. – Don Lucia set the table for senior night by starting all five of his seniors and his senior class delivered. Michael Shibrowski made 26 saves and Tom Serratore got the game-winning goal as Minnesota defeated Penn State 2-1 in front of 10,045 at Mariucci Arena.

“It’s a pretty good moment. Last run here on the big pond, so I couldn’t ask for a better moment to end my career here on Mariucci,” said Serratore. “Our line was buzzing for the most part and we started to connect there. Our team had a rough second period, so we went back in the locker room after and talked about what we needed to do to get the job done. Fortunately our line stepped up and was able to put one away.”

The Gophers (23-4-5, 12-2-2 Big Ten) go into the final two weekends of conference play with a seven-point lead over Wisconsin. If the Gophers take care of business, it could cap a heck of a turnaround for a program that was swept by Alaska-Anchorage in the WCHA playoffs four years ago. The class followed-up that early playoff exit with a back-to-back MacNaugton Cups, and have a potential inaugural Big Ten regular season title and third consecutive NCAA playoff trip ahead of them.

Looking back, the 2010-11 class was a bit of a change for Minnesota recruiting. Lucia added some age and grit to his lineup with Serratore and Parenteau. He also went a little off the radar with Nate Condon an older recruit from Wausau, Wisc. And the...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Saturday, March 1st, 2014 1 comments! | Post your comment

Gophers Steamroll Nittany Lions
Five Unanswered Goals Lead Minnesota to 5-1 Win

Minneapolis - There are two ways a team can come out of a weekend off: sloppy, or rested.

The Gophers were a bit of both Friday night, struggling in the very early minutes of the first period before finding their legs and flattening the Penn State Nittany Lions 5-1 at Mariucci Arena.

Minnesota (22-4-5 Overall, 11-2-2-0 B1G) came into the game nursing a slender one point lead in the B1G standings with two games in hand over the Wisconsin Badgers, who are idle this weekend. The Gophers could definitely use the points to regain their comfortable cushion in the league standings, and a dominating win tonight went a long way towards restoring that.

Penn State (6-21-2, 2-12-1-0) got an early powerplay in the first and capitalized, taking a 1-0 lead on a bungled Minnesota line change just 3:12 into the game. Another bad change led to a 2-on-0 chance for PSU, but Adam Wilcox made a big save to keep Minnesota within striking distance at 1-0 down.

Early on in the period, head coach Don Lucia was shuffling the lines due to the absence of Tom Serratore. Serratore, who dressed for the game, left sometime in the first period. Official ‘U’ sources say that Serratore left the game with an “upper body injury”, but that it was precautionary and he shouldn’t be out for too long.

The Gophers would tighten up and quickly turn the tables on the Nittany Lions, knotting the score at 1-1 just 7:55 into the period. Mike Reilly intercepted a pass at the bluelin...
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by: Chris Eckes on Friday, February 28th, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment

Gophers Overcome Flat First to Beat Michigan 4-1
Series Sweep Puts Gophers 7 Points Clear of Wisconsin, 12 Ahead of Michigan & Ohio State

Minneapolis – Coming off a sweep at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers last weekend, the Minnesota Gophers (20-4-5 Overall, 9-2-2-0 B1G) saw their once formidable lead in the B1G conference standings shrink to just four points over the Badgers and six over the Michigan Wolverines. With the Wolverines coming into town, the Gophers knew what they had to do to maintain their lead.

A 4-1 win Saturday night completed the sweep for Minnesota, who extended their B1G conference lead to 7 points over Wisconsin and 12 points over the Wolverines and Ohio State in the process.

The first period was a sloppy one for the Gophers. Michigan took an early 1-0 lead at just 1:31 of the period when Andrew Sinelli scored his first of the season on a shot from the high slot. Michigan would retain the advantage in play for the remainder of the period, looking much crisper than the Gophers in the first.

Unlike the Wolverines last night, though, the Gophers were able to score before their “bad period” ended to go into the locker room tied. Sam Warning scored his 11th of the year at 17:46 on a tip out front off a Kyle Rau shot along the ice from the right wing boards, and just like that the game was 1-1.

Both teams came out strong in the second, trading two-on-one chances back and forth early in the frame. The puck luck started to turn the Gophers’ way in the second period. Connor Reilly’s booming s...
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by: Chris Eckes on Saturday, February 15th, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment

Minnesota Mauls Michigan 5-3
Gophers win first game over Wolverines since November 2010

Minneapolis, Minn.—The ‘first’ Big Ten Title is a three-horse race between Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. The Gophers let Wisconsin get back into things last weekend, but #2 Minnesota (20-4-5) won a 5-3 race-horse hockey game over the #10 Wolverines (14-8-3) Friday to assert themselves as the leader down the stretch in front of 10,002 at Mariucci Arena.

“When you play Michigan, you understand they usually have a great 10 minute game to start out,” said Gophers coach Don Lucia. “We talked about it in our meetings and we wanted to make sure we matched that energy.”

Minnesota controlled play throughout the first 20 minutes outshooting Michigan 16-5. The Wolverines looked cautious on the big ice, leaving big gaps for Minnesota to gain speed through the neutral zone and Michigan kept getting beat to loose pucks in their own end.

“It was a good paced game, and we should be able to play in that kind of game and we did eventually,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “But we got ourselves behind the eight-ball, you can’t come in here and let them take a commanding lead like that—although we escaped the first period with only a 1-0 deficit.”

Justin Kloos was the player who gave Minnesota that 1-0 lead, scoring his 10th goal of the season 5:29 into the first period. Nate Condon kicked the puck toward the neutral zone, Kloos stepped right into it, deking a Michigan defender onto his knees along the way, and then shooting it in off the near...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Friday, February 14th, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment

Bucky Beats Gophers 2-1 for Sweep
Wisconsin Gets Back Into Big Ten Race

Madison, Wisc.—It wasn’t the weekend Minnesota fans wanted, but it was definitely an eye opener for the Gophers. Wisconsin (16-8-2) tallied a pair of 2-1 wins over top ranked Minnesota, and suddenly the Gophers (19-4-5) have a Big Ten Title race on their hands.

Minnesota outshot Wisconsin 29-27, and it was the goalies shined. Adam Wilcox played his usual solid game, but Joel Rumpel, who struggled to find his game early in the season, was the big reason Wisconsin got their first sweep over Minnesota in 10 years.

“Didn’t he make it look easy,” said Mike Eaves to Rob Andringa after the game. “Like he was square, he moved well, his play with the puck—he was solid this whole weekend.”

Rumpel’s play held the Gophers to one goal both nights and now Minnesota’s Big Ten lead isn’t so comfy. Minnesota with 12 games played has 26 points, Wisconsin with 12 games played has 22 points and Michigan with 10 games played has 20 points. The first place Gophers control their own destiny with four games against the Wolverines, a series at home against Penn State and on the road with Ohio State. Besides games against the Gophers, Michigan will finish its series with Penn State and then have another series with the Nittany Lions and additional series against Ohio State and Michigan State.

It wasn’t unexpected for Wisconsin to give the Gophers all they could handle this weekend, as the Badgers were the pre-season favorites in the Big Ten’s inaugural season. However, Wi...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Saturday, February 8th, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment

Unbeaten Streak Over as Gophers Fall 2-1 to Badgers
UW's Rumpel, McCabe the Heroes for Bucky

Madison, WI –- All good things must come to an end.

Despite a good effort from the Maroon & Gold, great goaltending from Wisconsin’s Joel Rumpel combined with the Badgers' patented brand of opportunistic offense felled the Gophers for the first time since November 24th, 2013. The loss was also the Gophers' first in B1G conference play.

Wisconsin got on the board first, capitalizing on a questionable interference penalty early on the Gophers’ Justin Holl to take the lead. Badger Frankie Simonelli’s shot from the left point squirted under Adam Wilcox’s pads and into the net at 14:47, and give Wisconsin a 1-0 lead.

The Gophers would bounce right back, though, as Kyle Rau forced a turnover behind the Badger net, which led to a Taylor Cammarata one-time goal at 17:20 of the period to tie the game at 1-1, and the first period would end that way.

Both goaltenders were tested in the second period, with Wisconsin and Minnesota trading scoring chances, but Adam Wilcox and Wisconsin’s Joel Rumpel were up to the task, both stopping every shot they faced to keep the game tied at one heading into the third.

The Gophers started to tilt the ice in Wisconsin’s direction in the third, dominating the possession and the shots on goal. However, it was Wisconsin that would score late to take the lead in the third. Jake McCabe danced around towards the slot and fired a shot through traffic that beat Wilcox. The goal, at 13:47, gave the Badgers a slim 2-1 lead which they would never relinquish. Minnesota garnered ...
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by: Chris Eckes on Thursday, February 6th, 2014 4 comments! | Post your comment

Gophers Ride Rau Goal, Wilcox Shutout to Beat Spartans
Spartan Goalie Hildebrand Makes 37 Saves To Keep It Close

Minneapolis, MN – What a difference a day makes.

Coming off a disappointing tie and shootout loss in Friday’s contest, Minnesota (18-2-5 Overall, 7-0-2-0 B1G) returned to its winning ways Saturday, dominating the Michigan State Spartans (8-12-4 Overall, 2-4-3-3 B1G) en route to a 1-0 win. Despite an early disallowed goal, great Spartan goaltending and suspect finishing, the Gophers took control of the game early and never looked back. Minnesota played keep away with the puck all night and beat Sparty behind a Kyle Rau 1st period goal.

The Gopher team that came out onto the ice Saturday looked nothing like their Friday night counterparts. From the opening draw, Minnesota controlled every facet of the game. A big edge in offensive zone possession led to lots of Gopher scoring chances, but their first great chance, a would-be Ryan Reilly goal at 2:29, was waived off – the puck was saved on the goal line by an MSU defender.

The Gophers would continue their dominance throughout the period. Kyle Rau got the team on the scoreboard at 6:44 of the first, getting the puck past MSU goalie Jake Hildebrand on a second effort from down low. Mike Reilly and Hudson Fasching, who now both have points in 5 straight games, got the assists.

Although Minnesota piled up a 17-4 shots on goal advantage in the first, they were only able to get the one goal, and despite a great effort in the period only went into the intermission up 1-0.

The second period was more of the same, with the Gophers contin...
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by: Chris Eckes on Saturday, February 1st, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment

Sparty Tops Gophers in Shootout

Michigan State Again Has Goldy’s Number in the Shootout

After a terrible series against their rival Michigan, last weekend, you knew that Michigan State would come out with their best effort tonight, and unfortunately it was enough to defeat the Gophers 3 -2 in a shootout. The Gophers recovered from a terrible few minutes in the first period but could not come up with an extra point after 65 minutes, losing after a total of six rounds.

The game was pretty evenly played through the first 10 minutes or so, but State took over and took a two goal lead into intermission. They first capitalized on a big mental blunder between Wilcox and his defensemen. On a dump in, Wilcox played the puck to his right, but three Gophers who were in the exact same spot decided to run into each other, Keystone Cops style. While they laid on the ice, Matt Berry gathered the puck, walked into the crease and passed to Mike Ferrantino, who tapped in an easy one.

Just moments later, after fumbling the puck around their zone a few times, not able to get the puck cleared, Villiam Haag – quickly becoming a Gopher nemesis – wisely put a quick wrist shot on net as Jake Bischoff for whatever reason was standing directly in front of Wilcox. Adam never saw it and Sparty had the crowd quieted and the Gophers scrambling.

The Gophers wouldn’t go quietly, at least in the period. Hudson Fasching slammed home a one-time rebound of a Travis Boyd shot to cut the lead in half. The power play tally, Fasching’s third in as many games, was big to get the team back into it before the break.

The Gophers...
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by: Jeff Oftos on Friday, January 31st, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment

Gophers Win First North Star College Cup
Wilcox stones two Bulldogs and Gophers get goals from Rau and Ambroz in shootout

Photo by: Craig Cotner Ambroz with the shoot out winner. St. Paul, Minn.—Gopher Coach Don Lucia told the media that Adam Wilcox was his best player Friday night as he made a season high 38 saves against St. Cloud State. Saturday, Wilcox had to match that total against Minnesota Duluth, but then came up with two more in the shootout leading Minnesota (18-2-4) to win the first North Star College Cup in front of 14,518 at Xcel Energy Center.

“I’m proud of our guys for finding the way this weekend. In both games we played two good teams and both games were a struggle,” said Lucia. “It was great to see our power play come alive this weekend, it has shown signs here in the last month, six weeks, it had been improving, but to get a couple power play goals each night was obviously huge and certainly the play of Adam kept us in there when we needed him.”

Minnesota had lost its previous three shootouts to Boston College, Michigan State, and Colgate, but against Minnesota-Duluth, tournament MVP Wilcox stopped both Alex Iafallo and Caleb Herbert while Kyle Rau and Seth Ambroz converted on their attempts. The game goes in the books for the NCAA as a 4-4 tie, but the Gophers came away with a much different feeling than the Bulldogs.

“I thought it was a heck of a hockey game and I thought both teams played hard as well, probably deserv...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Saturday, January 25th, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment

Gophers Win North Star Cup Opener 4-1 Over SCSU
Will Face UMD in Championship Game Saturday Evening

The first annual North Star College Cup got off to a rousing start in the Friday afternoon game, with UMD beating Minnesota State 5-4 in overtime. What augured to be the most interesting game of the tournament, however, was Friday night’s matchup of the #1 Gophers against the #5 St. Cloud State Huskies.

The matchup did not disappoint. The two top-ranked teams played 60 minutes of up-and-down hockey, with the Gophers winning a close game 4-1 behind goals from Travis Boyd, Nate Condon, Hudson Fasching and Seth Ambroz.

St. Cloud State came out of the opening gates strong, winning the first five minutes of play by bottling up Minnesota in their own zone. The Huskies’ two-man forecheck was especially effective in creating Gopher turnovers early on, helping them jump out to a 6-1 shots advantage early.

However, Minnesota was able to weather the storm, and took advantage of the first powerplay of the game to take a key 1-0 lead at 8:58. Hudson Fasching won the puck in the near corner before threading a pass into the slot, where a waiting Travis Boyd backhanded it home.

The goal was especially important in that it served to momentarily quell the St. Cloud attack. They’d come right back, though, as a Jake Bischoff hooking minor gave the Huskies a first period powerplay. The man-advantage was effective, giving St. Cloud plenty of scoring opportunities, but Adam Wilcox and the Gopher penalty killers came up big to keep the H...
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by: Chris Eckes on Friday, January 24th, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment

Warning Tricks Buckeyes
Sam Warning scores three as Minnesota beats Ohio State 4-2

Photo by: Craig Cotner Warning buries the puck to complete the hat trick. Minneapolis, Minn.—Sam Warning started off the season with five goals in the first four games and then went 15 games without one. Don Lucia moved him onto a line with Nate Condon last Monday and he’s found his scoring touch again.

“Sam can be a little bit of a streaky player from an offensive standpoint, but he scored some goals around the blue paint which is something we talked about and I thought that Condon was really good and maybe that goal he scored last weekend kind of got his confidence going as well,” said Gophers coach Don Lucia. “Hockey like all sports is a game of confidence. When you feel good about yourself you usually play better.”

Warning certainly was playing better scoring a natural hat trick against the Buckeyes, leading the top-ranked Gophers (17-2-3) to a 4-2 win in front of 9,972 at Mariucci Arena on Hockey Day Minnesota.

The Gophers started play dominating the pace as Ohio State scrambled to find their bearings on the 200 x 100 sheet. It was the Buckeyes first game on the big ice this season and they left huge soft spots in the neutral and defensive zone for the opening few minutes. Christian Isackson and Michael Brodzinksi both drew iron on one-timers as Minnesota outshot Ohio State 16-5 in the first 20 minutes.

“For us, first time on a big sheet all year, and I...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Saturday, January 18th, 2014 10 comments! | Post your comment

Classic Win for Minnesota
Cammarata goal gets Gophers past Buckeyes 1-0

Photo by: Craig Cotner Seth Ambroz crashes the net. Minneapolis, TCF Bank Stadium—Temperatures fell to single digits for Friday night’s Hockey City Classic, and it was a single goal that was the difference in the game. Minnesota’s Taylor Cammarata got the game winner early in the second period, as the top-ranked Gophers moved to 16-2-3 on the season in front of 45,021 fans.

The teams came into the game expecting goals would be tough to come by, but also knowing goals could come from anywhere with the right bounce. Cammarata got the bounce early in the second by re-directing a Kyle Rau shot. Ohio State goalie Matt Tomkins couldn’t handle the shot cleanly, and the puck maintained just enough momentum to cross the goal line. The goal at 4:20 was typical of the goals Don Lucia has seen in his experience with outdoor college hockey, he was just glad his team came out on top this time.

“It was the type of game that we expected it to be,” said Lucia. “You had to chip and chase. You’re not going to be able to make a lot of pretty plays. But we did enough to get the one goal.”

Adam Wilcox struggled last season to freeze the puck while playing against the Badgers at Soldier Field in last year's Hockey City Classic, but this week he focused on how the puck came off his pads during the outdoor practices.

“Last year I didn’t realize really how much the puck bounced differently from y...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Saturday, January 18th, 2014 1 comments! | Post your comment

Gophers Beat Pesky Nittany Lions 5-2 for Sweep
Minnesota Pulls Away behind Warning’s Two Goals

It wasn’t a dominating weekend by any means, but a road sweep is never anything to sneeze at.

The Minnesota Gophers (15-2-3 Overall, 5-0-1-0 B1G) will leave Happy Valley with two wins. Although Penn State played Minnesota much tougher than anyone could have expected, the Gophers managed to grind away and secure six big conference points.

Minnesota would score first, on a powerplay just a minute and change into the first period. Taylor Cammarata saved a clearing attempt at the blue line, and a finesse saucer pass to Mike Reilly was the start of a tic-tac-toe passing play to Travis Boyd at the left circle. Boyd inched in towards goaltender Eamon McAdam before firing a wrist shot into the back of the net. Reilly and Hudson Fasching had the assists on the goal at 2:25 of the first.

The first period was a good one for the Gophers, who outclassed Penn State for 19 minutes of hockey. They could not capitalize on any of their other good scoring chances in the period, getting just the one goal in the period. Although Adam Wilcox was able to keep the Nittany Lions off the scoreboard in the final minute of action, a late flurry swung the momentum back towards Penn State as the first period ended with a 1-0 Gopher lead.

Penn State carried their momentum into the second period, and looked like the better team for much of the middle frame. Taylor Cammarata drew an early period penalty and put the Gophers on the powerplay, but Penn State garnered the best of the chances on the man advantage, hitting the cro...
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by: Chris Eckes on Monday, January 13th, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment

Gophers Top Nittany Lions

Three Gopher Goals by Defensemen Enough To Squeak By Penn State

All can step away from the edge, for now.

The Gophers survived an upset in their first ever game against conference opponent Penn State, with a 3 – 2 win in the series opener on Sunday night.

Most expected the Gophers to pick up 6 easy points this weekend, and it looked to be the case early. Brady Skjei got the squad up 1 – 0 around the three minute mark. They doubled their lead in the 2nd period but Penn State cut it to 2 – 1 with less than two minutes before the break.

Penn State tied it early in the third, and you could feel the entirety of GPL tighten like a snare drum. But not to fear as Ben Marshall put the Gophers up 3 – 2 with about five minutes left, and they held on for the regulation win.

It’s pretty clear the Gophers are not playing their best hockey of the season right now, especially when you win a road game without any forwards scoring a goal. But ultimately there is time to fix whatever is causing this team to become sluggish – getting three league points tonight is all we need to worry about until tomorrow. The Gophers go for the sweep then at 6PM on the Big Ten Network....
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by: Jeff Oftos on Sunday, January 12th, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment

Minnesota Bounces Back With 6-2 Win Over RPI
13-2-3 Gophers get goals from five different players in victory

Minneapolis—The Minnesota model for winning is holding their opponents to two goals or less each night and counting on their offense for at least three. Minnesota’s offense came up with only two Friday, but potted six goals Saturday en route to a 6-2 win over RPI in front of 9,632 at Mariucci Arena.

Don Lucia was back behind the bench after flying home from Sweden Friday night. Also back in the lineup were Brady Skjei and Hudson Fasching. Lucia felt that some of his scorers had gotten stale in the lineup he has used most of this season, so he shuffled the forwards against the Engineers, and it sparked Kyle Rau to his fourth and fifth goals of the season.

Having all six defensemen back in the lineup also allowed the Gophers to nearly shutout the nation’s top scoring line and return to pushing the pace of play throughout the evening.

“Their D corps skates really well,” said RPI Coach Seth Appert. “It’s a really mobile D corps that can shut you down if they have that mentality and they move the puck well, so they transition out of the zone.”

Minnesota got away from those qualities against Colgate, who went on to shutout second ranked Ferris State in the Mariucci Classic Championship game 3-0, playing a more cautious approach than Minnesota has brought to the rink this season. They changed their approach Saturday, with defensemen maintaining tighter gaps back through the neutral zone and then pushing into transitio...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Saturday, January 4th, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment

Minnesota Falls in Shootout to Colgate
Raiders Ruin #1 v #2 Match-Up Against Ferris State

Minneapolis—The top ranked Gophers have two losses and three ties on their record, but the introduction of shootouts this season makes it feel like they have five losses this season. Travis Boyd scored a power play goal for Minnesota midway through the third period tying the game, but after a scoreless overtime, the Gophers came up short 2-1 to Colgate in the shootout in front of 9,520 at Mariucci Arena. The 12-2-3 Gophers will play 8-7-4 RPI in the consolation game at 7 pm.

“We had a 1-0 lead in the second, we get a 2-on-0 and we don’t convert, and then they score 30 seconds later and now it’s a game,” said Minnesota Associate Head Coach Mike Guentzel. “Ultimately, the bottom line for me tonight is you turn pucks over like we did, on the blue line and in the neutral zone, it’s going to cost you a hockey game. We tied, but it feels like a loss and the turnovers are something we’ve got to address.”

Guentzel was the acting head coach for the Gophers Friday as Head Coach Don Lucia, wing Hudson Fasching, and defenseman Brady Skjei were still travelling back from the World Junior Championship Tournament in Sweden. The USA team lost in the quarterfinals to Russia on Thursday, but didn’t arrive back until Friday night. Guentzel wasn’t sure if the players would be back in the lineup Saturday against RPI, but said “anytime you’re a coach, you want to put your best players on the rink, and give yourself the best chance [to win].”

Missing tw...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Friday, January 3rd, 2014 0 comments | Post your comment

Gophers Overwhelm Spartans Offensively, Take 4 of 6 Points
Minnesota Offense Finally Breaks Staunch Michigan State Defense

Friday night’s shootout loss was a classic Gopher performance – Minnesota put 46 shots on the Spartan net and had the puck for the vast majority of the game, but just could not get that separation goal. In the end, the Spartans kept themselves in the game long enough to score the tying goal and earned themselves a tie and a shootout win because of it.

Saturday afternoon, the Gophers got those separation goals early and were able to ride the lead all the way to a win.

Minnesota (12-2-2 Overall, 3-0-1-0 B1G) drew a lot of momentum early from their special teams. A weak spot of the team early in the year, the Gophers killed a Michigan State powerplay just five minutes into the game before turning on the offensive pressure. Minnesota’s offensive zone time and volume of shots took their toll on the Spartan defense – numerous Michigan State defensemen limped off the ice after blocking Gopher shots – and eventually the Gophers would strike first after an extended shift in the MSU zone. Christian Isackson got his own rebound on a shallow-angle shot and stuffed the puck between the near post and Spartan goalie Jake Hildebrand’s right leg to give the Gophers a first period 1-0 lead.

Minnesota could never extend the lead on Friday night, and they let the Spartans hang around long enough to get themselves back into the game. Saturday afternoon was a different story. The Gophers got a powerplay tally from Seth Ambroz late in the first period and a Mike Reilly goal early in the se...
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by: Chris Eckes on Saturday, December 7th, 2013 8 comments! | Post your comment

State Edges Gophers in a Shootout

Spartan Goaltending, Shootout Effort Gives MSU Edge

It’s pretty clear the Gophers are a better team than Michigan State in a number of ways, but finishing was certainly not one of those attributes tonight. After playing very well and dominating in many aspects, including peppering the Spartan net with over 40 shots, the Gophers and Spartans skated to a 2 – 2 65 minute tie on Friday night, with Michigan State gaining an extra tally in the Big Ten standings after scoring a 1 – 0 shootout win.

It was what college hockey fans would probably figure to be a typical first period at Munn Arena. Certainly they don’t have a reputation for having a rabid, loud fan base and it appeared at puck drop like there weren’t many people actually there. Regardless, it was a fairly eventful period if only because of what looked to be a serious leg injury to senior defenseman Jake Parenteau, who crashed into the boards after making a hit on a Spartan forward. His leg bent awkwardly and he was in significant pain as he was helped off the ice.

The Gophers did manage to get the lead just before the intermission. Jake Bischoff corralled the puck down through the circle and his pass over to Taylor Cammarata was slapped past Spartan goalie Jake Hildebrand by Cammarata, his 4th of the year. Hildebrand got a piece of it, but it slipped by him and just over the goal line.

The Spartans tied it just one minute into the 2nd period. A brutal turnover by Mike Reilly at the offensive blue line led eventually to Mackenzie MacEachern coming in on a partial breakaway. Adam Wilcox didn’t do hi...
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by: Jeff Oftos on Friday, December 6th, 2013 0 comments | Post your comment

Gophers Beat Bucky 4-3 for a Sweep
Ambroz scored two goals, and Minnesota opens Big Ten play with two wins

Minneapolis—The Gophers have leaned heavily on their freshman class early this season. The class came into Saturday night having scored 25 of the team’s 54 goals, but Saturday night against Wisconsin, juniors Seth Ambroz and Kyle Rau showed the older guys still got it.

Rau chipped in a goal, an assist, and won numerous key face-offs throughout the night. But it was Ambroz who scored two goals, including the game-winner with just 26 seconds remaining as top ranked Minnesota (11-2-1) swept Wisconsin (4-5-1) with a 4-3 win in front of 9,973 at Mariucci Arena.

“I thought Boyd’s line was really good all weekend long, and a big reason why we were able to get two wins,” said Don Lucia. “It was a much harder game tonight like we expected it to be, there wasn’t a lot of space--we had to fight for space on the ice.”

Lucia has a class of seven freshmen showing they have the ability to play at a high level. However, a group of veteran forwards, Tom Serratore, Travis Boyd, and Ambroz have shown the ability to fight for space when the game gets difficult. The game got difficult Saturday night as Wisconsin got on the board first when their defensemen Frank Simonelli got in transition, found some open space on an even man rush, and took advantage of it scoring 4:23 into the first period.

“You have to stay with games,” said Lucia. “You’re not always going to be in control when you play good teams, there are going to be periods ...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Saturday, November 30th, 2013 7 comments! | Post your comment

Gophers Flatten Badgers 4-1
Ambroz Scores Twice to Pace Minnesota

Minneapolis – Two very different styles of hockey clashed as Minnesota played Wisconsin for the 268th time today at Mariucci Arena. Wisconsin plays their defensive, slow-it-down style of play, and is very good playing to their “systems”. In the past, this style has given Minnesota fits. This version of the Gophers, however, would not be slowed down by the Badger trap. Minnesota skated around Wisconsin en route to a 4-1 victory, getting first period goals by Mike Reilly and Seth Ambroz to put them ahead for good.

A 4:00 start time meant a scant crowd at Mariucci arena, but the Gophers didn’t seem to need the energy of a raucous home crowd to get going. Games between the Gophers and the Badgers in the recent past seem to have a very similar quality: the Gophers get the majority of the chances, but Wisconsin capitalizes on their limited chances to keep the game close. The same held true for much of the game tonight. Minnesota carried the play early on in the period, but Wisconsin struck first on just their second shot of the game. A bouncing puck fell right to Joe LaBate in the slot, and he put it past Gopher goalie Adam Wilcox before Wilcox knew what had happened. The goal, scored at 6:31, put the Badgers up 1-0.
Minnesota would strike back just under three minutes later on the powerplay, as Mike Reilly’s seeing-eye shot made it through a sea of bodies and into the net. The Gophers would tack on another one at 13:14, as Seth Ambroz banked the puck off Badger goalie Landon Peterson from behind the goal line. The Gophers we...
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by: Chris Eckes on Friday, November 29th, 2013 0 comments | Post your comment

Lethargic Gophers Fall 6-2 to Bulldogs
Poor Special Teams Play Dooms Minnesota

Minneapolis - Minnesota may have been thinking back to Friday night’s 6-1 triumph when designing the game plan to Sunday afternoon’s contest. In Friday’s game, Minnesota-Duluth drew first blood, but the Gophers came back with six unanswered goals, paving the way to a 6-1 win.

The Gophers again let the Bulldogs score first in Sunday’s contest. After that, though, the two games could not have been more divergent. UMD scored three times in the first period and never looked back, handing Minnesota their second loss of the season by a 6-2 score.

The Gophers (9-2-1 Overall) got off to a good start in the first period, controlling the puck and peppering Duluth goalie Matt McNeely often in the early going. Minnesota would kill its own momentum, though, on an early powerplay. Brady Skjei went off for tripping at 4:43, but two quick Bulldog penalties later and the Gophers had a minute of 5x3 with just under seven minutes gone in the opening frame.

The powerplay, slogging along at just 14.3% coming into the game, came up empty once again. Actually, worse than empty. Dominic Toninato scored shorthanded at 7:47 to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead. After the penalties were killed off, UMD seized the momentum. A great offensive zone shift in which the Gophers simply could not clear the puck led to another Bulldog goal, this time from Tony Cameranesi. The even strength goal at 10:12 gave Duluth a two-goal lead.

Minnesota would take two penalties within three seconds of each other in the 15th minute of the period, giving the ...
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by: Chris Eckes on Sunday, November 24th, 2013 5 comments! | Post your comment

Gophers Snipe Their Way Past Bulldogs 6-1
Minnesota Gets Six Goals from Six Different Players in Victory

Minneapolis—The Gophers almost looked disinterested as they sleepwalked through the early moments of their series with in-state, but now out-of-conference rival Bulldogs. Minnesota-Duluth got on the board first, but Minnesota responded after a television timeout with three first period goals over a three-minute span en route to a 6-1 win over Minnesota-Duluth in front of 9,918 at Mariucci Arena.

The Gophers (9-1-1) have been getting scoring from throughout their lineup this season, and Friday was no different. Six different players scored, including players from all four lines. Adam Wilcox got a night off last Saturday against Minnesota State, but shook off any rust quickly as he made a career high 36 saves on 37 shots. Wilcox fought the puck early, giving up a few rebounds, but settled in after an early goal.

“Really the difference for me was Wilcox was very good in the net, we had a little puck luck go our way and they didn’t,” said Minnesota Coach Don Lucia. “That was not a 6-1 game.”

While the five-on-five play has been solid, Lucia is still searching for someone to play the off wing on the top power play. It’s been Travis Boyd, it’s been Connor Reilly, and Friday night it was Michael Brodzinski. The power play groups had a couple short opportunities as they went 1-5 with the man advantage, but it was Brodzinski scoring the unit’s lone power play goal.

“We’ve been rotating guys in different spots, and there ar...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Friday, November 22nd, 2013 0 comments | Post your comment

3-0 Win Means Battle Hymn Time at Mariucci Arena
Shibrowski Gets Start and Delivers 25 Save Shutout
Minneapolis--After nearly 10-months serving as the back-up, Michael Shibrowski got another chance to play between the pipes for Minnesota. Lucia felt the senior showed great commitment to the team, gave him the nod, and Shibrowski delivered. The senior from Benilde-St. Margret’s made 25 saves as the top ranked Gophers (8-1-1) beat the Mavericks (4-7-0) 3-0 in front of 9,838 at Mariucci Arena.

Shibrowski played only three games last season. He started two games against Michigan State and Michigan Tech, and then got into the action against Alaska Anchorage near the end of a 7-1 blowout. The emergence of Adam Wilcox and a tight WCHA race made it difficult for Don Lucia to rotate goalies last season. Lucia knew he wanted to find a game to play Shibrowski in this season, and during a meeting with the captains Kyle Rau and Nate Condon the coach heard the players also wanted Shibrowski to get a game.

“Guys love him, he’s a tremendous teammate,” said Lucia. “He’s a guy that even though he hasn’t played much, he works as hard as anybody on our team. He stays after practice and takes shots from the guys, and the guys were excited for his start tonight. I thought they would be and I thought we played a little bit better, a bit tighter defensively tonight.”

Minnesota State didn’t make it an easy night for Shibrowski either. The Mavericks funneled pucks and traffic to the paint, but there weren’t many rebounds for them once they got ...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Saturday, November 16th, 2013 4 comments! | Post your comment

Gophers Beat Mavericks 4-1
Justin Kloos, Mike Reilly, Connor Reilly and Seth Ambroz Score for Minnesota

Minneapolis – Coming off a split at Notre Dame in which they looked depressed on Friday and manic on Saturday, the Gophers (7-1-1 Overall) looked calm, cool and collected in their 4-1 victory over the Minnesota State Mavericks (4-5-0) Friday night. Minnesota scored twice in the first period to set the tone and pick up another early-season win.

The Gophers got off to a quick start, getting a grade ‘A’ chance just seconds after the puck dropped. Although the Sam Warning slapshot and Kyle Rau rebound shot squirted away to the corner, it was a sign of good things to come for the Maroon and Gold. Minnesota’s early pressure resulted in a powerplay just 4:13 into the game, but the Gophers’ PP, clipping along at just 13.9% on the year, failed to capitalize.

Minnesota kept at the Mavericks, and their territorial advantage only heightened throughout the opening frame. Just past the halfway mark of the period, the Gophers struck gold to take a 1-0 lead. Nate Condon had the puck on the left half-boards and somehow managed to thread a backhand pass to Justin Kloos streaking up the slot. Kloos fired a snapshot above Mavs goalie Huggins’ glove and into the back of the net. The tally came at 10:31 of the period, with assists from Condon and Brady Skjei.

The only quality chance of the period for the Mavericks came late on a 2-on-1 resulting from a bad pinch decision by Ben Marshall, but the Minnesota State skater shot the puck wide. The Gophers would come right back from that mistake and score again ...
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by: Chris Eckes on Friday, November 15th, 2013 0 comments | Post your comment

Gophers Salvage Series Split in South Bend
Minnesota overcomes turnovers and penalties to beat Notre Dame 5-4
South Bend -- Minnesota didn’t bring their best hockey with them to South Bend, but they made enough plays Saturday night for a 5-4 win, earning two points against one of college hockey’s top teams in front of 4,862 fans at Compton Ice Arena. The #1 Gophers got all five of their goals from freshmen, and Adam Wilcox saved his best period of the weekend for last; making saves on all nine #4 Notre Dame shots he faced during the third to preserve the win.

Jake Bischoff scored the game winner, putting one in off the bar for the Gophers 8:57 into the third period. Connor Reilly rushed the puck through neutral ice, passed it to Taylor Cammarata who found Bischoff trailing late on the rush.

The Minnesota power play has struggled early in the season, and Notre Dame’s 1-3 forecheck especially stumped them on Friday, but Seth Ambroz got to a Mike Reilly dump-in and then won the puck over to Cammarata for a goal at 7:46. Hudson Fasching got the Gophers a 2-0 lead a few minutes later at 10:29, dancing back and forth behind the net before getting a wrap-around goal.

It looked like Minnesota might start to take control of the game when Vince Hinostroza created a turnover and caught Minnesota in transition. Shayne Taker raced into the play, turning an even-man rush into an odd-man rush, Hinostroza found the open man, and Taker sniped one to make it 2-1 at 12:35 of the first.

Justin Kloos showed off his speed a few minutes lat...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Saturday, November 9th, 2013 4 comments! | Post your comment

Sloppy Play, Poor Special Teams Doom Minnesota
Notre Dame Scores Twice on the Powerplay to Down Gophers

South Bend – Through their first six games of the season, it looked like the Minnesota Golden Gophers (5-0-1 Overall) could beat any team in the country. The performance the team turned in Friday night against Notre Dame (7-2-0), though, was unlikely to beat anybody.

A solid first period gave way to penalties and overall sloppy play later in the game, as the Gophers lost to a better Notre Dame squad 4-1 in the first game of the two-game set.

The first period started on a hesitant tone. The Gophers played a relatively cautious first ten minutes before ramping up the shot volume and getting several quality chances in the opening frame. The only powerplay chance of the period went to Minnesota with just under one minute left, but they couldn’t dent the twine, and the teams went into the dressing room scoreless after one.

Notre Dame would capitalize on their first powerplay opportunity early in the second period when Minnesota’s Tom Serratore took a hooking minor. Even though the Gophers won the ensuing faceoff, Sam Warning fanned a wide open clearing attempt right up the slot, and Notre Dame’s Brian Rust picked off the puck at the blue line before dancing past several Gopher defenders to slide the puck past Adam Wilcox and into the Minnesota net. The unassisted goal at 18:02 of the second period gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead, and Hudson Fasching took another careless penalty just minutes after to give the Irish another chance. The Gophers, though, killed that powerplay off, and a few nifty o...
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by: Chris Eckes on Friday, November 8th, 2013 1 comments! | Post your comment

Gophers Get a Statement 6-1 Win Over Eagles
Minnesota gets four goals from their blue line corps to down Boston College

Minneapolis – Two of college hockey’s premier programs put on a show Friday night, but on Sunday afternoon Minnesota put on a clinic. The Gophers got four goals in the first and didn’t look back as #1 Minnesota (5-0-1) defeated #5 Boston College (2-2-1) 6-1 at Mariucci.

“They’re the best team we’ve played,” said Boston College Jerry York. “We’ve played some good teams, but I think this is the best team.” York added Wilcox is a strength for Minnesota and that he made some nice glove during the weekend..

There was not as much up and down hockey as Friday night, but Minnesota was clinical in their scoring to start the game. The Gophers seemed to score on just about every opportunity in the opening period and Boston College goalie Brian Billett didn’t have much of a chance on any of the first four goals.

“We got a little puck luck tonight, some went in, especially early on,” said Don Lucia. “Our guys did a nice job supporting the rush and made a couple good plays off the rush.”

The win allowed Minnesota to stay undefeated through the first month of the season, but the team is still working to improve. The Gophers killed off six penalties Sunday, but also went scoreless on six power play opportunities. One constant from last season is the play of goaltender Adam Wilcox. The sophomore looked a little off his game during the first period of Friday’s game, but was steady throughout on Sunday making 31 saves ...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Sunday, October 27th, 2013 1 comments! | Post your comment

Opener Lives up to the Hype

BC edges Gophers in a Shootout, officially a 3 – 3 Tie

“That was boring, huh?” asked coach Lucia, sarcastically, after 65 minutes + of a fantastic college hockey game.

Well this game had it all. Two periods of dizzying hockey, followed by a tight third period, and an overtime in which there was no call on a clear closing of the hand(s) on a puck in the crease. It officially goes into the books as a 3 – 3 tie, but there was a 5 round shootout (for 'practice') that BC won 2 - 1.

These two teams have two things in common and everyone knows it: speed and talent. It was all on display in the first period in a dizzying array of momentum.

The Gophers came out flying and BC was behind the play. Hudson Fasching tapped home a rebound past a bowled-over Thatcher Demko just 30 seconds into the game and the arena was jumping. Gopher fans were about ready to blow the roof off the place when Travis Boyd slammed home a great pass from Kyle Rau just minutes later as it was 2 – 0 and life was good.

It didn’t last. “The pace, the plays that were made by both teams, if you made a mistake you were going to pay.” said Lucia.

BC got their feet under them after killing a penalty, and potted three goals in an amazing 71 seconds. First, Johnny Gaudreau banked a shot in off of Adam Wilcox from behind the net. This clearly rattled Wilcox, who was fighting the puck previous to that anyway. Michael Sit then took full advantage, putting a wrist shot long side and then putting a goal five hole on the next rush 11 seconds later.

“I think we just relaxed” said Travis Boyd, postgame, o...
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by: Jeff Oftos on Friday, October 25th, 2013 4 comments! | Post your comment

Gophers Sweep Host Beavers, Improve to 4-0

Warning's Two Goals, Freshman Contributions Give Gophers Victory

Coming into this season, the Gophers' looked to be young and raw after losing key offensive players Nick Bjugstad, Erik Haula, Zach Budish and Nate Schmidt to the professional leagues. As it turns out, Minnesota (4-0-0 Overall) is young, but they're far from raw.

The Gophers beat the host Bemidji State Beavers 5-1 on Saturday night to sweep the weekend series and hold onto their undefeated record for another weekend.

The game started out dicey, with an early powerplay awarded to the Beavers just 27 seconds into the game. Although Minnesota killed the penalty off, Bemidji scored just seconds after the Gophers' Hudson Fasching came out of the box to take an early lead. Just like Friday night's contest, though, that lead would not last long. A Sam Warning shot deflected up in the air from the left circle and landed behind Bemidji netminder Adam Walsh in the net to knot the game at one goal each before the first period ended.

As sloppy as the Gophers may have played in the first, they rebounded in the second, scoring twice to take a lead which they'd never relinquish. Goals by Taylor Cammarata at 11:40 and Sam Warning at 13:38 set the tone for the rest of the game, and third period markers by Mike Reilly and Justin Kloos sealed the deal.

With Wisconsin getting swept and Miami-Ohio losing this weekend, the Gophers could move up into the #1 spot in the national rankings when the new editions of the polls are released. It is much too early to take any meaning out of that fact, but it is...
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by: Chris Eckes on Sunday, October 20th, 2013 1 comments! | Post your comment

Gophers Double Up on Beavers

Gopher Speed, Offensive Talent Too Much for Beavers

It wasn’t perfect, but anytime you can head up to Bemidji and pot 6 goals, amongst the other chances they had, it was a good night. The Gophers used their speed and balanced attack to overcome an early Beaver power play goal, and open a non-conference series with Bemidji State with a 6 – 3 win on Friday night.

The first period certainly wasn’t the period most expected. Quite frankly, the Beavers were somewhat sloppy on their side of the ice most of the period which is not typical of their style in the least. The Gophers lead 15 – 6 in shots after the period and gained a 2 -1 lead and it could have been more if the Gophers had a little more finish.

First, the Beavers opened the scoring after the Gophers got caught with two minor penalties. Danny Mattson slammed home a rebound to Adam Wilcox’s right just as the first of the two minors expired.

The Gophers wasted little time tying it up however.

Connor Reilly earned his first collegiate point, flipping the puck over to a flying Travis Boyd just inside the Beaver blue line. Boyd sailed through the defense and let loose a wicked backhand knotting the game less than a minute later.

Ben Marshall put the Gophers in front with a PP goal, slapping a loose put into an open net on a four on three man advantage. After great pressure for most of the chance, Justin Kloos got the puck to the slot and Marshall jumped on it to give the Gophers their first lead.

Things turned around quickly in the second period. Bemidji clearly regrouped and began to follow their game pla...
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by: Jeff Oftos on Friday, October 18th, 2013 0 comments | Post your comment

Gophers Break the Ice with Two Wins
#5 Gophers Get 3-2 Win over #12 New Hampshire

Photo by: Craig Cotner Vinni Lettieri celebrates his 1st goal in the Maroon & Gold. It’s not every day players get to play for a trophy, and Don Lucia learned Saturday that his team wouldn’t lose its desire to win a trophy despite falling behind. The Gophers twice overcame deficits to defeat New Hampshire 3-2 for the Ice Breaker Championship in front of 9,277 at Mariucci Arena.

Minnesota got goals from three different players, Hudson Fasching, Sam Warning and Vinni Lettieri, and a solid 21 save effort from goaltender from Adam Wilcox.

“Adam didn’t have to make a lot of saves,” said Lucia. “But like he always does, he makes that crucial one at the end of the game.”

Wilcox made a right to left push with seven seconds left to stone New Hampshire’s Dalton Speelman at the post, preserve the lead, and bring the crowd to their feet.

“It was way too close, but that was an unbelievable save,” said Seth Ambroz. “And [Wilcox] was laughing when he came back to the bench with seven seconds left--he’s got a flair for the dramatic.”

The Gophers pushed the pace 5-on-5 throughout the night and dominated play in the second period. Minnesota outshot New Hampshire 34-23, and Wildcats Coach Dick Umile thought it was a good test for his team.

“We played against a real good Minnesota team, the second period obviously was the difference in the game,” said Umile. “They really ou...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Saturday, October 12th, 2013 0 comments | Post your comment

Gophers Rout Lakers 6-0
Six Different Gopher Goal Scorers Combine for Win

Minnesota played host to Mercyhurst in the first game of the annual NCAA Ice Breaker tournament to start off the 2013-2014 season. It marked only the second time in history that the two teams have squared off; the Gophers beat the Lakers 9-2 in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2002-2003. After a 6-0 Maroon and Gold drubbing tonight, Gopher fans can only hope that the rest of the season mirrors that famed one 10 years ago. Minnesota let Mercyhurst hang around until the early in the second period, scoring three times in the middle stanza and twice in the third to put the game out of reach and notch the first win of the new season for the Maroon and Gold.

Minnesota got off to a steady start in the first, capitalizing on their first full powerplay opportunity a little more than five minutes into the period. Who better to score the season’s opening goal than junior captain Kyle Rau? He did it in vintage Rau fashion, too, knocking in the rebound on Ben Marshall’s slapshot from the point. The puck deflected right to Rau in the crease, and he buried it to give the Gophers a 1-0 lead.
The Gophers took off in the second period and never looked back. Goals by Seth Ambroz, Sam Warning and Justin Kloos put Minnesota ahead 4-0 and effectively iced the game after two frames.

Mike Reilly and Michael Brodzinski put the final nails in the coffin for the Gophers in the third. Reilly scored at 11:10, walking in from the high slot to fire a wrister past Tibbett and give the Gophers a 5-0 lead. Michael Brodzinski scored anoth...
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by: Chris Eckes on Friday, October 11th, 2013 0 comments | Post your comment

Gopher to host Hockey City Classic.

On January 17th, 2014 the Gophers will host the Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium. Are you surprised? Probably not if you follow this team closely. It's pretty well known that the UofM has wanted to do this for quite some time. Well it's finally official.

On that evening the Gopher Women will face Minnesota State at 4:30pm follow by the Gopher Men at 8pm. The men will face Ohio State in a BigTen Conference matchup. Probably not the team that Gopher fans would have liked to have played in their first outdoor game at home. I am guessing that the fan would have preferred UND, UW or maybe even UMD. But OSU it will be.

Tickets for the 2014 Hockey City Classic start at $15, are valid for both games and will go on sale to the general public Oct. 22. This is part of the season ticket package.

“The Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium will be a special event for the entire state of Minnesota,” University of Minnesota Director of Athletics Norwood Teague said. “Outdoor hockey is a prominent fixture of Minnesota culture and we know that partnering with Intersport for this event will guarantee an unbelievable experience for everyone involved.”

Men's Captain, Nate Condon, talks about the Hockey City Classic.

A rendering of how the ice will be setup.
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by: Jupiter on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 8 comments! | Post your comment

It's already been 10 years?

My oh my, time sure does go by fast! It was April 9, 2003 when went down during the week of the Frozen Four in Buffalo where our Gophers were about to repeat as NCAA Champs. If I recall correctly... I think the problem was that Matt & Kyle Barron, the guys who ran POI, were both in Buffalo following the team and could not do anything to get POI back up and running. The fans had no place to go to talk about the team. So I used my family domain to create a temporary message board so the fans had a place to go until POI came back up... That "temporary" message board celebrates 10 years of existence today.

The message board was all the site was at first. Then in August of that year I switched it over from my family domain to GopherPuckLive. Most people came here to see the highlight videos that I would post from each game. That was until someone at FOX saw the Danny Irmen penalty shot video that went a bit viral. They forced me to stop posting videos. This was long before the days of YouTube, so it sucked that I had to stop created them. But I really didn't feel like messing with lawyers. The funny thing is that many of those videos have since been posted to YouTube by other people.

GPL really took off after Matt & Kyle Barron decided to shut down POI on February 11, 2005. At the time we had about 200 registered users, but it was still pretty quiet on the site. Over the next few days GPL added over 150 new users and it's been growing slowly ever since.

I believe that Ryan Cardinal started writing articles for GPL back in the fall of 2005. Though I am not quite s...
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by: Jupiter on Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 13 comments! | Post your comment

Yale Ends Minnesota Season 3-2 in Overtime
Schmidt and Budish Goals Force OT, But Yale Scores Nine Seconds in Extra Period

Minnesota had high expectations going into the 2012-13 season and while a MacNaughton Cup defense was a big achievement in their last season as part of the WCHA, many fans were disappointed with their early exit in the NCAA losing to Yale 3-2 in overtime.

Minnesota had a five period streak of scoreless of hockey end as Nate Schmidt scored midway into the third and then Zach Budish forced overtime with a goal minutes later. The Gophers didn’t get much of a chance in overtime though, as Yale capitalized on a giveaway and scored nine seconds into the extra period ending the number two overall’s season earlier than most expected.

Erik Haula had one of his strongest games in maroon and gold, but the team effort wasn’t enough to overcome a game where Minnesota was content to play on the edges of the ice at Van Andel Arena. The Gophers too often tried to generate chances from outside the dots, and weren’t able to generate legitimate scoring chances throughout much of the game.

Yale capitalized on two lapses in effort by the Minnesota attack. First, Yale got on the board first in the second period when the Elis took advantage of a turnover at their own blue line for a 4-on-2 rush. Kenny Agostino was the fourth player to join the rush and took a pass from Andrew Miller and snapped the puck into the top left corner at 7:08. Second, Yale added to their lead at 15:28 when they were able to get another chance a...
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by: Eric Vegoe on Friday, March 29th, 2013 0 comments | Post your comment

Photo by: Craig Cotner

Gophers Complete Undefeated Season with 6-3 Win in National Title Game

41 wins, zero losses, zero ties. One national championship.

In perhaps the most anticipated Womens’ college hockey game in history, the Gophers did not disappoint, avoiding the tense moments of the last several games and leading wire-to-wire to capture the title. Tickets to the game were selling for $100 each on the street, and fans that paid that ransom were in for a show. Minnesota got on the board first and never looked back, methodically taking apart Boston University on their way to the NCAA championship.

After a fairly even start to the game, Minnesota struck first as Mira Jalosuo scored her 11th goal of the season on a slapshot from the top of the right circle. Rachel Ramsey and Sarah Davis assisted on the powerplay goal at 11:38 of the first. The Gophers would get out to a 2-0 lead on a shorthanded goal by Hannah Brandt, her 33rd of the season. Amanda Kessel and Baylee Gillanders got the assists, and the assist was Kessel’s 98th point of the year. BU got on the board just 16 seconds later at 18:48 of the period, on Sarah Lefort’s 24th of the year. The powerplay tally would draw the Terriers within one, but that’s as close as they’d be for the rest of the game.

The Gophers dominated possession throughout the second period, and were rewarded with late goals from Amanda Kessel and Milica McMillen (powerplay) to go into the locker room with a 4-1 lead.

BU showe...
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by: Chris Eckes on Sunday, March 24th, 2013 11 comments! | Post your comment

Gophers Shut Out

Gophers Usher Themselves Out of WCHA with Bumbling Effort

It’s probably good that this is the last Final Five for the Gophers. It’s been nothing but a mess for them in recent years and tonight was more of the same. CC continues their hot streak and whitewashes the Gophers in a 2 -0 game that officially signals the end of the road for the University of Minnesota in the WCHA.

The first period was certainly a lot different than the first game of the day. In a stark contrast, the Gophers and Tigers got after it early, with both teams skating well and pressuring the puck. The Gophers got the better of the chances early but as the period wore on, CC got their game together and evened things out. The Gophers had the only power play of the period.

But one minute into the second period things changed for the worse. The Gophers came out charged up and got a couple of good looks, but it was CC – on a harmless looking rush – that got on the board first. Rylan Schwartz soaked Adam Wilcox with a nice shot from the top of the faceoff circle, and CC had the lead they needed to have.

The Gophers didn’t seem fazed initially and charged right back with a couple of nice chances. But it only took one mistake for CC to double their lead. Mark Alt lost control of the puck near the Gopher blue line, and it was turned right over to Charlie Taft, who went five-hole on Wilcox for a 2 – 0 Tiger lead.

The game just had that feel at this point – much like last night – that CC was not the better team on the ice, but they had an edge to their game that their opponent did not have. With that said,...
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by: Jeff Oftos on Friday, March 22nd, 2013 3 comments! | Post your comment

"Final" Five Kicks Off

Gophers, Huskies, Whioux, Badgers, Mavericks, Tigers battle for Broadmoor Trophy in St. Paul

The last five games of the WCHA as we know it are set. The greatest tournament in college hockey starts for the last time today.

Thursday's games feature Wisconsin battling Minnesota State-Mankato at 2PM and North Dakota taking on Colorado College at 7PM. The winner of the afteroon game faces St. Cloud State on Friday afternoon, while the winner of the Thursday night game takes on the Gophers on Friday night.

The only road team to win their series in last weekend's first round playoff matchups was Colorado College. The Tigers beat Denver on Friday and Sunday to advance to St. Paul. CC is a team that can be dangerous - they score goals with the best of the WCHA, but they've also given up the most goals of anyone in the league. They'll need to tighten up on defense against an equally high-powered but stingy North Dakota squad.

Wisconsin heads to St. Paul as maybe the hottest WCHA team. The Badgers survived a horrendous start to the season in which they won only two of their first 14 games to finish with home ice in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. The Badgers are 17-5-2 in their last 24 games, and have played their way into the NCAA Tournament bubble. They'll likely need a win or two this weekend to lock up a tournament berth.

The Badgers' first round opponent is a dark horse pick to win it all this season. The Minnesota State Mavericks have a recipe for playoff success - enough scoring when they need it and an elite goaltender. Stephon Williams was chose...
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by: Chris Eckes on Thursday, March 21st, 2013 0 comments | Post your comment

Gophers Headed To St. Paul

Furious Rally Capped By Marshall Goal With Under a Minute Left

Photo by: Craig Cotner A.J. Michaelson about to undress Walsh to tie the game at 3 For the final WCHA game in Mariucci Arena history, it turned out to be a good one. Bemidji State had their backs against the wall tonight, and they responded with their season on the line. The Gophers did the same, and rallied for three straight goals, including the only two goals in the final period, and get a 4 – 3 win to punch their ticket to the Final Five in St. Paul next weekend.

Beaver forward Jordan George tallied the only goal of the first period. While on their first power play of the weekend, he swatted home a rebound from the goal mouth and the Beavers had a very important 1 – 0 lead. The Gophers were not very crisp to start but did turn the tables on the shot chart by the end of the frame.

The teams traded goals and momentum late in the 2nd period. After Corey Ward put Bemidji up 2 -0 with a tip in goal from the slot, Nick Bjugstad finally got the Gophers on the board, using only seven seconds of power play time to tap home a rebound, and it appeared that momentum had fully shifted. But Jeff Jubinville scored just seven seconds later himself as Wilcox could not control a rebound and Jubinville put it over his glove.

Just as it appeared the Beavers would take a two goal lead into intermission, Erik Haula and Nate Condon teamed up for a huge goal. Haula’s shot on a rush was pushed through ...
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by: Jeff Oftos on Saturday, March 16th, 2013 0 comments | Post your comment

Gophers Win in OT

Rau’s goal in OT Overcomes Stellar Effort by Andrew Walsh

Photo by: Craig Cotner Kyle Rau scores the game winning goal in overtime! “I’m glad we won, obviously” said a relieved Coach Lucia, post-game. “But I liked the way we played all game long” he continued. “It was going to take a rebound goal to beat him.”

And a rebound goal they got. Beaver goalie Andrew Walsh may have earned better tonight. On the flip side, the Gophers could have made it easier by putting away just one more goal out of their plethora of shots. Either way, a win is a win and the Gophers will take it. Kyle Rau put home a rebound of his own blocked shot with 6:42 left in the first OT session and many breathed a sigh of relief with the Gophers now up 1 – 0 in their best of three series with Bemidji State after taking them down 2 - 1 on Friday night.

It was a pretty tame first period, although looking at the shots-on-net stat it wouldn’t appear that way. The Gophers lead 14 – 3 in that category, but outside of a nice stretch early that generated a couple of scoring chances, they didn’t do a whole lot. They did take Bemidji State completely out of their zone though – besides the one breakaway that Adam Wilcox thwarted there were literally no chances by the Beavers.

“Just Coxy being Coxy” said Ben Marshall, of Wilcox’s sharp play when not seeing many shots. “Nothing new.”

The second period was very similar to the first. The Gophers put on an additional fourteen shots on net and held t...
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by: Jeff Oftos on Friday, March 15th, 2013 0 comments | Post your comment

Second-Season Seconds: Gophers face Bemidji Again

#2 Seed Gophers face #11 Seed Beavers in WCHA First Round Series

If nothing else, the Gophers should be familiar with their first-round playoff opponent this weekend.

After sweeping the Beavers in Bemidji last weekend and winning a share of the MacNaughton Cup as league champions, Minnesota (24-7-5 Overall, 16-7-5 WCHA) will play host to Bemidji State (6-20-8 Overall, 5-16-7 WCHA) in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. The winner of the series will advance to the last Final Five tournament ever in St. Paul next weekend.

The Beavers are the same team they were last weekend. They like to play defense, a more Wisconsin-style team than the run-and-gun that fans see out of teams like Minnesota, UMD or CC. As mentioned during last week's preview, 11 of the Beavers' 34 games this season have gone into overtime. They may find defensive play hard to come by this weekend against Minnesota on the bigger, olympic-size ice. With more room for the Gophers to move, Bemidji could have a tough time clogging up passing and shooting lanes to try and slow down the fast-paced Minnesota transition game.

Minnesota swept only its second WCHA series of the season last weekend at Bemidji, and they picked a good time to do it. Those four points, coupled with a SCSU split at Wisconsin, tied the Gophers with the Huskies for first place in the league. The Minnesota coaching staff's biggest decision this weekend could be on whether to play Brady Skjei or Jake Parenteau as the 6th defenseman in the lineup. However, with repo...
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by: Chris Eckes on Friday, March 15th, 2013 0 comments | Post your comment

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