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 second to take a 3-0 lead that they’d never look back from.
Michigan State scored late in the second period to make the game interesting, but the Gophers played a disciplined, defensive third period to salt the game away. The Spartans scored with 0.1 seconds left with their goalie pulled to draw to within one at 3-2, but the clock wound to zero before the Spartans could mount another attack.
Minnesota now goes on their extended winter break. The Gophers are 12-2-2 through the first half of the year, and they face Colgate in the Mariucci Classic on January 3rd.
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 himself or anyone any favors as MacEachern’s ‘attempt’ at a shot ended up tying the game. Not sure if he tried to whiff like he did but he got just enough of the puck to lift it up, over Wilcox’s shoulder and off the post and in.
At times in the period it appeared as though the Gophers had an extra attacker on the ice but they just couldn’t get a grip on a game that was there for them to jump on. The power play looked good in many respects but couldn’t get one past Hildebrand as the Spartan defense collapsed well around him.
The Gophers took a 2 – 1 lead early in the 3rd. Justin Kloos took a shot from the circle and it deflected in off of Spartan defender Jake Chelios for a power play tally.
But as the feeling of the night dictated, the Spartans got a garbage goal to tie it. A weak pass/shot towards the net somehow found its way through everyone including Wilcox as Swedish import Villiam Haag netted his 4th of the year, and it appeared that even though the Gophers put over 40 shots on net, they just wouldn’t be able to finish this one off.
A last gasp attempt in regulation by Kyle Rau went off the post after intercepting a pass and driving the net with about 30 seconds to play.
Both teams had some good zone possession time in OT but nothing would go, including a Connor Reilly drive to the net with less than ten seconds to play. The game will go into the official books as a tie, but the Spartans will gain an extra point in the Big Ten Conference standings after defeating the Gophers in their first ever official shootout in the Big Ten. State scored on their first attempt, and to be honest the Gophers looked fairly feeble – to put it kindly – in their attempts. Perhaps they’ll get better as the year goes on and quite honestly that extra point for Sparty won’t matter much between them by the end of the year anyway.
So….it’s an early start tomorrow, at 3PM because of the Big Ten Title game that the Spartans are participating in. Everyone make sure to start their night early, hopefully the Gophers can win their final game before the winter break.
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 where they’ve got you on your heels and then you have to be able to fight back for different segments of the game.”
Rau got the fight back goal for the Gophers, scoring his third of the season just 45 seconds later after the Simonelli goal. Rau found some space on the far side of the crease as Hudson Fasching had drawn both Badger defenders to him on the front side, leaving his line mate all alone back door.
“[Fasching] is a big body, he needs two guys on him,” said Rau. “I was just fortunate Warning saw me back door—I actually was in the wrong spot, I wasn’t supposed to be there, but it worked out.”
Wisconsin regained the lead at the end of the period when Nic Kerdiles completed a tic-tac-toe passing play past Wilcox at 14:39. Ambroz tied up the game again late in the second period for his sixth goal of the season at 17:51. Serratore won a puck behind the goal line and found Ambroz coming into the slot. It took two shots to get it past the goalie, but it was enough for Ambroz to get his sixth of the season.
Brady Skjei got his second goal of the season from a face-off play won by Rau to Justin Holl. Holl worked it to Skjei as he moved to the middle of the ice and the one-timer got through traffic cleanly 3:44 into the third period. Wisconsin evened the game up 10:37 into the third period when Michael Mersch muscled a Kerdiles pass into the net through traffic.
Lucia went with the Boyd line for a shift late in the game, as overtime loomed. The group of veterans were in hard on the forecheck, Boyd forced a turnover, threw the puck towards the net where a driving Ambroz was able to direct it past Badger goalie Joel Rumpel for the winner.
“My line mates played really well this weekend,” said Ambroz “I’ve just got to give a lot of credit to them, I was just been fortunate enough to put it in.”
The humble junior has been a bright spot for the maroon and gold this season. The team gained a lot of pace with their seven freshman and the 6’3” 215 lbs junior has made strides in his game to keep pace.
“I think Seth worked hard on his game this summer, his skating has improved and we’re playing him a lot of minutes, whether power play or penalty kill, but he’s just an honest hard working guy and he’s going to score some goals by getting around the net and the blue paint,” said Lucia. “He’s not pretty coming down the rink, but he’s heavy on pucks and he’s scored like we expected him to score this weekend.”
The Gophers finish their opening stretch of play next weekend at Michigan State for a Friday and Saturday series with start times of 6pm and 3pm.
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 went into the intermission ahead 2-1, a lead that they’d never look back from.
There would be no goals scored in the second period, but this is the period where the Gophers really pressed their advantage and controlled the game. Minnesota outshot Wisconsin 12-4 in the period, killing three Badger powerplays in the process. Adam Wilcox made several huge saves on the powerplay to keep the Gophers in the lead, and after two periods Minnesota still held a slim 2-1 lead.
This type of game is just what Wisconsin wants: they had been outshot and outchanced badly through two periods, but they have a chance to win in the third. The Gophers would not allow the Badgers to get back into it though. Connor Reilly scored on a three-on-two rush at 10:46 to put the Gophers up 3-1, and though Wisconsin had some quality chances down the stretch, Wilcox came up huge to hold the Badgers off the scoresheet. Seth Ambroz scored an empty netter as time wound down to give the Gophers a 4-1 lead, and that’s how the game would end.
The Gophers face the Badgers again tomorrow at 5:00 PM.
Notes & Quotes
Three Stars of the Game: 3) Adam Wilcox, 2) Mike Reilly, 1) Seth Ambroz
Final shots on goal: Gophers 45, Badgers 25
On the transition to the Big Ten: “It was important to us to get the first Big Ten win ever. We talked about it a lot in practice this week.”
On the powerplay, jokingly: “The three guys that ran the powerplay last year are all in the NHL now, and they all could’ve come back. I guarantee you that the powerplay would be better off with those guys in the lineup.”
On the “specialty teams”: “We were plus on the specialty teams tonight. That’s important.”
On the third line: “I thought they played extremely well today. They’re the line we wanted out there late in the third period. We have a very young team, so having a veteran line like that is important.”
On Taylor Cammarata: “He’s day-to-day. There’s no rush to bring him back before he’s at 100%.”
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 Bulldogs their own extended 5x3 chance. They’d only need seven seconds, though, to score another one. This time, Justin Crandall fired it past Adam Wilcox from beside the goal to give Duluth a 3-0 lead.
The Gophers would get two more powerplay chances before the period expired, but again came up empty handed. Although Minnesota outshot UMD 13-8 in the period, the Gophers entered the dressing room down by three goals after one.
Minnesota would start the second period with 1:24 of leftover powerplay time, but despite a few quality looks they again could not dent the twine. They’d finally get on the board at 11:18 of the second on a Mike Reilly snapshot from the point. The goal – on Minnesota’s sixth powerplay chance of the afternoon – came from Rau and Warning, and would draw the Gophers to within two at 3-1.
Duluth would capitalize on their next two powerplay chances, though, to extend the lead to 5-1, with Austin Farley and Kyle Osterberg had the PP goals for UMD in the second. Minnesota couldn’t muster much of anything else in the remainder of the period on offense, although they did get into a scuffle at the end of the second and Ben Marshall was ejected for facemasking.
UMD started the third with 1:48 of powerplay, and would strike gold again at 1:05 of the third. The early goal gave them a 6-1 lead. Minnesota would score on yet another powerplay (2-10 in the game) with 11:04 left to draw within four at 6-2. Michael Brodzinski netted his fourth of the year on a shot from the high slot, with assists to Connor Reilly and Christian Isackson.
That was all for the Gophers, though. The 6-2 final was the team’s second loss of the season. The Gophers will look to rebound against Wisconsin Friday night. The game will mark the start of the Big Ten season.
Notes & Quotes:
McNeely, Caleb Herbert and Justin Crandall were the three stars of the game.
Michael Shibrowski replaced Adam Wilcox in net after the Bulldogs' fifth goal
UMD Head Coach Scott Sandelin: “I really liked our kids’ response to [the Friday game]”, “[Goaltender McNeely’s] performance was huge, especially on the early 5-on-3”, “Our powerplay got going tonight.”
Don Lucia: “There were big flaws in the special teams play tonight”, “We weren’t disciplined, from all of the penalties all the way to not getting our sticks into lanes on the penalty kill.”
Travis Boyd: “Surprising to have such a lopsided weekend, normally games against [UMD] are tight”, “It was hard to get in a rhythm with so many penalties, lots of times guys wouldn’t play for long stretches of time because of the powerplays or penalty kills”, “I just don’t think we were mentally dialed in.” On what they took away from the game: “We need to bring it every night.”
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 are hard decision on who is in our lineup and who’s not,” said Lucia. “Brodzinski was brought in to be an offensive defenseman. He’s got the good hands, he can shoot it, and he’s got a very low panic point with the puck. So I think he needs to play in those situations, but he’s also got to earn the right to play in our lineup every night.”
Minnesota slogged through the opening 12 minutes. The forwards were struggling to gain the zone, the defensemen were leaving big gaps, and Wilcox gave up a few rebounds. The Bulldog’s took advantage of one rebound, getting on the board first when Cal Decowski won a puck over to Charlie Sampair. Sampair put the puck off Wilcox’s pads, was all-alone to pick up the rebound and score his first college goal 4:19 into the first period.
“I think after that first timeout, we talked about how we got to get better,” said Lucia. “They were winning the races to loose pucks, they were the more assertive team, and they were the better team at that point of the game.”
The game turned off that first television timeout when Taylor Cammarata gained the zone fighting through a stick check and hit A.J. Michaelson on the tape. Michaelson was driving into the paint and tapped it in at 14:14 to tied the game 1-1.
“Our fourth line got a big goal, and I thought we were playing well and doing the right things,” said UMD Coach Scott Sandelin. “Then they got one back, from that point they got some momentum, and I thought we made it pretty easy for them after that at times, especially in the second period.”
Tom Serratore got the Gophers on the board next at 16:32. The senior’s play has turned for the better since getting a little more prodding from the coaching staff, and he took advantage of a chance Friday, sniping one into the upper right corner. Thirty-six seconds later Justin Kloos gained the zone on a rush, and unleashed a laser top shelf to make it 3-1.
The floodgates started to open 5:26 into the second period as Kyle Rau got his second goal of the season, and first since opening night, when he was left all alone to put in a loose puck off a Sam Warning wrap-around attempt. Boyd continued the Gopher trend of picking the top corner, when he made a toe move past a sliding shot blocker, and sniped one for his third goal of the season at 12:36.
The Boyd goal chased Aaron Crandall from the nets and Matt McNeely came on in relief. Brodzinksi then got his third goal of the season on the power play at 17:07, taking a pass from Mike Reilly on the off-wing and firing it back across the net into the upper right corner—even with a new goalie it was the fourth top corner snipe of the game for Minnesota.
The win was the fifth for the Gophers over their in-state rivals, and they’ll meet Duluth again on Sunday at 4pm to try and make it six.
“The Minnesota rivalries are huge for us. We come into these games, we want to be the best team in Minnesota,” said Serratore. “We were 4-0 coming in tonight and that is kind of something we take pride in here at the U.”
GOLDEN NUGGETS: Michaelson’s goal means only Justin Holl, Christian Isackson, Jake Parenteau, and Gabe Guertler have played in games without scoring this season… Sandelin is taking his team back to Duluth Friday night and they’ll bus back down on Sunday. They found out six days ago that the series would be a Friday, Saturday tilt, and he down played any difficulty with the travel—although he noted how much he wished they were playing the Gophers at AmSoil. Minnesota isn’t scheduled to play in Duluth until the season they’re out of the North Star Cup… Minnesota has now been ranked first in the nation for five straight weeks… The Big Ten Hockey Conference kicks off its season next weekend as Wisconsin travels to Mariucci Arena for a series Nov. 29 and 30, while Michigan and Ohio State play a home and home series Nov. 29 and Dec. 2... Lucia noted that Wilcox's game last Friday night was his best of season, that he planned to give Michael Shibrowski the Saturday night start, and he had no qualms going with Wilcox again Friday night against Duluth... Kyle Rau was 11-3 in the face-off circle and had 1G-1A on the night. He also got under the skin of a few Bulldogs. He was actively chirping the entire night, but he also stayed out of the box while drawing a few calls.
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 there.
“You can’t replicate that kind of intensity in practice,” said Shibrowski. “You do some traffic drills, but there’s something about that game atmosphere, it’s a little bit of that chaos, it was a little bit different feel, but that’s kind of the fun part too.”
Shibrowski had to help turn away numerous Maverick surges as the Gophers struggled to generate much of anything coming off their Friday night’s season low of 30 shots on goal. But Minnesota got a flash from one of their freshman getting his first chance to play back-to-back games this season.
“[Jake Bischoff] hadn’t had the opportunity to do that this year, so it was a tough call on who to take out and we wanted to get Justin back in [the lineup],” said Lucia. "And the freshmen are putting pressure on the older guys based on how they’re playing.”
While Michael Brodzinksi was the odd man out, Bischoff delivered for Lucia, getting his third goal of the season 6:20 into the first period. Sam Warning and Hudson Fasching got the assists, but it was a courageous play by Kyle Rau giving up his body to gain the red line that really led to the scoring opportunity.
“Rau drew a couple people to him and then he got it in deep, Warning passed it over to Fasching, and bunch of people were by Rau so there was opening in the middle of the ice and I sort of went down and Fasching hit me with a great pass,” said Bischoff. “Rau’s a great player, draws people to him all the time and opens up space for the rest of us.”
Ricky Gervais appeared to get an equalizer a few minutes later as he deflected a puck past Shibrowski. A replay clearly showed Gervais punched the puck in, and also showed Gervais immediately turning towards the official hoping for a goal call.
The second was scoreless, and then Tom Serratore got the Gophers an insurance goal and his first of the season at 11:05 of the third. Serratore capitalized on a Justin Holl goal line to goal line rush where the puck spilled out into the crease and as Cole Huggins tried to cover it up, Serratore put it top shelf. Fasching then put the game away at 13:56 when he one-timed a Sam Warning pass into the back of the net.
All that was left was defending the shutout, and as the final horn blew, teammates surrounded Shibrowski in the crease.
“It’s definitely something special,” said Shibrowski. “You can’t say enough about the kind of bond we have in there, and throughout the game I can’t tell you how many guys were stepping up, blocking shots, or doing everything they can to help me. So that probably means the most to me, is that they’re out there to help me. And my main focus was to do my part to help us win, because I want to be there for them too.”
GOLDEN NUGGETS: Connor Reilly scored Friday night during his first game playing with Mike Reilly, Warning, Fasching, and Rau. Lucia decided to stick with him on the first unit for the second night in a row as one of the triggermen atop the circle. The second unit was the same as Friday night too with Nate Condon, Justin Kloos, Taylor Cammarata, Seth Ambroz, and Ben Marshall sticking together. Both units had smooth zone entries and were able to work the puck around during their first period opportunity… It was almost like the old times at Mariucci Arena with Marco Hunt serving as one of the officials; both teams were given liberty to be a little more clutch/grab and physical on the ice without as much fear of being penalized. There were only four penalties called Saturday… Christian Isackson returned to the lineup in place of Gabe Guertler up front, and Justin Holl returned to the blue line corps in place of Michael Brodzinksi. 3rd star Serratore, 2nd star Bischoff, 1st star Shibrowski. Heart of the Game was also Shibrowski, pretty good night for a kid who just celebrated his 23rd birthday Friday.
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 – this time Mike Reilly fired a wrist shot into the upper corner of the goal from the middle of the slot. That goal – at 18:33 – put the Gophers up 2-0 heading into the dressing room. Condon and Kloos carded the assists on the goal.
Minnesota continued swarming the Maverick net early in the second period, before a Hudson Fasching penalty would give Mankato their first real chance to get back into the game. The Gopher penalty kill, not altogether stout on the season, held firm to keep the game 2-0. Minnesota would get its own powerplay just before the halfway mark of the second and would convert for just the sixth time all season. Connor Reilly buried a one-time blast from the right circle to put the Gophers up 3-0. Sam Warning and Mike Reilly assisted on the goal at 8:40 of the middle stanza.
The shooting gallery continued for the rest of the period, with the Gophers dominating both possession and chances. The combination of Justin Kloos and Taylor Cammarata yet again was again on display tonight, with the duo showing great chemistry to find each other in prime scoring areas. Whenever the Mavericks reared their heads in the period and created a quality chance, Adam Wilcox stopped them. The Gophers would get a couple more powerplays before the frame was out, but even though the PP looked much better than in previous contests, the score remained 3-0 after 2.
The third was not played with very much urgency on the part of the Gophers. Seemingly content with holding their lead, the team rarely swarmed the net for shifts at a time like they had in the first two periods. Minnesota State mustered as much as they could, but Adam Wilcox had an answer for every Maverick question early in the third. The Gopher goalie was on track to pick up his second shutout of the season, before Zach Palmquist fired a shot from the low slot past Wilcox at 12:48 of the period. The goal brought the Mavericks to within two goals at 3-1, but they could not get anything else past Wilcox the rest of the game. The Minnesota netminder had to stop several point-blank shots after the Mavericks had pulled their goalie late in the third, and ended the game with 34 saves on 35 shots. Seth Ambroz was able to score an empty netter with 26.7 seconds left in the game to increase the Gopher lead to 4-1, which wound up being the final score.
Mavericks Head Coach Mike Hastings recognized the Gopher advantage was something they’d have to change to have success in the series finale. “We can’t give a team like Minnesota the time and space that we gave them tonight. I thought we played a passive game, and we can’t do that.”
The Mavericks will try to salvage a split Saturday night, when the two teams meet again. The game starts at 7:00PM.
The Gophers scored on the powerplay for just the sixth time on the year. The team is now just 6-41 on the season.
The three stars of the game were: #3 – Nate Condon (0G-2A), #2 – Mike Reilly (1G-1A), #1 Justin Kloos (1G-1A)
The final shots on goal were 30-35 in favor of the Mavericks.
The goals by Mike and Connor Reilly were the first by brothers in the same game since Grant and Ryan Potulny in 2004.
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 later going coast to coast, gaining the zone, and later the puck found its way back to him and he made it 3-1 at 15:04.
Minnesota failed to breakout of their own zone in the last minute of the first period, and got caught flat footed as Hinstroza worked the puck to Mario Lucia. The Gopher coach’s son took advantage and made it 3-2 at 19:43.
Fasching got his second goal of the game and fifth of the season at 7:09 of the second period. The big freshman somehow got his stick on the puck that Kyle Rau put towards the net.
The Irish wouldn’t go away though, Mario Lucia tallied his second goal of the game at 13:38 as he followed up a Hinostroza shot and put the big rebound top shelf. Notre Dame then tied up the game 4-4 at 19:58 of the second, as big Stephen Johns directed a puck from Jeff Costello past Wilcox. The goal came at the end of the period as Minnesota was killing off a 5 on 3.
Minnesota got their fifth goal from Bischoff and then had to hold off a furious Fighting Irish pressure that followed.
GOLDEN NUGGESTS: It was parents night at Notre Dame Saturday, and Coach Don Lucia altered his pre-game schedule a little bit so that he could be out there to be dad for his son Mario Lucia during the ceremony… Don Lucia noted in the ESPN 1500 post-game that the way Bischoff is playing, it will be tough to take him out of the lineup next weekend. The freshman from Grand Rapids got the game winner, his second of the season, and has been rotating in the lineup with Mike Brodzinksi…Tom Serratore picked up a major for kneeing late in the second period, it was a split second hit as Notre Dame’s Hinostroza made a quick lateral move to try and avoid contact. Serratore stuck with playing the body and ended up sitting five minutes during a game where his father and Air Force Coach Frank Serratore was in attendance… The game was available on an NBCSN Internet stream Saturday because the home team, Notre Dame, controls the rights to the game and didn’t want to give them up… Minnesota will be back on FSN for both of its games against Minnesota State next weekend, and both games will be broadcast by ESPN 1500 over the air.
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 offensive-zone plays later Ben Marshall blasted a one-timer that beat Irish goalie Steven Summerhays and tied the game at 1-1 with less than ten minutes gone in the frame.
The Gopher mistakes kept piling up, though. Adam Wilcox stopped a Notre Dame breakaway midway through the second period to keep the game tied at one, but a Gabe Guertler penalty put the Gophers one man short with under five minutes in the period and once again Notre Dame cashed in on the man advantage. Sam Herr walked out from behind the net and found himself all alone with Wilcox. Herr beat the Minnesota netminder five-hole to give Notre Dame a one goal lead late in the second.
Minnesota would have another (dismal) powerplay chance late in the period, before taking yet another penalty before the period was out. Notre Dame took a 2-1 lead along with 1:40 of leftover powerplay time into the third.
The Irish would add to their lead early in the third on a Garrett Peterson breakaway in the fourth minute. The goal gave Notre Dame a comfortable 3-1 lead which they’d never look back from. Minnesota started taking chances and pinching their defensemen from that point on, but the Irish defense did a good job of keeping the Gophers out of the slot for the remainder of the period. Notre Dame would tack on an empty net tally to put the final score at 4-1.
The Gophers take on Notre Dame again Saturday evening. The game, at 6PM CST, is available via live web-stream on NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
Friday’s game marked the first game of Gabe Guertler’s Gopher career. The freshman forward served his month-long suspension for a DUI and is projected to be yet another prominent first-year player in the Minnesota lineup.
Minnesota was outshot 33-32 in the game, and were outshot 22-15 in the final two periods.
The loss dropped the Gophers to 5-1-1 on the year. They have yet to play a conference game.
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 on 32 shots.
Boston College brought a lineup including nine NHL draft picks, and a highly touted goalie prospect, but Minnesota was able to show off their speed and get defensemen into the rush.
“That’s how we want to play back there,” said Mike Reilly. “Just have mobile defensemen like that, and in practice we’re working on jumping into the play kind of being the fourth guy like that. You can see it on Brodzinksi’s goal and Skjei’s, just coming in late.”
Justin Kloos used his speed to create a two-on-one for Minnesota, made a toe move to create some space, dished the puck to Nate Condon, and the senior tucked it five-hole giving the Gophers a 1-0 lead at 4:14. Ambroz showed his best use of hands in a Gopher uniform, as he faced up Christian Isackson on top of the crease for a tip opportunity. Billett made the first save, but Ambroz found the rebound and put it top shelf to make the score 2-0 at 5:10.
Mike Reilly got into the transition midway through the first period, changing the angle on the goaltender and shooting across the goal and top shelf to make it 3-0 at 10:16. Kyle Rau created the transition by back checking and winning the puck off Gaudreau, but Hudson Fasching and Sam Warning got the assists. Brady Skjei finished off the scoring for Minnesota in the first period, when he jumped into the slot on a Tom Serratore area pass and sniped it glove side, making it 4-0 at 16:20.
Boston College got a goal from their third line 6:02 into the second period. Quinn Smith got a pass across to Evan Richardson who re-directed it through Wilcox for the goal. Isaac MacLeod got a 2nd assist, and the goal was one of the rare coverage breakdowns in front of the Minnesota crease.
Michael Brodzinski put the Gophers up 5-1 at 5:16 of the third as he joined Kloos and Condon on the rush. After a couple touch passes, Brodzinksi found the net for his second goal of the season. Minnesota got it’s sixth goal of the game and fourth from a defensemen as Jake Bischoff jumped on a rebound after Warning drove the puck to the net and Kyle Rau whacked it loose at 9:30.
Minnesota has a bye week next weekend, but travels to face Notre Dame Nov. 8 and 9 to face the #2 ranked team in college hockey. The Irish might not be ranked 2nd by then after their Saturday night loss to Minnesota-Duluth, but the weekend will be another measuring stick for the Gophers.
GOLDEN NUGGESTS: Jake Parenteau and Jake Bischoff got dinged on Friday and Ryan Reilly dressed for warm-ups as a 13th forward, while Parenteau was scratched, Bischoff got through the pre-game skate with enough confidence to start the game. Lucia didn’t think Bischoff would play a lot of minutes, and the other five defensemen wouldn’t have a problem absorbing the minutes after a Saturday night off to rest, but he seemed to take a regular shift throughout the game… Boston College was only down 3-0 after the first during the Mariucci Classic in 2012, and last year they didn’t have Gaudreau with them because of the World Juniors… Lucia went with a lone defenseman and four forwards on both his power play units Sunday. Despite going 0-6 on the afternoon, the second unit really showed some potential as Kloos, Mike Reilly, and Cammarata were able to work the puck around the top of the circles and trade positions…
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, of the quick turnaround.
The teams’ traded great odd-man rushes after that but no more goals were logged. “You wonder if it’s going to be one of those 8 – 7 games” said Lucia. “[But] the goaltenders settled in, and the players settled in” said Lucia of the five goals in ten minutes.
And it was the goalies who were the ones who adjusted as the game went on. The chances didn’t lessen in the 2nd period as each team traded odd man rushes and quality zone time. But Wilcox and Demko were up to the task, each making several great saves, while Wilcox did have the help of the pipe on a couple of occasions.
The Gophers did knot the score late in the period, Taylor Cammarata sniped a nice low shot past Demko to set up a great 3rd.
However the third period was lock-down time. Neither team could get a handle on any grade-A chances, but both teams had a sequence each in which they pinned the other team for a long stretch. Sam Warning had a fantastic chance with less than 10 seconds left, but his shot went just high.
The OT was back to the first two periods. Back and forth action, almost ending when Taylor Cammarata had a clean breakaway that was initially saved but it bounced in the air and was gloved by BC d-man Ian McCoshen. The ref was in the correct position but did not make the call. “They (the refs) said it didn’t cross the line” said Lucia of his explanation received. “I just think it happened so quick, that it was a tough call for the referee to really see what went on.”
BC coach Jerry York was overall happy with the game, but echoed the same things coach Lucia did. “As good of Grade-A chances that we had, they had just as many the other way.
BC ended up winning the shootout, 2 – 1 after 5 shooters from each side, the last two being sudden-death. There was even some controversy there as it appeared BC’s shooter double-tapped his goal. But ultimately no points were at stake in the shootout, the game officially is a 3 – 3 tie (in Big Ten conference play, points will be at stake).
“It was a heck of a game” said Lucia. “I can’t remember the last time we were involved in that good a game this early in the season.” Both teams will take a much needed day off and game #2 will be at 1PM on Sunday.
Golden Nuggets…Coach Lucia said after the game that Jake Parenteau was ‘jarred’ in the first period but his injury – which was not disclosed – was not serious and they hope he can play on Sunday. The stars of the game were #3 Taylor Cammarata, #2 Kyle Rau and #1 Michael Sit
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 nice to see Minnesota in the top spot. The Gophers host Boston College next weekend in what should be an exciting set of games. The first game is Friday night, while the second is Sunday afternoon.
The Gophers again got solid contributions from their freshmen, with Kloos (1G-2A), Cammarata (1G-1A), Fasching (0G-1A), Lettieri (0G-1A) and Bischoff (0G-1A) all registering on the scoresheet. Twice in this game we saw a scoreline of Kloos from Cammarata or vice versa - something many Gopher fans could be seeing for a few years.
The Three Stars of tonight's game were 3) Jeff Jubinville (BSU's only goal scorer), 2) Justin Kloos, 1) Sam Warning.
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 plan a lot better. The game slowed quite a bit and the Gophers got sloppy in a number of ways. Cory Ward continued his great play against the Gophers and while camped out in front, gathered his own rebound and got it past Wilcox just 5:37 into the period.
But the Gophers were able to turn the tables a bit after a few nice shifts in the offensive zone, pinning the Beavers in and getting some scoring chances. They took the lead just after on what didn’t seem like a threatening chance. Three Gophers skated in the Beaver zone by the benches, Hudson Fasching dropped the puck to Sam Warning, who let loose with a wrist shot through three Beaver defenders and it found a way past Adam Walsh, just before Kyle Rau was slammed into the net, knocking it off its moorings.
The third was back to wide open hockey. Bemidji yet again came out sloppy and the Gophers took advantage. The top line ran roughshod over the Beavers and gained a two goal lead. Kyle Rau drive to the net did not result in a SOG, but he drew two Beavers to him. Walsh was down & out of position, and the rebound laid flat for Hudson Fasching, who put it into the open net.
Just when you think the Gophers would put a choke hold on the game, Bemidji opened it up and bit and the Gophers took a penalty. Radoslav Illo put a bullet past Wilcox and the Beavers pulled back to within one.
But Nate Condon, just moments later, put an end to that momentum. He calmly gathered a rebound to Walsh’s left and almost in slow motion tucked it inside the post to restore the two goal lead.
The Beavers pressed play and had some opportunities down the final minutes, but they couldn’t hold possession long enough to get shots off. Connor Reilly capped off a good night with his first collegiate goal and the final was 6 – 3 Gophers.
So…with the top two ranked teams in the country falling tonight, the Gophers have a chance to take the #1 spot after two weeks with a win tomorrow. The squad has played three fairly nice games and if they play with the same intensity at 7PM on Saturday they’ll be in great shape for a second consecutive ‘sweep’.
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 outshot us in the second period and at the end of the second period, they got a couple goals to jump ahead of us. We didn’t generate enough shots and probably carried [the puck] a bit too far [into the zone].”
Minnesota did struggle Saturday night on special teams. The Gophers gave up two power play goals to the Wildcats on five chances, and then went 0-6 with the man advantage.
“They’re a very good kill team, they were 90% last year, they’ve got a veteran group, and it hurt us that we lost every draw to start the power play,” said Lucia. “Our rush entries were very good I thought all weekend long, but we didn’t do a great job setting up, although we had more opportunities as the game went along.”
Wildcat defenseman Eric Knodel opened the scoring 25 seconds into the second period on the power play, sneaking a wrist shot through traffic to put New Hampshire up 1-0. The Gophers tied it up at 4:05 as Fasching knocked in a loose puck following a Justin Holl shot for his first goal as a Gopher. New Hampshire took the lead back at 11:30 with another power play goal as Trevor van Riemsdyk’s shot went right to Nick Sorkin for a tip making it 2-1.
The Gophers responded quickly though as they swarmed UNH goalie Casey DeSmith following up a missed Holl shot, and Warning found a way to slot the puck in from along the goal line. Then Lettieri got the game winner and his first goal as a Gopher 17:50 into the second with an assist to Ambroz and A.J. Michaelson. Brady Skjei would have been deserving of a third assist, as his and Michaelson’s intelligent plays led to the Gophers maintaining possession of the puck.
Minnesota travels to Bemidji State next weekend for a series against the Beavers, and both games will be carried on FSN. The Gophers have plenty to work on this week, but showed some attributes this weekend giving them some confidence moving forward.
“We are a fast team, a really fast team with a lot of passion and grit,” said Ambroz. “For how small a lot of guys are, they’re willing to do a lot to track down the puck and make some plays.”
GOLDEN NUGGESTS: Holl’s return to defense went smoothly this weekend. Lucia mentioned that the young man from Tonka Bay made a big sacrifice for the team last year and had a nice weekend… Don Lucia will need to take a close look at his special teams headed to Bemidji next weekend. His team went 0-6 on the PP Saturday and only killed of 3 of 5 penalties, leaving players open around the crease to get sticks on pucks. While UNH returned most of their special teams players, Lucia has to replace Zach Budish, Erik Haula, Nick Bjugstad, and Nate Schmidt from a group that was one of the nation’s best—it looks like it’ll take at least another weekend… All-Tourney Team: Wilcox, UNH Knodel, UNH van Riemsdyk, UMN Warning, UMN Kyle Rau, UMN Fasching… MVP Warning… The referee pair of Stephen McInchak and Barry Ponchmara may be leaving some maroon and gold fans longing for those WCHA crews of old. The former CCHA duo called a much tighter game than most at Mariucci were used to seeing… Three stars of the game were 3-Lettieri, 2-van Riemsdyk, 1-Fasching.
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 another one with 1:40 left in the period to make it 6-0.
From there, it was all a matter of protecting the shutout for goaltender Adam Wilcox. Although Mercyhurst had some chances in the waning minutes, the Gophers were able to keep the Lakers off the scoreboard and secure the first shutout of the season for Minnesota’s sophomore netminder.
“I thought our team did a lot of good things tonight,” said Gopher head coach Don Lucia. “We got contributions throughout the lineup, which is important for our team this year. I don’t see us having one or two 20-goal scorers, I’d guess we’ll have a lot of eight to fifteen goal guys.” Lucia said that the penalty kill did a good job tonight (they went 5-5 on the kill), but that they needed to improve on their faceoffs.
The players were a little less analytical. Said junior forward Sam Warning: “it’s good to be back.”
The win means Gophers advance to face the #13 University of New Hampshire in tomorrow night’s championship game of the Ice Breaker tournament. New Hampshire beat Clarkson 4-1 in this afternoon’s game to earn a trip to the finals.
The three stars of the game as announced were #3 Adam Wilcox, #2 Sam Warning, #1 Kyle Rau
Adam Wilcox’s shutout was the fourth of his career
Ben Marshall took a shot to the wrist in the middle of the third period and did not return. No word from the coaching staff on the severity of the injury
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.
It's already been 10 years?
My oh my, time sure does go by fast! It was April 9, 2003 when PrideOnIce.com 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 sure on the dates. He was joined by Jeff Oftos in early 2006. Were started getting credentialed by the UofM in the fall of 2006. Covered our first Final Five in 2007. This past season Erik Vegoe came on as a full time writer since Ryan Cardinal decided to retire. We also added Chris Eckes to help out when Jeff & Erik were not available. GPL would not be what it is today without them. So a big thanks goes out to the writers!
I need to thank Scott Hamilton (Hammy) who along with Cardinal & Vegoe have made doing the GPL Podcast a ton of fun to do. I think we do great podcast and other fun live broadcasts that give the fans something a bit different compared to other websites. Sure we're not professional broadcasters, but we really don't care. We have fun and that's all that matters!
I also would like to thank Sean Sullivan (Greyeagle) and Jerred Kline (Bert). Both of these guys have been the main GPL message board moderators since POI shut down in 2005. They have kept order on this site and that is no easy feat! Many message boards have turned in to utter crap due to lack of rules and moderating. I think GPL is the best moderated board out there and it's all due to these two!
Finally... I want to thank all of you! The GPL users! You guys make this place a great community for Gopher fans and college hockey fans! Your love for college hockey is what makes you special. I have had the chance to meet a lot of the GPL'ers and it's a great group of people! So thank you for making GPL what it is today!
So cheers to GPL making it to it's 10th anniversary!
Craig "Jupiter" Cotner
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 after the Gophers turned the puck over at the offensive blue line. Yale capitalized on the Gophers scrambling as a point shot from Gus Young got through traffic and past Wilcox. It looked like Antoine Laganiere might have got a stick on the puck to keep it from going wide, but Young was credited with the goal.
Schmidt finally broke the Gopher goalless streak at 108 minutes, getting a goal by getting a shot through traffic at 8:12 of the third period. Kyle Rau and Haula got assists on the play as Minnesota was finally able to get a shot from the middle of the ice on net.
Budish evened up the score just over five minutes later at 13:40 of the third period when he was able to convert a Haula pass from the corner of the post and past Yale goalie Jeff Malcom to tie the game at two.
Minnesota won the draw to start the overtime period but Ben Marshall mishandled a reverse pass to Seth Helgeson, Agostino picked up the loose puck behind the net, dished it to Jesse Root who was all alone and converted the chance to end the Gopher season just nine seconds into overtime.
Wilcox made 23 saves on the night and was steady for much of the game. Agostino’s goal and Root’s goal were off passes that had the freshman goalie movie across his crease and were situations where the shooter wasn’t pressured at all by forwards coming back into the zone. Minnesota dominated in the face-off circle 47-21, earned five power play chances, but only had the one power play goal and only outshot Yale 28-26.
Helgeson is the only senior who has played out his eligibility, but the Gophers enter the off-season with plenty of questions about early departures. Haula seems a lock to sign with the Minnesota Wild and get assigned to Houston for some AHL experience. Many expect Nick Bjugstad to soon sign with Florida, and Schmidt will be entertaing offers as an NHL free agent. Zach Budish may get an offer to sign with Nashville, and there are other less likely flight risks who may consider moving on such as Mark Alt and Marshall and Justin Holl.
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 showed signs of life in the third, as a powerplay goal early in the period brought them within two at 4-2. The Gophers held that lead through another BU powerplay and several tense moments, until Rachel Ramsey scored on a 3-on-2 rush to give the Gophers a 3 goal lead. Maryanne Menefee and Amanda Kessel assisted on the goal, and the assist was Kessel’s 100th point of the year. BU pulled their goalie with just under three minutes left and scored, making the game 5-3 with 2:52 left in the game. The final two-plus minutes were tense despite the two-goal Gopher lead, but an Amanda Kessel empty net goal lessened the pressure inside a packed Ridder Arena. As the clock hit triple-zeroes the ladies in gold were the ones celebrating with the NCAA tournament trophy.
Congratulations Gophers on the perfect season and back-to-back NCAA championships!
Celebration Gallery (Click image for larger view)