Gophers Hold On In Game 1
Controversial Goal Stands Up as Winner
It’s the playoffs and a win is really all that matters at this point. And perhaps the Gophers will continue their Friday night so-so game and follow that up with a knock-out Saturday effort. Regardless of what happens tomorrow – Erik Haula scored both Gopher goals in a 2 – 1 win on Friday night over the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves at Mariucci Arena.
The first period was played at the pace Anchorage wanted. Slow and plodding with the Gophers taking several penalties, it ended with no score and the Seawolves had some confidence.
But while the first period was played at a pace that the Seawolves wanted, it appeared that the Gophers were going to take over and cruise as soon as the second period started.
Erik Haula – finally looking the part of a native of Finland as the team all dyed their hair blonde for the playoffs – snapped a tight shot over Seawolf goalie Chris Kamal’s glove hand less than two minutes into the period. And the Gophers – who didn’t skate very well in the first – really showed the speed difference between the teams as they started to possess the puck and play their game. When Haula scored a controversial goal (as it appeared Jake Hansen may have interfered with Kamal) at the midway point of the period, it seemed like this game was in cruise control.
Yet as it’s been all season, the team just can’t fully grasp a game on Friday night. They played with fire most of the game, and after Seth Ambroz took a terrible penalty late in the period, Seawolf senior captain Brad Gorham cut the lead in half with two seconds left on the clock and it was ‘game on’.
The Gophers leaned on their defense and goalie Kent Patterson in the third period and they both came through in the end, although not without tense moments. Patterson had to come up with a huge save with five seconds left as the Seawolves broke loose for a great chance in the slot on one final desperation rush.
On to Saturday night where the Gophers will try to finish off the Seawolves and head to St. Paul and the Final Five for the first time since March of 2009.