Gophers Escape Houghton with Split and Lucia's 600th Win
Minnesota Coach Don Lucia was adamant after sweeping Michigan State that he didn’t need to wait to win his 600th game until the Gophers returned to Mariucci, and thanks to two goals by sophomore winger Seth Ambroz he didn’t have to. Erik Haula scored the other goal for the Gophers and goalie Adam Wilcox made 16 saves including a couple big ones as the Gophers escaped from Houghton, Michigan with a 3-2 win and a split in front of 3,887 fans.
The team struggled Friday night with turnovers and the Huskies capitalized to start their WCHA season with a 5-3 win, but Saturday the maroon and gold were more careful with the puck and more aggressive without it.
The Gophers made one lineup change for the night with AJ Michaelson replacing Mike Reilly up front, and Wilcox starting in net instead of Michael Shibrowski. Minnesota’s power play unit struggled a bit again Saturday as they went 0-5 on the man-advantage. They were again able to breakout, gain the zone, and show solid puck possession, but they had difficulty getting pucks to the net.
Ambroz got the Gophers on the board first late in the first period at 17:45 with assists to Kyle Rau and Ben Marshall. Tech tied the game at 6:18 of the second period on a Chad Pietila goal with assists to Carl Nielsen and Brad Stebner. Haula’s goal midway through the period got the Gophers back on top with an assist to Mike Reilly at 11:45. The Huskies answered again when Ryan Furne scored at 19:03 of the second with an assist to Alex Petan. Ambroz got the game winner at 16:25 of the third period with assists to Travis Boyd and Nate Condon.
Phoenix Copley got a second consecutive start for Michigan Tech on Saturday and battled to keep the Huskies in the game making numerous big saves en route to his 31 save effort.
The Gophers face the USNDTP U-19 on Friday night October 26 at Mariucci Arena at 7 pm. The game will not be televised or covered by radio. The team then will be back on the airwaves as they face Canisus (1-3) Sunday afternoon October 28. The Golden Griffins were swept this weekend by Western Michigan after opening the season with a loss to Alaska Anchorage and win over Alaska Fairbanks.