Tonight’s matchup between the Gophers and Michigan Tech Huskies proved to be Minnesota’s return from a week off, and it could’ve proved to be a resurrection for Michigan Tech after being swept by UMD last weekend, but the game would start fast and furious.
Minnesota started the scoring at the 2:02 mark when Max Gardiner scored his first collegiate goal on even strength with assists going to Taylor Matson and Aaron Ness. That goal came after Michigan Tech’s Milos Gordic was assessed a two-minute minor for cross-checking at 1:22. The scoring was just getting going for the Gophers, and at 5:13, on even strength, Mike Hoeffel cracked the twine to put Minnesota up 2-0 with assists from Erik Haula and Jay Barriball. Two minutes and fifteen seconds later (at 7:28), Hoeffel scored again when he took a series of passes from Barriball and Cade Fairchild and put Minnesota’s third goal home in the first eight minutes. This means that the Gopher squad was humming early. At 9:11, Minnesota’s Mike Hoeffel would go to the sin bin for hooking and Michigan Tech’s Ryan Furne would score his fourth goal of the season on that power play at 9:53 without an assist. Through the first 9:53, Minnesota would dominate the shots column, leading 20-7 at that time. Things settled down and the teams started skating in the middle part and third part of the period. Things got so calm until Seth Helgeson put Minnesota down a man for interference at 17:53. Michigan Tech would add a second power play goal at 18:34 when Milos Gordic scored his fifth goal of the season with assists from Jacob Johnstone and Ryan Furne. Minnesota outshot Michigan Tech in the first period 21-11, and the Gophers went 0-1 on the man-advantage. As mentioned before, Tech went 2-2 on the power play in the opening frame. Minnesota goaltender Kent Patterson played one less second (19:59) than Husky starter Kevin Genoe (20:00) in the first, and you can add that second from the Gardiner goal early as the extra attacker was on the ice.
Michigan Tech started the second period down a goal, and for the first four minutes of period two skating right with the Gophers until the 4:47 mark when Aaron Pietilla would go to the sin bin for hooking, giving Minnesota only their second power play on the night. That power play would light the lamp at 6:11 as Minnesota’s Jake Hansen scored with assists going to Jay Barriball (his third of the night) and Cade Fairchild (his second tonight). Through the 26:11 mark you had 44 total shots, and the majority of these went off of Golden Gopher sticks. The first major scrum of the night occurred at just over eleven minutes in, as Minnesota’s Jay Barriball would be assessed a two-minute minor for high sticking, and Michigan Tech’s Aaron Pietilla as well as Mikael Licktieg would get called for roughing and boarding respectively. All penalties occurred at 11:09, and Minnesota earned a well-deserved power play. Jake Hansen took all of sixty seconds and put a puck home with assists on the 4 on 3 exchange from Erik Haula and Mike Hoeffel making the score 5-2 Golden Gophers. Michigan Tech would give the Gophers yet another power play chance at the 15:11 mark when he went for cross-checking and the attempt was the Golden Gophers’ fourth to 35:11 total time played in the game. Late in the period, Minnesota was outshooting the Huskies by an 18-4 count (or a 9-2 margin if you want it clearer) and if you couple that with the 21-11 margin after the first twenty minutes, you’d see just how well Minnesota was really playing. At the end of two periods, Minnesota was outshooting Michigan Tech 40-15 (add an extra shot late), but a 2-3 period on the man-advantage contributed to Minnesota being 3-4 through two periods. Michigan Tech had zero man-advantages in the second, leaving their total at a perfect 2-2.
The third period would start slow and controlled on both sides with seven total shots to boot until the first penalty of the period was called. At 7:05, Minnesota’s Max Gardiner (first goal scorer tonight) went into hockey jail for hooking, and thus Michigan Tech was given their third opportunity of the game. The power play for the Huskies went wasted and only had twenty total shots to the 9:05 mark in the third period. The Gardiner penalty would prove to be the final penalty of the game as each team skated cleanly for the final 11:55. At 13:49, Milos Gordic would score his sixth goal of the season on even strength with assists going to Ryan Furne and Carl Nielsen. That made the score 5-3 until Minnesota’s Jacob Cepis scored his fifth goal of 2010-11 on even strength making the score 6-3 on the goal at 15:22 with assists going to Seth Helgeson and Nick Bjugstad. Daniel Holmberg scored the final goal of the night for Michigan Tech at 19:16 on even strength, but even with the assist going to Steven Seigo, the goal kept Michigan Tech down 6-4 and that’s where it’d stay as the Gophers picked up a necessary victory tonight. Shots in the third were Minnesota’s 10-8 for 50-23 overall. Power play totals had Minnesota going 2-4 and Michigan Tech going 2-3 to end the game.
The same two teams are in action tomorrow evening at MacInnes Ice Arena at 6pm central time. Listen to the game on the Gopher Radio Network with Wally Shaver and Glen Sonmor, and foamcage.com will have a full wrapup afterwards. If you want to contact the Gopher Puck Examiner, either email Disch61@hotmail.com or leave a comment below. Facebook users can search “Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey Examiner” for updates on stories and other exclusive content.
Until next time, I’ll see you at the rink!