Clark leads Gophers to 4-3 comeback win at Michigan

Jimmy Clark’s two-goal effort ignited the University of Minnesota’s, 4-3, comeback win at No. 8/9 Michigan Friday night inside Yost Ice Arena. Brody Lamb chipped in a career-high three points, including the late game winner with 3:28 to play in regulation.

The sixth-ranked Golden Gophers (5-3-1 overall, 1-2-0 B1G) erased a two-goal deficit on the road to hand the Wolverines (5-5-1 overall, 1-3-1 B1G) their third-straight loss in Big Ten Conference play. The trio of Clark, Brody Lamb, and Connor Kurth combined for the final three goals of the night to secure the victory.

The ‘U’ got trapped in its defensive zone and the home side jumped to a 1-0 lead at the 1:37 mark, batting a puck from midair. The deficit was short lived as the Maroon and Gold scored less than two minutes later. After a clean breakout, Mason Nevers picked up a Jaxon Nelson drop pass and circled behind the net before feeding Bryce Brodzinski for an open look in the slot. The fifth-year senior finished off his fifth goal of the year, pulling Minnesota even. A late power-play chance for the visitors was killed off and the Gophers calmed a Michigan surge across the final minute as the teams skated to intermission, tied 1-1.

The second stanza was tilted in favor of Minnesota as it maintained offensive pressure until a penalty five minutes into the frame. The potent Wolverines struck for their NCAA-leading 18th power-play goal and three minutes later, scored again on another 5-on-4 opportunity for a 3-1 cushion with 9:59 to play in the second.

Minnesota got its turn on an extended power-play a minute after the goal as a Michigan player was whistled for a five-minute major and game misconduct following a dangerous hit to the head. Momentum stayed on the home team as it erased the full major and appeared to preserve the two-goal edge until the speed of Jimmy Clark caught the Wolverines on their heels as the period wound to the finish. The freshman collected his own rebound and scored on a wraparound with just 1.5 seconds remaining, making it 3-2 through two full periods.

It was an intense start for the third frame as both sides were able to generate an attack, but the goaltenders would not budge. That changed at the 9:30 mark when the Gophers got the equalizer from Clark, his second goal of the night. Lamb cleared the puck up to Kurth, who drove to the goal and Clark was there to fight through a check and put away the rebound for a 3-3 tie. The Gophers again had to defend a Michigan rush before starting to build up their own push that led to the winning goal with 3:28 on the clock. Lamb buried a slick feed from Kurth after the sophomore won a puck battle below the goal line. The Maroon and Gold held on to complete the comeback thanks to a 37-save performance of Justen Close.