Notre Dame surges late to beat Gopher men’s hockey 4-2

The No. 6/6 Minnesota men’s hockey team dropped game one of the weekend series against No. 17/18 Notre Dame, 4-2, at 3M Arena at Mariucci Friday night.

The Golden Gophers (5-4-2 overall, 1-3-1 B1G) scored on the power play late in the second period to tie the game before the Fighting Irish (7-3-2 overall, 3-0-2 B1G) got the final two goals, including an empty-net tally, to snap a four-game losing streak inside 3M Arena at Mariucci.

An early two-man advantage, thanks to Irish penalties 21 seconds apart, gave the home side a chance to attack less than three minutes into the opening frame. After winning the faceoff, captain Mike Koster rang a shot off the post and Bryce Brodzinski did the same thing on the next shift as the Gophers were unable to convert. The Maroon and Gold did break through first at the 10:10 mark as Rhett Pitlick buried a rebound after a Brodzinski shot was deflected in front of the net. The lead did not last long as the Irish converted a 2-on-1 opportunity two minutes later and the teams remained tied, 1-1, at intermission.

Forty-seven seconds after the second period started, Notre Dame blocked a shot at its own blue line and pushed the puck up ice for the go-ahead tally following a Minnesota turnover behind its cage. The Gophers increased their pressure in the offensive zone and slanted ice in their favor only to be stopped at each chance, despite a 17-2 edge in shots across the middle frame. The Maroon and Gold had to deliver a late penalty kill and used that momentum to pull even with 1:21 remaining in the stanza. Jimmy Snuggerud collected a long power-play rebound and turned to fire before the Irish netminder could recover, sending the teams to the locker room, deadlocked 2-2.

The third period started with the Irish taking control early as they struck for the eventual winning goal at the 3:30 mark, taking advantage of an offensive zone turnover by the Gophers. Sam Rinzel used a strong drive to the slot, looking for the equalizer, but his backhand bid was denied. With less than a minute remaining in regulation, Minnesota pulled its goaltender until the visitors scored into the empty net with 26 seconds to play, securing the series-opening win, 4-2.

Pitlick posted his seventh point during a six-game stretch, scoring his second goal of the year, before adding an assist … It was the Plymouth, Minn., native’s third multi-point effort this season, all of which have come in the previous five games … Fifth-year seniors Jaxon Nelson and Brodzinski continue to produce offensively as Nelson has a point in nine of 11 games played this season following an assist, while Brodzinski has reached the scoresheet in seven of his last 10 outings after a two-assist performance … Snuggerud net his team-leading eighth goal of the year and 11th career marker on the power play … Minnesota entered the night with a 4-1-0 record in games played on Friday.

Next Up: Home vs. Notre Dame (Nov. 18)
Minnesota continues its four-game homestand Nov. 18 as it closes the weekend series against the Fighting Irish

Courtesy: University of Minnesota Sports Information