Gophers skate to a 2-2 with Michigan
For the second-straight night, the No. 6/5 Minnesota men’s hockey team rallied from a third-period deficit at No. 8/9 Michigan and forced a 2-2 tie from Yost Ice Arena Saturday night.
The Golden Gophers (5-3-2 overall, 1-2-1 B1G) extended their unbeaten streak to four games and added a point to their Big Ten Conference total against the Wolverines (5-5-2 overall, 1-3-2 B1G), who claimed the extra point by winning a shootout, 1-0. Jimmy Snuggerud scored with less than five minutes to play in regulation that sent the game to overtime.
The series finale had a much cleaner start for the Maroon and Gold but a turnover in the neutral zone allowed the home side two point-blank chances that were turned aside by goaltender Justen Close. The fifth-year senior had to make another critical save to stop the Wolverines off the rush five minutes into the action. After an extended sequence of offensive pressure, the Gophers were pinned in their zone and Michigan got the opening tally at the 13:40 mark and held the edge through the first frame.
Minnesota came out of intermission looking to pull even and nearly did when Sam Rinzel had an open shot at the near post that missed wide. The Maroon and Gold then found itself on a man advantage that the home team erased, and the score remained 1-0 halfway into the contest. It was all Gophers on the attack during a three-minute span, where they peppered the Michigan netminder with seven shots, only to be denied at each chance. The pressure led to another Minnesota power play, and it would not be denied this time as Brody Lamb rifled home a wrister with 2:02 remaining in the stanza, making it a 1-1 tie. The Gophers went to the penalty box in the final minute and the Wolverines capitalized as the clock showed 11.2 seconds, retaking a one-goal margin, 2-1.
The third period went back-and-forth before an infraction was called on Minnesota seven minutes into the frame. The visitors killed off the man advantage and continued to battle as it pushed Michigan back. Oliver Moore’s strong forecheck gave Rinzel a shot from the point that found its way through traffic and on goal where Jimmy Snuggerud was waiting for the rebound. The sophomore slid the puck under the pads and the Gophers tied the game, 2-2, at the 15:34 mark. Neither team broke the deadlock down the stretch, forcing overtime.
Minnesota maintained possession for a majority of the extra period, testing the Wolverines goal, but the tie remained until the final buzzer. The home team scored once in the shootout to claim the extra point in the standings, while the Gophers picked up a total of four conference points during the series.