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College Hockey:
Minnesota Thumps CC

Okposo's Hat Trick Leads The Way

— No. 3 Minnesota rolled to an 8-1 win over No. 20 Colorado College, led by a hat-trick from freshman Kyle Okposo.

Okposo capped off the hat trick halfway through the game, giving the Gophers a four-goal lead at 5-1. It was a tap-in four-on-four goal on a give-and-go with fellow freshman phenom Jay Bariball. Kyle was rewarded for his trick with thunderous applause as a treat in this Halloween weekend game.

“It feels great. I have been dreaming of this since I was a little kid,” remarked Okposo on the hat trick. “I have not had a hat trick since my Junior year in high school.”

The night was rough for Tigers netminder Drew O’Connell — he gave up eight goals on 34 shots.

“I don’t think that many goals were Drew’s fault,” commented CC coach Scott Owens.

While O’Connell was busy, Jeff Frazee could have taken a nap facing only 12 shots.

CC looked outgunned all night. Minnesota was able to generate quality scoring chances at will, even outshooting the CC power play and scoring two goals shorthanded.

The heartbreak goal was scored by Gopher freshman Mike Carman at 1:02 of the second period shorthanded. It came on a two-on-one with defenseman Alex Goligoski.

“We lost our composure. They just kept coming in waves,” remarked Owens.

“Sometimes its not who you play, its when you play them,” commented Lucia on CC’s performance.

Minnesota forward Kyle Okposo opened the scoring at 4:17 of the first when linemate Tyler Hirsh stole the puck off of CC defenseman Brian Connelly’s stick at the blueline. Hirsh drove down the right lane and dropped pass back to Okposo, who beat O’Connell with a wrister over the glove side.

Ben Gordon continued the early Gopher assault picking up a loose puck between the circles. He threw the puck on net just as Blake Wheeler entered the lane to screen O’Connell. The puck has seeing eyes and trickled past O’Connell for a 2-0 Gopher lead at 7:08.

Scott Thauwald got CC on the board capitalizing on a defensive miscue by freshman Erik Johnson at 14:58. Just as a penalty to CC’s Kris Fredheim expired, Johnson found himself chasing down a lose puck with the Tigers’ Patrosso. Johnson tried a turn around deke move and Patrosso didn’t fall for it picking Johnson’s pocket clean on a poke check and dropping the puck back for Thauwald who one-timed it past Frazee.

Okposo second goal of the game came at 7:15 of the second with another assist from Hirsh. Hirsh kept the puck in zone and found Okposo in deep. Okposo wristed the puck past a helpless O’Connell. Hirsh ended up with career high 3 assist on the night.

“He has made a huge difference in our team this year,” commented Lucia on Hirsh. “He is a great passer.”

Ten different Gophers figured in the scoring.

Next weekend Minnesota will travel to Minnesota-Duluth, while Colorado College hosts Michigan Tech.

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