MINNEAPOLIS — No. 12 Minnesota blanked Alaska-Anchorage 3-0 at Mariucci Arena Friday night, as Dave Fischer scored his first career goal for the game winner and netminder Jeff Frazee earned the shutout.
Minnesota controlled play for the opening stanza. The Seawolves only attempted four shots on the period, none from inside the circle. Meanwhile Fischer equaled Alaska’s output with four attempts on his own in the period, finding paydirt on his last shot.
“It took about five seconds to get in there,” remarked Fischer. “It was a relief, I can’t tell you [how much]. It was a long time coming. To watch that twine snap in this venue is a special thing.”
The goal at 16:50 was the first of his college career. Fischer received a pass back to the point from Blake Wheeler. He took the puck on the left board and drifted along the blue line, found a lane and threw a wrister towards the net which beat screened Seawolves netminder Jon Olthuis over the blocker.
The shots were 14-3 at the time, though Minnesota would only get one more shot in the period.
“I thought the week off obviously hurt us,” commented Alaska coach Dave Shyiak on his team’s sluggish start.
The Seawolves shook off the slow start and found their game early in the second. Fueled by three power-play opportunities early in the second period, they gained momentum. During that stretch they outshot Minnesota 9-4 but failed to score a goal.
“We had some great looks on the power play. If one or two of those would have went in it would have been a different game,” commented Shyiak.
The Gophers turned the tables in the later part of the second, outshooting the Seawolves 10-3 but failed to stretch the lead to two goals.
The final stanza started out a stalemate as neither team generated quality scoring chances. The Seawolves held the puck territorially in Minnesota’s zone but could not get many shooting lanes.
“The first five or 10 minutes of the third seemed like gridlock,” remarked Fischer.
Kyle Okposo broke the stalemate and put the Gophers ahead 2-0 on a 2-on-1 give-and-go with Jay Barriball.
“Kyle looked like a dominant player tonight. Some of the earlier games this year he looked like an ordinary player. Kyle is a special player,” remarked Lucia.
Two minutes later Winston DayChief missed a open net on the power play, sliding the puck under Frazee through the crease.
Blake Wheeler put the game out of reach at 13:55 with a backhander. Wheeler’s goal capped off a 3-on-2 fast break where defenseman Luke Beaverson had broken his stick in the Gopher zone creating the odd man rush.
Freshman Drew Fisher saw his first action of his career for the Gophers.
The two teams meet again Saturday night.