MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Gophers looked to have the game in hand with a 4-0 lead headed into the third, but Wayne State struck for two straight goals on special teams.
The first came when Mike Forgie scored on a power play at 5:21. The second, at 14:13 came when Jordan Inglis scored shorthanded. Inglis’ goal was from 45 feet out, and Alex Kangas caught a piece of it.
“They can have good stretches and then flub one,” commented Minnesota coach Don Lucia on his goaltenders’ inconsistency.
“Whoever has the best week of practice will be in net,” Lucia added.
Tony Lucia netted a goal less than two minutes later that swung the momentum back to the Gophers’ side and iced the game.
“Sometimes our mentality is we are up 4-0 and we give up,” comment Lucia. “We have to play hard each and every night to win because otherwise we are not good enough.”
The game started with no official shots for nine and half minutes by either team. Minnesota held the puck for most of the time in Wayne State’s zone and attempted more than a dozen shots, but kept missing the net or having them blocked by the Warriors or their own teammates.
The Gophers finally got on the board at 13:46, as Mike Hoeffel scored the first goal of the game on a power play. David Fischer shot the puck from the top of a diamond formation. Jay Bariball scooped up the rebound and fed Hoeffel on the right side of the crease for the rebound goal past a down Kyle Funkenhauser.
Blake Wheeler made it 2-0 at 15:52 on a breakaway goal. David Fischer set up the play by circling at center ice. Wheeler snuck between the defenseman and Fischer fed him just as he turned into the zone for the breakaway goal.
At 18:20 of the first, Wayne State had a goal waived off for playing the puck with a high stick. The play went to the replay box, but the on-ice call of no goal stood.
“From the bench, it looked like it was below the cross bar,” said Warriors’ coach Bill Wilkinson
The Gophers took a 3-0 lead on a shorthanded goal by Derek Peltier. Evan Kaufman caught up to the puck on the left half wall and fed Peltier, who lifted a backhand redirection over Funkenhauser.
The Gophers scored their second power play goal of the game at 10:08 when Evan Kaufman fired a puck from the point after the draw.
Mike Devoney replaced Funkenhauser at 10:08 of the second with the score 4-0, and Devoney stopped 14 of 15 shots he faced in the game.
Minnesota have a home and away versus St Cloud next weekend, while Wayne State heads to Northern Michigan for two games.