MINNEAPOLIS — Travis Oleksuk scored the game-winning goal in OT on the third shot in a sequence of blocked shots as Minnesota-Duluth edged Minnesota, 4-3.
The first two shots where taken by Rob Bordson and Justin Fontaine, but both deflected off a defenseman. The third shot found a hole through the defensive shell.
“Sometimes it is not always about scoring goals,” said Minnesota-Duluth coach Scott Sandelin on his team’s hustle retrieving pucks on blocked shots.
Minnesota had fought back to tie the game, forcing overtime at 17:41 of the third on a goal by Nico Sacchetti on the power play. Sacchetti scored on a screen shot, putting the puck just inside the pipe.
“When you’re down by a goal, to score on the power play late is important,” said Minnesota coach Don Lucia on how his team tied the game.
The Bulldogs took their first lead of the night at 5:59 of the third on Jack Connolly’s second goal of the game. Mike Montgomery took a shot from the blue line that went behind the goal. Cody Danberg pick up the puck and centered it for the one-timer by Connolly.
It was the Bulldogs first goal not off a Minnesota defenseman’s skate on the night.
“Their first two goals went off us,” remarked Don Lucia on his team’s misfortune
The first period was evenly played. Both teams had some quality scoring chances but neither was able to get the bounce they needed to bury a puck.
The action picked up in the second period.
Minnesota started the fast scoring just 43 seconds into the period on a highlight real goal by Jordan Schroeder. Mike Hoeffel picked up the puck behind the net and threw it out front on a backhand to Schroeder, who had a defender directly in his way, so he moved the puck to his backhand, reached out and shot into the far side of the net. The defender screened Kenny Reiter from seeing what Schroeder had done, leaving him helpless on the shot.
Jake Hansen made it 2-0 Minnesota at the five minute mark when he picked up the puck in the neutral zone and skated to the top circle. His wrist shot appeared to be off-target, but it went off Reiter’s glove and trickled in.
“We got up 2-0 and took a penalty,” remarked Lucia.
“I thought we fought back tough from 2-0″, said Sandelin.
The Bulldogs answered with a power-play goal at 7:09 that was reviewed. Rod Bordson took a rising shot that Alex Kangas played with his blocker. The puck went up the middle in the air, where Mike Connolly hit it with his stick. The puck went straight down and found a Gophers’ defenseman’s skate en route to the back of the net.
At 15:42, Duluth got another fortunate bounce off defenseman David Fischer’s skate on a centering pass by Cody Danberg. The centering pass was backhanded and near the top of the goal circle with no one on the receiving end for the Duluth.
The two teams meet again Saturday night at 7:00 at Mariucci.