MINNEAPOLIS — Holding a 2-0 lead entering the third, Minnesota suddenly found itself on its heels.
The Falcons started the stanza strong, outshooting Minnesota, 6-2, in the first six minutes. Until this stretch, the Gophers had controlled play, but quality chances by Stephen Carew on a breakaway and point-blank shot by Cole Gunner where turned aside by Adam Wilcox.
“Adam did not have to make many saves, but as he has done all year, when there is that breakdown, like the third period in a 2-0 game, when the guy walks in all alone and he makes the save,” said Minnesota coach Don Lucia. “Obviously, he earned that shutout tonight.”
The turning point of the game came on a penalty kill by the Gophers, as the Minnesota defense slammed the door and didn’t allow a shot for 11 minutes; this jump started the Gopher offense.
Kyle Rau and Nate Condon capped off the scoring, and Adam Wilcox notched his third shutout of the season.
Ryan Reilly made it 2-0 at 5:34 of the second on a one-timer on a pass from the corner by Christian Isackson. Reilly went high over the blocker of Jason Torf.
“It was a great play from that line going to the net, a nice quick shot; I thought that was his best game, and obviously when he plays like that he earns more ice time,” said Lucia.
The Gophers started strong, outshooting the Falcons, 11-4, in the opening stanza. They controlled the puck in Air Force’s zone and generating numerous quality chances.
Justin Holl came close hit the pipe on a backhand shot for just outside the goal crease that went across the goal month
Erik Haula opened the scoring for Minnesota on a crazy goal at 6:58. Jake Parenteau took a shot that went wide of the goal, finding Haula on the far side of the net behind the line. Haula banked the puck off a defenseman’s skate.
The second day of the Mariucci Classic features Alabama-Huntsville vs. Air Force at 4 p.m. CST, while Boston College will face host Minnesota at 7 p.m.
“It’s not often you get the defending national chaps and the number one team in the country on your home ice; it’s a great measuring stick for us,” commented Lucia.