ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth played two high-scoring games earlier this season, so you knew goals wouldn’t be hard to come by on Saturday.
After two days of action, it appeared Minnesota and UMD didn’t want the inaugural North Star College Cup to end.
The Gophers and Bulldogs tied 4-4 in the championship game of the tournament and Minnesota won the cup on a shootout as Kyle Rau and Seth Ambroz scored shootout goals.
“I thought it was a heck of a hockey game,” UMD coach Scott Sandelin said. “I thought both teams played very well. It probably deserved to end in a tie, but it’s always tough to lose shootouts.”
Minnesota went 3-for-7 on the power play Saturday night and UMD went 1-for-6. There were 41 combined penalty minutes.
“Their power play allowed them to stay in the game,” Sandelin said. “That’s what you need because it really comes down to that.”
Adam Wilcox stopped 38 of Duluth’s 42 shots and was voted MVP of the tournament.
“He deserved it,” Ambroz said. “He’s our backbone this whole weekend. Obviously, we didn’t play the best we could have. Obviously, you are not going to play well every weekend, but it’s really nice that we had ‘Coxy’ in net this weekend.”
Wilcox’s counterpart, Aaron Crandall, had 23 saves in the game.
Minnesota and UMD have now played three times this season and finished 1-1-1 in those games.
“We’ve had some good games with them,” Sandelin said. “Obviously, the games at Mariucci were a tale of two different nights, you know, 6-1 and 6-2. Tonight was a pretty even hockey game.”
After about 10 minutes in the first period, the fireworks started going off quickly.
Rau scored the first goal of the game when he found a puck in the crease and hammered it home.
Two minutes later, the Bulldogs scored two goals in 20 seconds. Caleb Herbert tied things up and Austin Farley followed with a beautiful goal to give the Bulldogs the 2-1 advantage.
Nate Condon tied the game back up with four minutes left in the first on the power play. Ambroz and Ben Marshall assisted on Condon’s fifth goal of the season and second of the weekend.
“The guys got a little more vested in the game as we went along,” Gophers’ coach Don Lucia said. “More blocked shots, more body contact. It was a good, hard-fought game and weekend, which was good for our team. We needed it.”
The two teams played a pretty even and uneventful second period until the final minute when Marshall was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for contact to the head. Andy Welinski took an unsportsmanlike penalty on the same play.
UMD took another penalty early in the third, which gave Minnesota a power play. Hudson Fasching capitalized on said power play for his second goal in consecutive nights.
Farley netted his second goal of the night minutes later before the major power-play time expired.
Travis Boyd gave Minnesota the 4-3 lead 12 minutes into the third and Joe Basaraba evened the game for the final time at the 17:51 mark of the period.
“I think our team showed a lot of character and we played a strong game,” Sandelin said. “You have to keep battling. Joe had a great goal and we sent it to overtime.”