College Hockey:
Minnesota denies Michigan’s rally attempt, widens Big Ten lead

MINNEAPOLIS — No. 2 Minnesota held off a strong third-period surge by No. 10 Michigan for a 5-3 win at Mariucci Arena on Friday.

Michigan cut the lead to one goal at 2:47 of the third when Zach Hyman picked up a puck on the left side wall and skated parallel to the goal line uncontested, beating Adam Wilcox on a wraparound to the far side.

“It was a nice play to walk in out of the corner early in the third period to make it 4-3 and then it was kind of game on,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said. “I thought they had the momentum. They seized control.”

The goal ignited the Wolverines, who held Minnesota without a shot for the first eight minutes of the third period and outshot the Gophers 8-1. The play was so lopsided that Minnesota had a hard time getting its lines changed.

“I thought we got back to our game,” Michigan coach Red Berenson said. “We played harder. We created more. We made it a real game. Our team got going in the second and got better in the third.”

But the Gophers held off the Wolverines charge and gained some separation late in the third period.

Minnesota finally drove the puck in deep and got its cycle going. The pressure led to the first collegiate goal by Gabe Guertler at 15:21 and took the wind out of the Wolverines’ sails.

The Gophers started the second period fast as Hudson Fasching gave the Gophers a 2-0 lead on a breakaway goal at 1:19. Fasching split the defenders just outside his own blue line on a feed by and was off to the races, finishing the rush with a soft roller that went five hole on Michigan goalie Steve Racine.

Michigan’s first major scoring chance of the game came in the second when Wilcox came far out of his net but failed to ship it past Andrew Copp. Copp picked up the loose puck on the left side of the circle and fired a shot on net. Jake Parenteau slid on his knees and blocked the shot from going into the empty net.

The play really started to open up shortly before the midway point of the game. Michigan started to hold the puck deep in Minnesota end and took advantage of two power plays, netting two goals.

The Wolverines got on the board with a power-play goal by Copp at 9:45. Copp one timed it from the right blue line on a feed from JT Compher.

Just six seconds later, Taylor Cammarata picked the puck off Michael Downing’s stick off the ensuing faceoff at the blue line and scored on an unassisted breakaway.

Seth Ambroz made it 4-1 Minnesota just six seconds into a power play at 17:29 with a tip of a shot by Sam Warning from the right blue line.

The Wolverines came right back with a power-play goal of their own at 18:35 as Compher beat Wilcox high.

The Wolverines outshot Minnesota 17-9 in the later half of the second but the Gophers came out of the period with a two-goal lead.

Minnesota opened the scoring at 5:29 on a goal by Justin Kloos from the right circle. Kloos skated into the zone around a down Michigan defender and fired a shot past Racine.

“[Nate] Condon made a great play,” Kloos said. “He got the puck off the wall to me going full speed in the middle of the ice. Their [defenseman] was kind of standing flat-footed, so I tried to get him off balance a little bit. I made a wide move and threw it far side and luckily it went in.”

The Gophers controlled play in the opening stanza, outshooting the Wolverines 16-5. Their puck possession in the offensive zone resulted in three power-play chances, but the Gophers failed to score with the advantage.

“We just didn’t start on time,” Berenson said. “The other team was flying and we were chasing them. The three penalties did not help. Six minutes of D-zone time, and they were all over us gaining the momentum. It was a tough start.”

“The one thing when you play Michigan, they have a great 10-minute game to start off,” Lucia said. “We talked about it in our meetings that they have been a great first-period team all season long and that we wanted to make sure we matched that energy and we were able to do that today.”

Both teams were coming off rough series the weekend before. Minnesota was swept in Madison by the Badgers and Michigan was shut out by Penn State 4-0 last Saturday night for the Nittany Lions’ first Big Ten win.

Minnesota widened its lead in the Big Ten to seven points over Wisconsin and nine over Michigan.

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