In the biggest game of the season to date, it was clear Michigan came to play. From the drop of the puck, the Wolverines checked, skated, and pounded on a surprised Minnesota team, taking it to them. But sometimes, the calls and pucks don’t go your way. Michigan gave a glorious effort, but fell in the extra session, 3-2.
Michigan started off the game on a tear, putting tremendous pressure on Minnesota, and outshooting them, 7-1.
Defenseman Brady Skjei got the Gophers on the board first, on a beautiful individual effort. He knocked the puck out of the air at the right point, eluded a Michigan player, and fired a seeing-eye wrister that somehow avoided sticks and bodies to sneak past Michigan freshman goaltender Zach Nagelvoort. Minnesota had weathered Michigan’s early storm, and led, 1-0.
Michigan freshman Evan Allen scored his third of the season on a strange play and a break that Michigan needed. Off a faceoff, Allen skated deep into the Minnesota zone on the right side. Almost parallel with the goal line, Allen threw a shot on net that bounced off Minnesota sophomore goaltender Adam Wilcox’s skate, sneaking behind the left post at 12:36.
The Wolverines got a huge lift with a late tally from sophomore forward Andrew Copp. Freshman forward Tyler Motte scooped up a puck at center ice and skated hard down the right side. He spied Copp beating his man to the front of the net, and saucered a perfect pass to the slot, where Copp scored as fell to the ice at 18:02.
Michigan had momentum on their side—as well as a power play to start the second—and they outshot the visitors from Minneapolis, 11-9.
Minnesota revved up their offense in the second, but so far, Nagelvoort has been up to the challenge. He’s stacked his pad on a pair of one-timers. He absolutely robbed the Gophers on a wide-open net, as he slid across his crease to just block a shot.
Another power play for the Gophers falls by the wayside. Excellent use of sticks in lanes for Michigan.
The Gophers tie up the game off a beautiful individual effort from forward Justin Kloos. Kloos took the puck and weaved through center ice. He forced Michigan’s defenseman to criss-cross just as he entered the top of the slot. Kloos unleashed a wicked wrister that was placed perfectly underneath the crossbar to tie things up at two-all. Michigan gave up the late goal at 17:52 of the second.
After two, the Gophers had grabbed hold of the momentum and also led in shots, 20-18.
The Maroon and Gold continued their assault of Nagelvoort as the third kicked off, but the freshman was outstanding, stopping two glorious chances down low and somehow keeping one out as he was on his knees and turned around in his own crease.
Minnesota wins in overtime after a questionable call gives the Gophers a power play. DeBlois called for hooking as Minnesota freshman Kyle Rau splits two defenders. DeBlois slightly lifted Rau’s stick, but there didn’t appear to be a hook—or slash—on the play. As objective as you can say it, that wasn’t a penalty. A puck squirts loose, and the Gophers bang it in to win the game at 2:44 of overtime.
The Maize and Blue gave one of their better efforts of the season, especially defensively. They blocked 25 total shots, five of which can be attributed to senior defenseman Kevin Clare. The Wolverines denied the Gophers shots from point-blank range, were physical on the puck, and did not acquiesce in deference to Minnesota. They pounded on them all game, took away their time and space, and only gave up three goals to the nation’s No. six offense (3.51 GPG). The Wolverines gave everything they had; the feeling has to be one of absolute heartbreak. They must give another outstanding effort like this one tomorrow night to get a victory and boost themselves in the Pairwise rankings. If they do, they will be rewarded.