Gophers, UMD tie Sunday night

gophers vs UMD hockeyFor the second consecutive game, Minnesota held the powerful Minnesota-Duluth offense to only two goals and will head into winter break after taking three of four points from the second-ranked Bulldogs after a 2-2 tie on Sunday afternoon at Mariucci Arena. For the first time all season, the Gophers salvaged a point after trailing heading into the final period. Minnesota goaltender Kent Patterson made 41 saves on the night, including 36 in the final 40 minutes of regulation.

The Gophers opened the scoring late in the first period when Jake Hansen tipped a Justin Holl slapshot from the point over UMD goalie Aaron Crandall and into the top corner with 2:34 remaining in the period. The goal was scored with one second remaining on an interference penalty taken by Trent Palm.

The Bulldogs answered quickly, however, scoring less than two minutes later. With under a minute to play in the period, Jack Connolly took a pass from Justin Faulk and put a shot over the left shoulder of Patterson to even the game at 1-1.

Minnesota outshot Minnesota-Duluth 15-6 in the first period, but the next period was a different story.

The Bulldogs controlled the play in the second stanza, reeling off 22 shots. Thankfully for the Gophers, Patterson was up to the task in goal. The only shot that found twine was a wrister by Mike Seidel, who beat Patterson with short-side shot on the tail end of a 2-on-1 just past the midway point in the period.

UMD carried and 2-1 lead into the final 20 minutes, but the Gophers, who were previously 0-7-0 this season when trailing after two periods, would fight back.

After killing the final 47 seconds of a Nico Sacchetti hooking minor, Minnesota gained momentum and finally drew even.

Just past the five-minute mark of the final frame, Seth Helgeson fed freshman Nate Condon who delivered a backhanded, no-look, behind-the-back pass to Jacob Cepis in front of the Bulldog crease. In alone, Cepis deked to his right and backhanded the puck through the legs of Crandall.

After Cepis tied the game, the Gophers carried play until Max Gardiner was whistled for hitting Connolly from behind with 7:04 to go. The Gophers killed the ensuing five-minute UMD power play to maintain the tie and force overtime.

Minnesota took four shots in the five-minute extra session and didn’t allow a shot against. However, the Gophers could not find the back of the net the game ended in a tie.

The Gophers held the ninth-ranked UMD power play scoreless on six opportunities on the night and all four Minnesota lines contributed at least one goal on the weekend.

“We really needed that,” said Cepis. “Three points against a very good team is…almost a best-case scenario. It’s a confidence-builder going into Christmas.”

Minnesota gets back to action on New Year’s Eve against No. 13 Union in the first game of the Mariucci Classic.

Photo by Brad Rempel

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