Men’s hockey Live Blog: Gophers vs. (4) North Dakota

by Max Sanders

FINAL-A dominant performance in all phases by the Gophers leads to a 5-1 rout of their arch-rivals. Minnesota scored five goals, Alex Kangas made 34 saves, and the Gophers head to a home-and-home series against St. Cloud State having gained a crucial three points against North Dakota. 5:53 3rd-Tony Lucia laid out in front of a North Dakota shot, and took a puck to the hand. As Lucia was laying on the ground, Corey Fienhage pushed Lucia and was called for a penalty. Lucia skated off the ice on his own power and went to the locker room. 8:23 3rd-The Sioux power play ends with Kangas making one chest save. The goalie has played an outstanding game, stopping 31 shots up till this point. 10:53 3rd-North Dakota will be on its third power play of the period, as Minnesota’s Mike Hoeffel is called for tripping. 11:27 3rd-The shut-out effort by Kangas is thwarted by North Dakota’s Darcy Zajac. The forward fired a shot from the slot that went high past Kangas for the goal. GOPHERS 5, NORTH DAKOTA 1. 13:07 3rd-The Gophers have killed off two successive power plays. Minnesota has dominated North Dakota in every facet. The power play goal by Hoeffel extends the Gophers streak of power play goals to eight games. 15:01 3rd-Just as the Sioux power play ends, they receive another, as Minnesota’s Patrick White is called for contact to the head. 18:11 3rd-North Dakota will be on the power play, as Tony Lucia is called for tripping. 19:05 3rd-Minnesota is on fire. Just 55 seconds into the third period, Mike Hoeffel fired a shot standing on the right dot of the face off circle in the North Dakota zone that went past the right leg of Eidsness for the power play goal. GOPHERS 5, NORTH DAKOTA 0. Second Intermission Re-Cap: Goals: Gophers 3 (Budish, Lucia, Cepis); North Dakota 0 Shots on Goal: Gophers 12; North Dakota 12 Penalties: Gophers ; North Dakota Instant Analysis: If Minnesota is to turn around its season, the second period this game very well may be the turning point. The Gophers absolutely took it to the Sioux, putting three goals past the normally reliable Brad Eidsness. The goals were scored through hustle, physicality and speed and now Minnesota sits 20 minutes away from a crucial three point weekend against their arch-rival. 00:00 2nd-Wow. What a second period of hockey. Minnesota has turned this game into a rout, in the most entertaining way possible. Three goals were scored in the period, coming by way of Budish, Lucia and Cepis. The Cepis goal was just seven seconds after Lucia’s breakaway score. After the fourth goal North Dakota seemed to lose their composure, resulting in two players getting sent to the box. Andrew MacWilliam and Brad Malone were each sent to the box, giving Minnesota 29 seconds of a five-on-three, and an additional 1:18 of the man-advantage once the third period begins. 1:47 2nd-Just seven seconds after the Lucia goal, Minnesota turns the game into a rout. Off the face off Schroeder skated down the left side of the ice, and from just outside the net found Cepis on the right side, who buried the shot past Eidsness. GOPHERS 4, NORTH DAKOTA 0. 1:54 2nd-The Gophers find the back of the net yet again. After deflecting a shot, Tony Lucia took the puck all alone, skated the length of the ice and put a wrister past Eidsness, giving Minnesota a three goal lead. GOPHERS 3, NORTH DAKOTA 0. 5:02 2nd-Crashing the net, Zach Budish doubles the Gophers lead to 2. Budish skated down the left side of the ice, and from just inside the line of the left face off circle put a shot high and past the blocker side of Eidsness, extending the Minnesota lead to 2. GOPHERS 2, NORTH DAKOTA 0. 11:19 2nd-After a delayed penalty was called on Minnesota’s Patrick White for interference, the junior touched the puck and play was whistled dead. North Dakota’s Mario Lamoureux hit White hard after play was over, receiving an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. 12:02 2nd-Minnesota will be on its first power play of the second period, as Chris VandeVelde was cited for interference. Play will be four-on-four for 22 seconds before the Gophers get 1:38 of the man-advantage. 13:40 2nd-North Dakota will be on its second power play of the period, as Minnesota is called for too many men on the ice. Serving the penalty for the Gophers will be Josh Birkholz. 13:52 2nd-Non-stop action during and after the power play on both ends. North Dakota forced the action during the length of their man-advantage, with several close calls getting stopped by Kangas, including one particularly outstanding glove save on a shot from just outside the crease. Minnesota stormed back after the power play and nearly added their second goal of the night. Nico Sacchetti skated down the right side of the ice and found Jake Hansen streaking in the slot, but Hansen was unable to corral the puck and put a shot on net. 16:52 2nd-North Dakota will be on its second power play of the night, as Minnesota’s Josh Birkholz was called for slashing. First Intermission Re-Cap: Goals: Gophers 1 (Birkholz); North Dakota 0 Shots on Goal: Gophers 9; North Dakota 9 Penalties: Gophers 1; North Dakota 1 Instant Analysis: Minnesota couldn’t have asked for a better first period. Needing to start the game off strong, the Gophers have matched North Dakota’s intensity, capitalizing with a Birkholz goal with just under two minutes remaining in the period. After dominating what was roundly thought of as a week group of competition during winter break, Minnesota has its first real test of the second half this weekend, and through four regular periods and an overtime, they seem to be up to the challenge thus far. 00:00 1st-The first period comes to a close with the Gophers holding a 1-0 lead. Sacchetti’s shot appeared to bounce off the top pipe, and Birkholz was there to clean up the rebound, scoring his third goal of the season. 1:49 1st-Minnesota gets on the board first. Nico Sacchetti took a pass in the slot and fired a shot. The attempt hit off the pipe and bounced out, where Josh Birkholz was in front of the net to swat the puck past a diving Eidsness. GOPHERS 1, NORTH DAKOTA 0. 2:49 1st-The penalty ends with no scoring, but the Gophers have taken over the offensive attack late in the first period. Cepis has sparked the team with his fast play, using his speed to generate scoring chances and draw penalties. 5:13 1st-A rivalry within the rivalry is starting to develop. Jacob Cepis had the puck deep in the North Dakota zone and was taken down by North Dakota defenseman Ben Blood. Blood was called for holding, giving Minnesota its first power play of the night. The two players have tangled all weekend, with Cepis eager to take on the much bigger Blood. 9:51 1st-Minnesota gets its first real chance of the night. North Dakota’s Corey Fienhage turned the puck over just outside the right faceoff circle of the Sioux zone. Nick Larson picked up the puck and fired a shot, which sailed just left of the net. 12:02 1st-A turnover near center ice by Schroeder leads to a North Dakota breakaway by Mike Cichy. The forward fired a shot from just inside the blue line, which was chest saved by Kangas. 12:42 1st-The first penalty ends with a solid defensive effort from the Gophers penalty kill unit. North Dakota applied pressure, but Kangas made a couple chest saves, and the defensemen prevented more shots from getting to Kangas.

15:42 1st-First penalty of the night goes against Minnesota, as Cade Fairchild is called for hooking.

16:28 1st-Play early on is rather slow-paced. The action has focused in the Minnesota zone, with skaters on both ends seeming worn out from a long, physical game Friday night.