MacNaughton Cup within reach after sweep

Mark Remme

COLORADO SPRINGS – It was an affair filled with awkward bounces, missed passes and whiffs.

But Minnesota’s men’s hockey team learned it’s not always about being pretty.

The second-ranked Gophers doubled Colorado College’s home conference losses in one weekend, earning a sweep with a 3-2 win in front of 7,809 people at Colorado Springs World Arena.

Minnesota freshman center Mike Carman notched two goals in the contest, one that broke a scoreless tie in the second and another that proved to be the game-winner at 8:10 of the third.

Carman hadn’t found the net since scoring two short-handed goals against Michigan on Nov. 25.

“I guess they come in bunches,” Carman said. “I’ll keep scoring if I can put in two or three a game.”

That game-winning goal came 22 seconds after Tigers freshman winger Mike Testwuide tied the score at 2-2 at the expense of sophomore goalie Jeff Frazee, who whiffed and fell trying to clear a loose puck, leaving the net wide open.

The fluke goal is the second given up in three games played for Frazee, who also gave up a 180-foot goal to North Dakota’s Robbie Bina on Jan. 27.

But Frazee finished the game strong, holding off a late surge by No. 14 Colorado College and even attempting to score an empty net goal.

“It’s every goalie’s dream to score a goal,” an un-phased Frazee said after the game.

Minnesota earned two more points toward defending their WCHA regular season championship, but perhaps a thank you is in order to a border rival who helped the Gophers generate a seven-point conference lead.

Roughly 1,000 miles to the northeast of Colorado Springs in Madison, Wisc., the Badgers mustered up a win and a tie with St. Cloud State and muscled three points away from a Huskies team hoping to keep pace with Minnesota.

With four games remaining, including three at home, the Gophers look to be in prime position to hoist the MacNaughton Cup a second year in a row.

But Carman’s not counting the chickens before they’ve hatched.

“No one’s looking ahead to that yet,” Carman said of winning the regular season title. “We have to come in and take care of business next weekend. As soon as we can do that I’ll be feeling pretty good.”

GAME SUMMARY

1st 2nd 3rd — T

Gophers 0 2 1 — 3

Tigers 0 0 2 — 2

SCORING

1st: NO SCORING

2nd: UMN: Carman-5 (Lucia-7, Barriball-17), Stoa-11 (Okposo-17, Wheeler-18)

3rd: UMN: Carman-6 (Barriball-18, Anderson-6); CC: McCulloch-6 (Rau-15, Kilpatrick-18), Testwuide-6 (unassisted)