Minnesota loses in Mariucci Classic title game

The Gophers committed 13 penalties in their 3-2 loss to Northeastern.

by Drew Claussen

Looking to capture its 13th Mariucci Classic title in the tournamentâÄôs 21-year history, the Gophers hockey team took to the ice Saturday looking to defeat Northeastern, a team that had won eight straight games, and fell 3-2.

NortheasternâÄôs winning streak included two wins at Notre Dame and a win at Michigan, the Huskies defeated Princeton on Friday to advance to the championship game of the Classic.

Minnesota was coming off a convincing 5-1 defeat of Niagara on Friday.

The two teams skated to a 0-0 tie in the first period. Erik Haula saved a sure goal by diving in front of a Garrett Vermeersch shot when Kent Patterson was tied up in the right side of the goal crease.

The Gophers out shot the Huskies 12-4 in the first. Joe Miller and Seth Ambroz had the Gophers best scoring chances in the first. Miller rang a shot off the pipe from the slot and Ambroz had a one-on-one with the goalie but was denied.

The second period saw three goals in the first five minutes and multiple penalties.

After Seth Helgeson was sent to the box for cross checking Nate Condon stole the puck and shot a wrister past HuskiesâÄô goaltender Chris Rawlings for a shorthanded breakaway goal 55 seconds into the period.

âÄúWe scored two shorthanded goals,âÄù Gophers head coach Don Lucia said. âÄúIt seemed like we had our greatest energy at times in the game when we were shorthanded.âÄù

One minute later the Gophers took another penalty and the Huskies evened the game off of a faceoff.

âÄúWe played almost the entire second period on the penalty kill and you know thatâÄôs not a recipe for success,âÄù Condon said. âÄúThere was a lot of iffy stuff going on out there by our team and we’ve just got to correct that.âÄù

Northeastern took the lead when Steve Quailer stole the puck in the left corner and skated it in on Patterson, beating him five-hole.

Northeastern played very opportunistically through the first two periods, scoring two goals on only 13 shots.

âÄúAfter getting outshot in the first period I thought in the second and third period we had plenty of chances,âÄù Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan said.

Minnesota took four penalties in the second period, giving up one power play goal. The Gophers had 13 penalties on the game while the Huskies only took five.

âÄúThe referees did a good job,âÄù Madigan said. âÄúThey called it as they saw it, we could have maybe gotten a couple more [power play goals] but we did take advantage,âÄù Madigan said.

Lucia declined to comment on the way the game was officiated.

The Huskies scored on another power play in the third period.

Minnesota scored another shorthanded goal with under a minute left in the third but was unable to complete the comeback.

Even with the number of penalties, Lucia said he would not put any extra emphasis on discipline this week in practice.

âÄúI think itâÄôs a combination,âÄù Lucia said. âÄúYou want to play hard and you want to play aggressive, but I said my job is to lose my marbles, not anybody else.âÄù