Men’s hockey Friday night Re-Cap

by Max Sanders

Due to technical difficulties we were unable to blog yesterday’s Gophers men’s hockey game after midway through the second period, but the remainder of the game saw Minnesota do what it could not all season long: add separation goals en route to the crucial 3-0 win.

Jacob Cepis drove down the left boards and fired a shot on Howe that was deflected right to Jordan Schroeder waiting in the crease, who knocked it in for the critical goal that gave the Gophers the 2-0 lead. Freshman Josh Birkholz later added the third and final tally on a slap shot from right on the right face off dot, and just like that Minnesota easily handled the No. 7 ranked team in the country.

If the Gophers had any shot at making a run late in the season at home ice, yesterday’s game was a must win. However, the fine performance from just a night ago will be for nought if Minnesota doesn’t follow it with a strong performance this afternoon.

An early 3 p.m. start due to the shift in the men’s basketball start time, Don Lucia’s squad can be considered a legitimate threat to gain a top five conference standings spot with a win today.

The top two spots in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings remain a tight battle between Denver and St. Cloud State, with the only question now being which will finish No. 1.

Minnesota Duluth and Wisconsin are fighting for the third spot, with each currently tied at 29 points.

All that clutter at the top of the standings means Colorado College, North Dakota and Minnesota are left fighting for the fifth and final home ice spot. The Tigers currently have the lead in the race for the last spot with 23 points but have little breathing room. The Sioux won yesterday to pull within two points, and the Gophers currently sit five points behind Colorado College. With a win today, Minnesota would pull to three points behind the Tigers.

Today’s game starts at 3 p.m.