Men’s Hockey: Gophers take one game lead with 4-2 win

Brian Deutsch

Update: Okay the third period was a prime example of me repeatedly putting my foot in my mouth. I had five inches of an Alex Kangas shutout story written before the sophomore gave up his first of the night halfway through the period. Three minutes later I opened my mouth about Jordan Schroeder being silent all night before the nation’s top freshman sets up Barriball’s blast that made it 3-1. But the Huskies weren’t done. Roe popped in his second of the night (and period) after a penalty to White. Kangas had a rather uncommon dispute with the refs – he felt he had covered the puck long enough to warrant a whistle. But it ended up being enough. Bob Motzko pulled Weslosky with a minute left and Stoa pocketed his league high 22nd goal to make it 4-2 and give Minnesota a 1-0 lead in the series. Roundup: 6:21 Minn pen, Ness for holding. 10:03 SCSU goal, Roe (16) from Lasch (24). 13:28 Minn goal, Barriball (10) from Schroeder (28). 15:00 Minn pen, White for tripping. 15:00 Coincidental pens, Ryan and Flynn for roughing. 16:20 SCSU PP goal, Roe (17) from LeBlanc (7) and Raboin (23). 19:53 Minn EN goal, Stoa (22) from Schroeder Second: Interesting start to the second period. Sacchetti almost picked up his second of the night on a breakaway less than a minute into the second, but the freshman couldn’t control the bouncing puck and his attempt was brushed aside by Weslosky. Then the Huskies came down the ice and almost tied it up on the next opportunity. Kangas made the initial save, then had to slide across the crease to block the rebound, then got lucky when Garrett Roe shot slid behind Kangas and through the crease without crossing the goal line. Penalties continued to hurt the Huskies despite the fact they’ve only taken three of them all game. With Chris Hepp sitting in the penalty box, Minnesota took a two-goal lead after Mike Hoeffel’s backhander rattled off the cage and in for his 12th of the year. Through two periods, Minnesota is 2-for-3 on the power play. Minnesota remained dominant in shots 30-17 so far and 16-11 in the second alone. Rundown: 4:56 SCSU pen, Borgen for tripping. 14:43 SCSU pen, Hepp for tripping. 14:57 Minn PP goal, Hoeffel (12) from Stoa (21) and Fairchild (22) First: Nico Sacchetti got his first career playoff goal when he popped a rebound into the open net just over halfway through the first period. After Patrick White’s first shot bounced off Weslosky at an awkward angle, the freshman from Virginia had the whole net to aim at for the power-play goal. The man advantage came after David Carlisle was called for checking from behind less than a minute earlier. Carlisle got a minor for the offense largely because his target, Jay Barriball, had just caught a pass and was turning away from Carlisle on the open-ice hit. Barriball had a rough first period. He was clobbered by Carlisle, and he slid hard into the boards the shift before. Barriball was shaken up by the first hit but didn’t miss a shift. He was right back on the ice after Carlisle’s hit as well. Perhaps that’s because his line was doing so well. Ryan Stoa had two early chances in the first when Minnesota was outshooting the Huskies 8-1 in the first half of the period. The momentum died down after Cade Fairchild took an interference penalty at 13:44 but the Gophers still managed to outshoot SCSU 14-5 in the period. Alex Kangas looked sharp in the first 20 minutes – making some key glove saves. But he wasn’t often tested on the other side, where he is weaker. Rundown: 11:47 SCSU pen, Carlisle for checking from behind. 12:34 Minn PP goal, Sacchetti (4) from White (9) and Ness (15). 13:44 Minn pen, Fairchild for interference. NHL NOTE: Minnesota fans might not love Kyle Okposo the way they once did, but it’s hard not to like the guy after you read this piece from NYI Point Blank. Pre-game: Almost had a heart attack when I got into Mariucci Arena tonight and my computer didn’t turn on. Luckily it did or I wouldn’t have been able to tell you Tony Lucia, who goals in three-straight games, is out sick tonight. Without Lucia, you’ll see the lines are a mess other than the top line.

Some quick series stats: Minnesota has one five-straight meetings with the Huskies dating back to last year’s play-in game at the WCHA Final Five.
SCSU is the only team Minnesota has swept this season, and the Gophers have done it twice. Here’s the breakdown this season:
Oct. 17 @SCSU – W, 3-2
Oct. 18 @HOME – W, 2-1
Jan. 16 @HOME – W, 5-1
Jan. 17 @SCSU – W, 8-6
Here’s tonight’s lineups:
Ryan Stoa-Jordan Schroeder-Jay Barriball
Mike Hoeffel-Mike Carman-Nico Sacchetti
Justin Bostrom-Patrick White-Ryan Flynn
Jake Hansen-Drew Fisher-Joe Miller
Aaron Ness-David Fischer
Cade Fairchild-R.J. Anderson
Kevin Wehrs-Sam Lofquist
Alex Kangas in net with Kent Patterson and Jake Kremer backing up.
Scratches: Nick Larson (healthy), Tony Lucia (illness), Taylor Matson (knee), Brian Schack (healthy)
Jordy Christian-Garrett Roe-Ryan Lasch
John Swanson-Aaron Marvin-Travis Novak
Jared Festler-Drew LeBlanc-Mitch Ryan
Brent Borgen-Michael-Olson-Nick Oslund
Nicholas Rioux-Garrett Raboin
Brett Barta-Chris Hepp
Oliver Lauridsen-David Carlisle
Jase Weslosky in goal with Dan Dunn back up.

WOMEN’S HOCKEY NOTE: Like I blogged earlier, Melanie Gagnon is scheduled to replace Gigi Marvin in the NCAA Skills Competition next month at the Frozen Four. Apparently, Marvin withdrew from the competition because she’s expecting to be named to the U.S. National Team. Marvin, along with Gophers assistant coach Natalie Darwitz, former Gophers forward Erica McKenzie and current teammates Rachael Drazan and Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux, have made the preliminary roster already. The national team is scheduled to compete in the 2009 IIHF World Women’s Championship Schedule in Hameenlinna, Finland from April 4-12. The Skills competition is April 10 in Washington D.C.