Gophers end 5-game winless streak with 4-2 victory

A month is a long time, and no one understands that better than the Minnesota menâÄôs hockey team. The Gophers got their first win since Jan. 17 on Saturday night at Mariucci Arena, beating Alaska Anchorage 4-2 and breaking a five-game winless streak, giving the Gophers a much-needed 3-point weekend after tying the Seawolves 2-2 Friday. âÄúIâÄôm happy for our guys,âÄù head coach Don Lucia said. âÄúI thought we got better as the game went on. I canâÄôt say itâÄôs the best game weâÄôve played in the last four or five games, but we won.âÄù Minnesota got off to a fast start, taking a 1-0 lead just 2:13 into the first period. Anchorage answered a little over a minute later, however, to tie it up at 1-1. But it was sophomore defenseman Cade FairchildâÄôs second period goal from the blue line that gave the Gophers a lead it wouldnâÄôt relinquish. Seawolves coach Dave Shyiak called it a lucky goal as the puck was rolling and took a bounce into the net, but Lucia said it was no less important. âÄúIt was a big goal,âÄù he said. âÄúI think it made our guys relax a little bit. It seemed like the previous month, the teams we were playing were getting all those goals.âÄù The game winner, however, wasnâÄôt about luck; though Shyiak wasnâÄôt happy about how it came about. At 14:55 into the second period, Seawolves defenseman Mat Robinson sent Minnesota freshman Nico Sacchetti into the boards and was whistled for a five-minute major. He was sent to the locker room on a game misconduct. Minnesota capitalized on the penalty, though it took them four minutes and 36 seconds to do so, as junior Jay Barribal netted the GophersâÄô third and what turned out to be the game-winning goal. Shyiak was not at all pleased with the call, believing it to be a clean âÄúshoulder-to-shoulder hit,âÄù and criticized how referees are being told to make the call. âÄúToo many players are turning their backs. Hitting is part of the game. I think [the checking from behind call] is ruining the game,âÄù he said. âÄúAs coaches, we gotta make up our minds. Do we want to allow hitting? Otherwise we should just the say âÄòno checkingâÄô and play womenâÄôs hockey. I donâÄôt like it. I donâÄôt like it at all.âÄù Nonetheless, the Gophers took away a much-needed win and three crucial points from the weekend series, moving them in front of Duluth in the WCHA and putting them one point behind Colorado College for fourth, who Minnesota will take on in Colorado next weekend. Lucia was pleased with where his team was standing and the direction they were heading after the game. âÄúAs always, we control our destiny,âÄù Lucia said. âÄúWe gotta win games.âÄù