Gophers’ late surge falls short, drop third straight

A three-goal hole was one too many for the Minnesota menâÄôs hockey team as Wisconsin held on to win 3-2 Friday night despite a third period comeback from the Gophers. Bad timing and even worse luck was the name of the game for Minnesota. The Badgers (15-11-3 overall, 12-7-2 WCHA) scored two goals in under two minutes of playing time during a Minnesota five-minute power play. Jamie McBain bounced a shot off of Ryan Stoa with 1:12 left in the first period, and Derek Stepan knocked home a rebound 45 seconds into the second. Andy Bohmbach tapped in a loose puck with 1:21 to go in the second and from there âÄì as it was all night âÄì the play of Shane Connelly in goal was enough to carry the Badgers. The senior netminder turned away 43 of 45 shots on goal including a huge second period save on a Jay Barriball that kept Minnesota off the board. âÄúHe was on his game,âÄù sophomore forward Mike Hoeffel said. âÄúFrom start to finish, he was pretty darn big for us,âÄù Badgers coach Mike Eaves said. Connelly was also blessed with a little bit of luck. Mike Carman put a shot off the pipe less than 1:30 into the game âÄì a play that could have made a huge impact on the final score considering the Gophers outshot Wisconsin 19-6 in the first period. âÄú[Connelly] played great, and that ultimately was a big part of their win tonight,âÄù Carman said. Carman teamed up with Hoeffel twice in the third to finally get Minnesota on the board and put some pressure on the Badgers. Hoeffel deflected an attempt by R.J. Anderson just under four minutes into the third and Carman slipped his own by Connelly with 3:32 to play. âÄúWe believed in this locker room that even though we were down three, we could come back,âÄù Hoeffel said. âÄúWe made it exciting, obviously it was close.âÄù Both tallied their eighth goal of the season in the loss, which didnâÄôt have the same effect as last weekendâÄôs sweep by Minnesota State. âÄúWe know as long as weâÄôre getting chances, weâÄôre doing the right thing,âÄù Carman said. âÄúCoaches have been telling us that since we were squirts and peewees.âÄù Nevertheless, Minnesota (12-8-5, 9-7-3) dropped its third straight and fifth in the last seven games âÄì a trend the team will have another shot at stopping Saturday night in the series finale with Wisconsin. âÄúI thought we were back in rhythm tonight which was good to see. I didnâÄôt think we played with that rhythm last weekend,âÄù Lucia said âÄúIf we can play that well every night, IâÄôll take it and take our chances.âÄù For Lucia, a good effort from his team tomorrow night might not be enough. âÄúWe need some puck luck to go our way.âÄù