Minnesota takes an overtime tie Friday and Win against Michigan 3-1 on Saturday

echoing their performance last friday against Notre Dame, the Gophers score in double overtime but tie 1-1, come back and win game two 3-1 Saturday

      Friday: Gophers continue their flare for the dramatic with another double overtime thriller. 

  Brannon McManus scored his third of the season to get Minnesota on the board first against the Michigan Wolverines, scoring the goal late in the second period with assists from Matt Staudacher and Sampo Ranta. Scoring the first goal of the game was crucial for the Gophers as they had taken multiple penalties in the first and second periods, in total giving Michigan three power play opportunities up to that point while only having one chance themselves. 

 Fortunately for the Gophers, Michigan’s power play struggled to generate much of anything with those advantages, and in all six minutes managed to put up only one shot. 

 Minnesota also had strong support in goal from Jack LaFontaine, who played the first two years of his collegiate career at Michigan before leaving the program to play in the British Columbia Hockey League with Penticton before re-entering the college game with Minnesota. 

 LaFontaine had no problem stopping shots against his former teammates, making thirty-three saves on the night not counting those made in double overtime. He posted a .971 save percentage on the night and the thirty-three saves marked a season-high for the junior. 

  The one save he didn’t have, though, came halfway through the third period when Michigan’s Jacob Hayhurst scored off a deflection to tie the game 1-1. 

 Despite a power play opportunity the Gophers remained tied with Michigan and it looked like the game would almost certainly go to overtime, until Minnesota was called for a penalty with just two minutes remaining. Minnesota was able to kill off the penalty but in the last seconds of the game Michigan attempted to score directly off the faceoff for the win. LaFontaine came up with the save to keep Minnesota in the game and send them to overtime. 

  On LaFontaine’s performance, head coach Bob Motzko told media, “He made a couple real critical saves…he made himself big, and he fought in there,”  Motzko said. “He gave us a chance tonight.”

  With no goals scored in the first overtime, the game then moved to the same 3-on-3 format where Sammy Walker scored against Notre Dame last weekend. Same as the game against the Fighting Irish, though, this format is something only done withing the Big Ten and any stats from it, including the final score, would not count in the NCAA records. 

  Nobody felt the impact of that rule more than  freshman Jaxon Nelson, who scored what would have been his first collegiate goal. Nelson didn’t need much of the extra time to find the back of the net, going top shelf on Michigan’s Strauss Mann just under three minutes into double overtime. Neither the goal or the assists from Ryan Zuhlsdorf and Ryan Johnson, the Gophers would earn an extra point in Big Ten standings. 

  Saturday: 

The performance of Minnesota’s Football team earlier that day was a tough act to follow, but Men’s Hockey gave fans even more to be happy about with a 3-1 win over Michigan. 

Jared Moe got the start in net and had a solid outing to follow up LaFontaine’s performance the night before. He was tested early in the game when Michigan’s Eric Ciccioloni had a breakaway scoring chance as he exited the penalty box, but Moe made the stop to keep the game scoreless. 

   Brannon McManus opened up the scoring for the second time that weekend, putting the Gophers up 1-0 in the last minutes of the first period. He celebrated the goal with waving his stick in a rowing motion, a likely homage to the Football team’s “Row The Boat” mantra. 

  The Gophers continued to row ahead of the Wolverines on the scoreboard, going up by another goal at the beginning of the third period after a scoreless middle period. Michigan again had difficulty on the power play, going 0-3 on the man advantage. Michigan ran into more problems on a goalie miscommunication that caused the 2-0 goal. 

 Strauss Mann left his post to retrieve the puck for his teammates, but on the pass back the puck hit off the post and found the stick of an incoming Jonny Sorenson. Sorenson beat the Wolverines defenders to the puck and swept it past the line for what would be the game-winning goal.  

  Michigan did eventually get on the scoreboard later in the third, but Emil Orhwall’s tally wasn’t enough to mount a comeback against the Gophers, who topped of their lead with an empty-netter from co-captain Sammy Walker for a 3-1 final score. 

  With the extra point from thr Friday game, Minnesota earned five of six possible points on the road. Head coach Bob Motzko told media, “We’re very happy to get a win on a Saturday night on the road in a hard-fought hockey game,” Motzko said. “We had outstanding goaltending by our young freshman, (Jared) Moe.”   

Minnesota will be back at home this weekend to face Penn State.