Gophers settle for tie with Minnesota-Duluth

John Hageman

DULUTH, Minn.–With a little more than a minute left in overtime, the Minnesota men’s hockey team was given one final chance to break the tie with in-state rival Minnesota-Duluth with a power play.

But even with the extra man, the Gophers (11-10-4, 8-8-3) could add another goal and tied No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth (17-5-4, 12-4-3) 2-2 Friday night at Amsoil Arena in a matchup littered with shot attempts and scoring opportunities. The two teams combined for 80 shots on goal.

“It was probably a fun game for the fans,” Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said. “Guys tried to make plays, and there were mistakes made, but that makes for an entertaining game.”

The Gophers opened the scoring with a power play goal from defender Cade Fairchild midway through the first. Fairchild heaved the puck from near the blue line towards the net, hitting the bottom of the crossbar and past Bulldogs goalie Kenny Reiter.

The Bulldogs answered with a goal from Justin Fontaine early in the second. J.T. Brown found Fontaine on the rush towards the Minnesota net, and a diving Nico Sacchetti inadvertently knocked the puck in past his own goaltender Kent Patterson after Fontaine tipped it.

Later, a mere 30 seconds after his breakaway attempt was denied by Reiter, Jay Barriball sent the puck through the junior goaltender’s legs to put the Gophers up 2-1 midway through the second.

“I think I’m 0-for-5 on breakaways this year,” Barriball said with a wry smile. “It was a lot of built-up anger on those breakaways.”

But Minnesota-Duluth struck right back. Mike Connolly rebounded his own backhand attempt and sent it past Patterson for the game-tying goal 90 seconds later.

The rest of the game was plagued by numerous opportunities for both teams to put in the winning goal, but both goaltenders weathered their respective storms and settled for the tie.

“Yeah it stinks we couldn’t extend the lead a little bit, but I thought overall we played pretty solid,” Barriball said. 

The Gophers will look to go undefeated in regular season play against their rival with a rematch 7 p.m. Saturday.