Minnesota falls to Colgate in Mariucci Classic

The Gophers will play RPI in the consolation game Saturday night.

Sophomore forward Kyle Rau skates against Minnesota State on Nov. 2 at Mariucci Arena.

Ichigo Takikawa, Daily File Photo

Sophomore forward Kyle Rau skates against Minnesota State on Nov. 2 at Mariucci Arena.

Dane Mizutani

Minnesota was without one of its leading goal scorer, one of its top defensive, and most importantly its head coach Friday night against Colgate.

It definitely showed in the team’s performance as the top-ranked Gophers fell to the Raiders in a shootout in the opening round of the Mariucci Classic. 

While the game will officially go into the books as a 2-2 tie, Minnesota lost 2-1 in a shootout. As a result Colgate will play Ferris State in the championship game Saturday night. Ferris State defeated RPI 6-2 in the other Mariucci Classic first-round matchup.

“It’s a hollow feeling in the dressing room,” Gophers associate head coach Mike Guentzel said. “We tied but it feels like a loss.”

Minnesota played in the game without freshman forward Hudson Fasching, sophomore defenseman Brady Skjei, and head coach Don Lucia, all who were away at the World Juniors tournament in Sweden. 

“It wasn’t a huge adjustment for me, but we could definitely feel it was different,” freshman defenseman Jake Bischoff said. 

It didn’t prove to be a huge adjustment for the team at first. 

The Gophers shot out of the starting blocks with eight shots in the first five minutes of the game but Colgate goaltender Charlie Finn was up to the task. 

Guentzel said he didn’t feel like there was any rust with the way his team started, but said he felt like it ran out of gas at times throughout the contest.

Finn was a big reason for that tempered emotion.

“He was really good in the first four minutes,” Guentzel said. “We had some pressure around the net … [and] I thought he was strong. We thought we could expose some things, but we just never really got to him.”

Finn was a brick wall between the pipes for most of the night finishing with 36 saves. He allowed two soft goals, but kept the Raiders in it with his performance. 

The Gophers traded goals with Colgate in the second period and the Raiders jumped ahead with a goal late in the period. 

Minnesota tied it midway through the third period with a power-play goal from junior forward Travis Boyd. Boyd ripped home a one-timer from the left circle off an assist from junior captain Kyle Rau.

That assist was the 100th point of Rau’s career. He was also the only player to score for Minnesota in the shootout. 

Rau said after the game it was a good feeling to reach the 100-point milestone, but he was visibly disappointed with the result of the game. 

“We’ve got to start winning some shootouts,” Rau said. “At the end of the year in the Big Ten we need those points. I know this wasn’t a Big Ten game but we need to start winning.”

Guentzel didn’t rule out the possibility of Lucia, Fasching, and Skjei returning for the consolation game against RPI on Saturday night.

“I hope so,” he said. “We want to put our best players on the rink.”