Men’s hockey wins in 4-3 comeback

11 Minnesota power-plays helped the Gophers win their season opener against RPI.

Brian Deutsch

Despite spotting Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute three goals tonight, the Minnesota men’s hockey team was able to scrounge together four unanswered goals to give coach Don Lucia his 500th career win.

After being scoreless through the first 36 minutes of the game, the Gophers got the spark they needed when junior forward Ryan Stoa banged home a one-timer during a Minnesota power-play.

“We didn’t have the sense of urgency (early in the game) that you need to have,” Lucia said. “I thought (RPI) outworked us at least in the first two periods.”

Penalties were a big factor for the Engineers ñ they were called for 11 offenses in the game including six in the third period. The disadvantages gave the Gophers ample time to erase the deficit. Three of the Gophers four-goals came on power-plays including the game-winner.

“You don’t expect to get any calls coming into this rink and playing Minnesota with WCHA refs,” RPI coach Seth Appert said.

When senior forward Andrew Lord was called for his third penalty of the third stanza ñ this time a game misconduct and a five minute major for checking from behind ñ the Engineers were forced to play the final 4:30 a man down.

The advantage gave sophomore forward Kyle Okposo the chance to score the game-winner with just over a minute remaining in the game.

Senior forward Evan Kaufmann and junior forward Blake Wheeler each offered up a Gophers goal in the win.

In net for Minnesota, junior Jeff Frazee made 25 saves on 28

shots.

The Gophers will play Michigan tomorrow night in the championship game while RPI will face-off against Boston College.