Men’s Hockey: Gophers sneak into fifth place with 5-3 win

Brian Deutsch

Update: MaGregor Sharp did a lot of things just over six minutes into the third period. He gave his team a 3-2 lead – his 3-2 lead – when he picked off a Gophers pass in front of Kangas. He scored his third goal of the game – a game in which he carried the Bulldogs. And he also pulled within a goal of Ryan Stoa for the conference lead. He would be tied with Stoa at 17 if the Gophers captain didn’t net one of his own in the first. Instead he’s tied for second with Ryan Lasch — the only other player to record a hat trick against Minnesota this season. But Minnesota came back three minutes later when Tony Lucia hooked up with Schroeder for the junior’s seventh goal of the year. Much like Stoa’s earlier goal, Lucia had a wide open net to aim for thanks to Schroeder’s cross ice pass. After last night’s game, Schroeder said the team was watching for Stalock to come out too far from his net, and these cross ice passes seem to be taking advantage of that. The junior from South St. Paul simply can’t get that far over that quickly. And once again the momentum changed after Lucia’s goal. Nico Sacchetti tallied his third goal of the season when he threw a desperation shot on net that made it through the pile and in. Bostrom got his second point of the night on an assist. Lucia could have made it 5-3 right after he got out of the box for interference but put his breakaway shot well wide. He did draw a penalty on the play though when he took a Josh Meyers elbow that put the Bulldogs a man down. With 3:10 left to play, Hoeffel knocked down a wobbly shot from the point by Schroeder that barely went under the crossbar, but Hoeffel’s stick was well above the bar and the goal was waved off. UMD pulled Stalock with 1:30 left and Hoeffel finally got his goal when his long-range shot from the his own blue line went into the empty net. The win moves Minnesota into fifth place in the standings (tied with UMD but owning the tiebreaker). The Bulldogs actually took the shot lead 31-27. Check back later for the story. Rundown: 1:58 coincidental pens, White and Huttel for high sticking. 6:01 UMD goal, Sharp (17) unassisted. 9:06 Minn goal, Lucia (7) from Schroeder (25) and Barriball (20). 12:49 Minn goal, Sacchetti (3) from Bostrom (4) and Carman (9). 13:22 Minn pen, Lucia for interference. 15:35 UMD pen, Meyers for elbowing. 18:57 Minn goal, Hoeffel (11) unassisted. Second: Justin Bostrom emphasized “Senior Night” when he made it 2-0 on a goal that very much defines the kind of hockey player Bostrom is – a hard-work goal. After Fairchild deflected a shot off Stalock’s pads, Bostrom was right there crashing the net for the open goal – just his fifth of the year. Fairchild picked up his second assist of the night while Joe Miller picked up his first career helper on the play. NOTE: Just heard from a team spokesman, Broadfoot was honored before the game because he will be retiring in May. After Kangas turned away the first attempt by MacGregor Sharp on one side of the net, the Bulldogs leading scorer tried the other side with more luck. With Kangas out of position, Sharp scored his 15th goal of the season on a wraparound that bounced in off of Kangas’ skate just 11 seconds after Ness was sent to the box for interference. And then Sharp struck again less than two minutes later to bring the game back to a dead heat. Fontaine picked up his second assist of the night on the play. Just like last night, the momentum shifts in this game are just huge. I was already looking up the situations the Bulldogs and Huskies would need to get home ice advantage when suddenly, the Gophers aren’t a lock to hold it after tonight. With 20 seconds left in the period, Kevin Wehrs had a great chance to break the tie during a delayed penalty. But the sophomore blue liner put his wrist shot well wide of the net. Rundown: 4:15 Minn goal, Bostrom (5) from Fairchild (21) and Miller (1). 9:31 Minn pen, Ness for interference. 9:42 UMD PP goal, Sharp (15) from Fontaine (27) and Oberg (14). 11:03 UMD goal, Sharp (16) from M. Connolly (18) and Fontaine(28). 14:01 Minn pen, Sacchetti for tripping. 17:08 Minn pen, Fischer for tripping. 19:40 UMD pen, Akins for slashing. First: Statistically speaking, the Gophers are on pace to get at least get one WCHA point tonight. After Stoa and Schroeder hooked up for a very impressive goal, the team took a 1-0 lead early in the first. Why is that so important? The Gophers are undefeated when scoring first (10-0-4 I believe). It’s also the first time Minnesota has led since beating Alaska Anchorage two weeks ago. The duo almost hooked up again, this time Schroeder from Stoa, but Stalock made a spectacular glove save after stacking the pads to come up with the stop. Drew Akins took exception to being laid out by Tony Lucia as time expired. The fourth-line junior went skating after Lucia following the horn, but referees kept the two apart. Tonight’s game has already had three or four little instances like that. Gophers lead the shots 10-6. Rundown: 5:04 Minn goal, Stoa (18) from Schroeder (24)and Fairchild (20). 9:34 coincidental pens, Flynn and Akins for roughing. 10:57 UMD pen, Meyers for tripping. 14:04 UMD pen, J. Connolly for tripping. 18:11 Minn pen, Hoeffel for hooking. Pre-game: Tonight’s pre-game will be short and sweet since I was catching up on work and lost sleep and got to the rink late.

R.J. Anderson and Justin Bostrom were both honored prior to the game as the team’s seniors. Tonight could possibly be their last game at Mariucci Arena. The team also honored manager Harry Broadfoot and student manager Matt McInnis. I’d assume McInnis is also a senior but I have no idea why Broadfoot was honored. Anybody watching at home or from the stands probably heard why, but we didn’t get anything up here.
-As he hinted last night, coach Don Lucia elected to put Alex Kangas back in the net for the finale.
Here’s the lines:
Ryan Stoa-Jordan Schroeder-Jay Barriball
Mike Hoeffel-Mike Carman-Jake Hansen
Tony Lucia-Patrick White-Ryan Flynn
Joe Miller-Nico Sacchetti-Justin Bostrom
Aaron Ness-David Fischer
Cade Fairchild-R.J. Anderson
Kevin Wehrs-Same Lofquist
Kangas in goal.
Scratches: Brian Schack (healthy), Drew Fisher (healthy), Taylor Matson (knee), Nick Larson (unknown)
Jordan Fulton-Jack Connolly-Justin Fontaine
Mike Connolly-MacGregor Sharp-Nick Kemp
Kyle Schmidt-Michael Gergen-Andrew Carroll
Cody Danberg-Drew Akins-Matt Greer
Josh Meyers-Mike Montgomery
Evan Oberg-Trent Palm
Jay Cascalenda-Chad Huttel
Alex Stalock in goal with Brady Hjelle backing up.