Men’s hockey Live Blog: Gophers vs. (20) Minn. Duluth

Max Sanders

00:00 3rd-Just like that, Minn. Duluth earns the sweep. Looking confused and dumbfounded, the Gophers are left to wonder how they let two two-goal leads slip away, and turn a possible four-point weekend into exactly zero points. 2:02 3rd-The bad luck continues for the Gophers. A centering shot by Minn. Duluth goes off Cade Fairchild directly in front of the net. The puck bounces off Fairchild and past Kangas for the go-ahead late third period goal. For the second straight game Minnesota has blown a two-goal lead. Also for the second night the puck bounced off a Gophers defenseman directly in front of the net, as last night David Fischer accidentally tipped in the puck. GOPHERS 2, MINN. DULUTH 3. 10:58 3rd-Minnesota dodges a potential game-changing bullet. A shot by Minn. Duluth was put on net. Kangas stopped the puck, but the puck rolled in front of the net. Players then crashed the net, and the puck appeared to cross the red line. After a lengthy review the referee ruled no goal. 16:38 3rd-Wow, what a turn of events. The Gophers played the beginning of the third hard, pressing and putting numerous shots on net. However, after Minn. Duluth regained the puck, Kyle Schmidt stormed down the ice and fired a shot from inside the left side of the blue line. The shot somehow got past Kangas. For as well as Kangas has been playing of late, that’s a save he had to make. GOPHERS 2, MINN. DULUTH 2. 2nd Intermission Re-Cap: Goals: Gophers 0; Minn. Duluth 1(J. Connolly) Shots on Goal: Gophers 11; Minn. Duluth 13 Penalties: Gophers 3; Minn. Duluth 0 Instant Analysis: As predicted, Minn. Duluth took advantage of its numerous power play opportunities, finally scoring on a Jack Connolly goal. However, Minnesota still enters the third period with a lead, and will look to earn a crucial two-points against a conference opponent. 00:00 2nd-The second period comes to a close, and Minnesota is 20 minutes away from salvaging a split. 4:15 2nd-Minn. Duluth will be on the power play yet again. Nico Sacchetti was cited for hooking. 13:33 2nd-Exhibit A. The Bulldog’s Justin Fontaine put a shot on net that was knocked away by Kangas. Jack Connolly was there for the rebound put-back, and the Gophers lead is cut to one on the power play goal. The goal by Connolly is his third of the weekend. GOPHERS 2, MINN. DULUTH 1. 13:50 2nd-Yet another Minnesota power play. The Gophers Jake Hansen was called for interference. Minnesota cannot continue to give a dangerous Bulldogs team chances on power play, because eventually Minn. Duluth will find a way to put one of the chances in net. 14:14 2nd-A flurry of action immediately after the power play. Following the penalty kill, Tony Lucia took the puck for a breakaway but skated too fast and couldn’t gain control before crashing outside the net. 17:39 2nd-Minn. Duluth will get its third power play of the game, as Minnesota’s Zach Budish is called for interference. 1st Intermission Re-Cap: Goals: Gophers 2, (Hoeffel, Wehrs); Minn. Duluth 0 Shots on Goal: Gophers 18; Minn. Duluth 11 Penalties: Gophers 2; Minn. Duluth 3 Instant Analysis: For the second straight night Minnesota has staked itself the early lead. The Gophers need to salvage this series with two points, and they will try to get temporary amnesia and ignore yesterday’s performance. Alex Kangas has played outstanding so far, stopping a breakaway shot on net. Almost identical to the Saturday Wisconsin game, Minn. Duluth’s player immediately after leaving the penalty box was open for a pass, and after taking the pass had a wide-open breakaway. Kangas again made a blocker save on what would have been a huge momentum changing goal. The stop kept the Gophers lead at two, where it stands heading into the second period. 00:00 1st-The first period comes to a close with the Gophers ahead 2-0. 00:51.7 1st-As he was going off the ice following a line change, Tony Lucia leveled a Bulldog’s player right in front of the bench and was called for interference. Don Lucia was understandably upset with Tony Lucia, as the hit was completely pointless as he was returning to the bench and will give a dangerous power play team another chance at closing the scoring gap. 5:09 1st-For the second night Minnesota takes the early two-goal lead. Patrick White passed the puck to Kevin Wehrs, who fired the one-timer from outside the right face-off circle that found the back of the net. GOPHERS 2, MINN. DULUTH 0. 5:22 1st-The penalties are racking up early. Minnesota will have 20 seconds of five-on-three advantage as Minn. Duluth’s Drew Olson was called for elbowing. After the five-on-three the Gophers will have another 1:40 of power play. 7:02 1st-A dominant power play kill by the Gophers. The best threats during the penalty were from Minnesota. Tony Lucia sparked a two-on-one but the centering pass was knocked away. After the penalty had ended another was called, this time on Minn. Duluth’s Dylan Olsen for interference, giving the Gophers their second power play of the night. 9:49 1st-Minn. Duluth has a chance to respond. The Bulldogs have a two-on-two fast break but the puck is knocked away by a Gophers defenseman. On the play Cade Fairchild was called for tripping, giving Minn. Duluth its first power play of the night. 11:36 1st-After Sacchetti won the face-off in the right circle of the Minn. Duluth zone, the puck went to Kevin Wehrs. Wehrs shot from just inside the blue line. The shot was deflected by Hoeffel and past the right leg of Hjelle for the Gophers goal. The goal is Hoeffel’s six of the season. GOPHERS 1, MINN. DULUTH 0. 12:27 1st-The Gophers power play ends, but action continues in the Bulldogs zone. Minnesota has dominated action thus far, setting the tone with some hard hits and smart passing. 14:36 1st-Minnesota knocks the puck in goal, but it was waved off. Hoeffel shot the puck on net and the puck bounced in the air. Nico Sacchetti swiped it down and into the net. The stick cannot be above the shoulder when attempting a shot on net, so the goal was disallowed.

15:19 1st-First penalty of the game. Minn. Duluth’s Chad Huttel is sent to the box for holding the stick giving the Gophers the first crack at the man-advantage.