Minnesota wins and ties with BC

The Gophers tied Boston College 3-3 on Friday but won 6-1 on Sunday.

Minnesota defenseman Mike Reilly skates against Boston College at Mariucci Arena on Friday.

Chelsea Gortmaker

Minnesota defenseman Mike Reilly skates against Boston College at Mariucci Arena on Friday.

Megan Ryan

The two games between the Gophers men’s hockey team and Boston College this weekend started off similar enough, but they ended very differently.

While Minnesota scored two goals in about the first five minutes of each game, it only managed a 3-3 tie Friday before a 6-1 win Sunday.

Junior forward Seth Ambroz said the difference between the two games came down to his team’s mentality.

“Friday night, we started off 2-0. We kind of thought, ‘Oh, you know, this might be a little easier than we thought.’ And with Boston College, that’s never the case,” Ambroz said. “And [Sunday], we really focused on, once we got that lead, staying with our game plan, not sitting back.”

Ambroz scored the Gophers’ second goal just after the five-minute mark Sunday. Senior forward Nate Condon had put one away about a minute earlier.

But instead of relinquishing that first-period lead, like it did in the game Friday, Minnesota kept piling the pucks in the net.

Sophomore defenseman Mike Reilly scored about halfway through the period. Sophomore defenseman Brady Skjei netted the fourth goal toward the end of the period.

While the Eagles managed to cut into the deficit with a goal from freshman forward Evan Richardson in the second period, third-period goals from Minnesota freshmen defensemen Michael Brodzinski and Jake Bischoff sealed the five-goal winning margin.

Gophers head coach Don Lucia said Sunday was a different kind of game from Friday.

“[Friday] was the frenetic transition back and forth,” he said. “[Sunday] there was a little more structure to how both teams played.”

That structure showed in the shot statistics, as the two teams ended each period even for a total of 32 shots each at the end of Sunday’s game.

The difference was Gophers sophomore goaltender Adam Wilcox, who made several big saves en route to 31 total.

The Gophers outshot the Eagles 39-34 on Friday night but couldn’t make those shots count in the end.

Freshman forward Hudson Fasching and junior forward Travis Boyd scored the first two early goals for the Gophers.

But about four minutes later, junior forward Johnny Gaudreau netted a power-play goal to pull one back for the Eagles.

And then, in a surprising turn, Edina, Minn., native and junior forward Michael Sit scored two goals 11 seconds apart to give Boston College a 3-2 lead over the Gophers.

“We just got comfortable,” Boyd said Friday. “We’ve got to make sure we keep the foot on the pedal all the way through 60 minutes.”

While the Gophers managed to pull even late in the second period with a goal from freshman forward Taylor Cammarata, the score remained at 3-3 throughout the last period and overtime.

Though Boston College won the shootout, the game officially ended in a tie — marring the Gophers’ perfect record.

Lucia said it was “a heck of a game” and that he couldn’t remember the last time his team was involved in such a good game so early in the season. But the shootout did make the ending a bit uncomfortable.

“We lose a shootout, and [you] almost feel like you lost the game,” Lucia said, “when in fact, it is a tie.”

Boyd, however, said the shootout was a nice change of pace.

“It was a lot of fun, actually. It’s something new,” Boyd said. “It’s an exciting thing for the fans and players.”

The No. 1 Gophers now have a 5-0-1 record heading into a bye week. Lucia said while his team will focus on specialty plays in the time off, health is the No. 1 concern.

Senior defenseman Jake Parenteau went down Friday with a head injury and Condon took a hard hit late in the game Sunday, to name a few sore spots.

Reilly said the early week off might be coming at a good time.

“[We’re going to] just regroup going into a team like Notre Dame,” Reilly said. “Rest up a little bit, just kind of get your legs back after the weekend.”