Men’s Hockey: MN wins 6-2

by Brian Deutsch

Update: Despite a strong comeback effort from Brown, Minnesota holds on tonight to win 6-2 and advance to play No. 6 Northeastern tomorrow night. After only tallying three shots on goal in the games first 42:44, Brown’s Jordan Pietrus made shot No. 4 count. Well rather, shot No. 4 did count. The junior center scored his second goal of the season when he sent a strong shot from long range over Alex Kangas’ glove to cut the lead to 4-1. Pietrus’ goal was unassisted. Ryan Flynn got caught up in the moment early in the third period and cost Minnesota dearly. Flynn shoved a Brown skater over Rosen post-whistle to draw a trip to the box and at 6:07, Timberlake cut the lead to 4-2 thanks to assists from Jeff Buvinow and Matt Vokes. After tallying just two shots in the first two periods, Brown has scored two goals on five shots this period so far with 12:15 remaining. But Minnesota’s Patrick White scored a what I thought would be a momentum killer when his wrist shot bounced off Rosen’s pads and into the net. Wehrs picked up his second assist of the game on the goal, which came at 8:52. Wehrs only had one assist coming into tonight while White scored his second goal of the year. But it didn’t even phase the Bears, who had doubled up Minnesota on the shot chart 12-6 with just over seven minutes left thanks to a hail storm of shots on Alex Kangas. But they did eventually wear down, and after Joe Miller carried the puck into the empty net with an assist from R.J. Anderson with eight seconds left, it was all over. Looking forward, I didn’t see a ton of the Northeastern/Western Michigan game, but the few minutes of the third I did catch showed me tomorrow’s game should be much more interesting that most of tonight’s (can’t lie the third period was quite thrilling). Plus it’s a match-up between the No. 6 Bears and the No. 4 Gophers – one of the better pairings hockey fans have seen this year. All that I got out of Maturi’s speech on the health of Don Lucia was what somebody else in the press box told me. I was there, I just couldn’t hear anything. Even that didn’t make the situation much clearer. I’m told Maturi said Lucia contacted him first on Monday about not feeling well and has since seen several doctors although every test he has taken has either been positive or non-conclusive. Again, Lucia hopes to be present for tomorrow’s game. More or less: Lucia doesn’t feel well and doesn’t know why. Jay Barriball made it 2-0 when he tapped in his sixth goal of the season at 4:16. Aaron Ness found Barriball open in the slot to pick up an assist, and David Fischer tallied a helper as well. Later in the second, Barriball almost scored again from near the same spot, but the junior’s wrist shot bounced off the cross bar. Justin Bostrom made it 3-0 at 9:38 with the help of two Gophers who recorded their first assists with the team. Nick Larson slipped the puck to Sam Lofquist at the point to start the scoring play. Then Lofquist blasted a high slap shot off of Rosen’s pads that bounced even higher. When it finally came down Bostrom was there to slip in his third goal of the year. Tell you what, Justin Bostrom is doing a fine job filling in while several of his teammates are out of the roster. Counting his goal, Bostrom was a player in at least five scoring chances this period. And while his goal was the Bostrom of norm; a hardworking “dirty” goal, two of his other chances were skillful attempts. And the senior assistant captain factored into Nico Scacchetti’s goal at 15:36 that made it 4-0 Minnesota. Kevin Wehrs also assisted on the play, which ended when Sacchetti found the puck outside of a pile in front of the net to score his second career goal. Wow as if the 4-0 scoreboard doesn’t say enough, Minnesota is now up 33-2 on shots (although one of Brown’s other attem First Period: Despite only leading 1-0 after one period, the first was all Minnesota. Brown didn’t even record a shot on goal until 15:03 into play and even then it was only an attempt to get the puck deep in the corner by Bears captain Devin Timberlake. That was Brown’s only shot in the period – which I’m told is a Minnesota record. Brown’s Sean Connuaton inadvertently skated over the puck to take Ryan Flynn out of the play, but left the entire D-zone open for Mike Carman to wrist his fifth-goal of the year past Dan Rosen in net. Flynn along with Jake Hansen, who recorded his first career assist on the play, got the helpers for Carman’s goal at 7:40 of the first period. Rosen has been the savior for Brown thus far. He’s stopped 16 of 17 shots on goal including several pretty plays on his part. Not bad for a guy sporting a 3.66 GAA and a season save percentage of .902 coming into tonight.

Pre-game: Biggest news of the night so far: Don Lucia will miss tonight’s game with Brown due to an undisclosed illness. Lucia, who hopes to return for tomorrow’s game, has never missed a game in his 22-year career as a head coach. Minnesota AD Joel Maturi will address the press box during the first intermission, so we’ll know more then.

Other news that I just found out (sorry I missed media availability on Tuesday): Freshman forward Michael Dorr has quit the team. Dorr recorded no points in two games played this season.
Here are Minnesota’s somewhat messed up lines considering Mike Hoeffel, Cade Fairchild, and Jordan Schroeder are still not back from World Juniors and Taylor Matson is out for the season with a knee injury:
Tony Lucia-Ryan Stoa-Jay Barriball
Jake Hansen-Mike Carman-Ryan Flynn
Justin Bostrom-Patrick White-Nico Sacchetti
Drew Fisher-Nick Larson-Joe Miller
Aaron Ness-David Fischer
Kevin Wehrs-R.J. Anderson
Brian Schack-Sam Lofquist
Alex Kangas in net with Kent Patterson and Jake Kremer backing up.
I’m a little surprised to see Grant Scott (the only healthy scratch on the roster tonight) not in the game. He still hasn’t played a game yet in the regular season, and Brown would be a pretty good opportunity to get him some ice time. 
No. 6 Northeastern just handled Western Michigan 3-1 in the afternoon game and now wait to see who they’ll play tomorrow. Brown is a relative unknown to me. I already misspoke and claimed the Bears were in the Ivy League. They aren’t for hockey…they play in the ECAC. However, Brown is only 1-8-2 overall and 1-4-2 in the conference. Its lone win came in a 5-4 win over Union on Dec. 5.
Other News:
Not really news to Minnesotans, but Ross McKeon of Yahoo! Sports has listed a match-up between the Wild and the Dallas Stars held at TCF Bank Stadium as one of five possibilities to host next year’s Winter Classic. Oddly enough McKeon named three Big Ten football stadiums as possible host sites. (Yahoo! Sports)
Speaking of the Winter Classic, UMD was able to attend the game as part of the inaugural Shillelagh Tournament, which the Bulldogs will compete in this weekend. (DNT)
Minnesota State will try to snap a 6-game losing streak and pick up their first win since November 29th when Nebraska-Omaha comes to Mankato this weekend.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, WCHA frontrunner Wisconsin looks to improve its 7-game unbeaten streak with a home series against Northern Michigan. The Badgers tied Lake Superior State 1-1 in the Badger Hockey Showdown Championship Game last Sunday – the only game during the streak that Wisconsin did not win.
Bemidji State can certainly help its effort to join the WCHA when the Beavers play UND in a home and home series this weekend. But the Sioux have are 15-1-1 all-time against BSU and have never lost at the John Glas Fieldhouse.