Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


Michigan shuts down Gophers in Big Ten Hockey Tournament semifinal

The Wolverines eliminated the Gophers from the Big Ten tournament for the third consecutive year.
Image by Ethan Fine (courtesy)
The Gophers trailed the Wolverines since the first three minutes of the game in Saturday’s loss. Michigan struck early in their victory and carried the momentum throughout most of the game.

The No. 6-ranked Gophers men’s hockey team faced the No. 11 Michigan Wolverines in the Big Ten semifinals on Saturday night and lost 2-1.

Minnesota and Michigan went head to head in front of a sold-out 3M Arena at Mariucci after two consecutive years of facing each other in the Big Ten championship game, both of which Michigan left victorious.

The Gophers created three scoring opportunities early in the first period, exciting the student section behind Michigan goaltender Jake Barczewski.

Michigan forward Kienan Draper opened the scoring a little over three minutes into the first period after burying a rebound past graduate goaltender Justen Close to make it 1-0, Wolverines. 

Michigan forward Luca Fantilli scored three minutes later, but the goal was overturned as the play was determined to be offside.

Close shut down two prime scoring chances from Michigan forwards Garrett Schifsky and Josh Eernisse in the later stages of the first period, keeping the score’s margin in slight favor of Michigan.

Minnesota freshman forward Jimmy Clark said early goals cause a large momentum shift, like Michigan’s first goal at the beginning of the game did.

“We didn’t manage the puck very well,” Clark said.

Minnesota was trapped in their defensive zone through the beginning of the second period as they were forced to defend the Wolverines’ pressing offense.

Close stopped several scoring chances, but Michigan’s persistent offense drew a hooking penalty and gave the Wolverines the first power play of the evening. Close prevented Michigan from scoring on the power play and the Gophers’ successful penalty kill earned a roar from the crowd.

In the late stages of the second period, Michigan forward Rutger McGroarty’s defensive break-up led to a breakaway for his teammate, Gavin Brindley, who then extended the Wolverines’ lead to 2-0 and silenced the Mariucci crowd.

Michigan controlled play throughout the second period, only allowing five shots on goal. Minnesota relied on Close to suppress the Wolverines’ offensive flurry as he made 16 saves in the middle frame.

Freshman forward Oliver Moore drew an interference penalty on a zone entry in the opening minutes of the third period and sent Minnesota to their only power play of the evening. 

After an unsuccessful power play, the Gophers had a scoring chance from sophomore defender Ryan Chesley but the shot was gloved by Barczewski.

In the final two minutes of the game, sophomore forward Jimmy Snuggerud sniped a shot past Barczewski to cut Michigan’s lead in half. However, the Gophers’ late push was not enough to overcome the deficit as the Wolverines went on to win.

With the win, Michigan eliminated Minnesota from the Big Ten tournament on home ice for the third straight year. The Wolverines will advance to the championship against Michigan State next Saturday.

Gophers head coach Bob Motzko said the Wolverines had a more passive game in the third period compared to their offensive play style throughout the first two periods. 

“We spent too much time having to defend,” Motzko said. 

Motzko added the team needed a play to jumpstart the team’s offense, but it never came. He said the team was not connecting on passes and “iced the puck” too many times. 

“A pretty good hockey team, we’re playing,” Motzko said. “They weren’t going to give it to us.”

The loss to Michigan was Minnesota’s last home game at Mariucci of the season. Graduate forward Bryce Brodzinski said he knew this was going to be his final home game but did not give much attention to it.

“It’s just another game and you got to win every single game regardless of where we’re playing,” Brodzinski said. 

Brodzinski said he will miss the crowd at Mariucci and, for the past two and a half years, the crowds were unbelievable.

“It’s one of the best fan bases in college hockey,” Brodzinski said.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (0)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *