Raise your hands if you wrote off the Minnesota Gophers men's hockey team.
After beating Michigan State Friday, the Gophers came back and beat Michigan Saturday, here is a recap:
The University of Minnesota men's hockey team won a 4-2 come-from-behind nailbiter tonight at fifth-ranked Michigan in the final game of the College Hockey Showcase in Ann Arbor, Mich., scoring three unanswered goals to push the team's winning streak to four games. Sophomore Andy Sertich netted the game-winning goal at 13:24 of the third period to hand the Golden Gophers (6-7-1, 3-6-1 WCHA) their first two-win College Hockey Showcase since the 1995-96 season.
The Golden Gophers jumped out to the 1-0 lead at the 7:45 mark of the first period on a beautiful passing play. Keith Ballard gained the puck in the neutral zone and quickly passed cross ice to find Troy Riddle alone on the Michigan blueline. Riddle stormed into the zone on the right side, finding himself on a 2-on-1 with Gino Guyer. Riddle threw the puck across the slot for Guyer to knock it in past Michigan goaltender Al Montoya's stick side.
The Maize and Blue responded six minutes later with a shorthanded goal by Brandon Kaleniecki. Minnesota turned the puck over in its neutral zone to Kaleniecki, who fired a wrist shot high to the glove side past Golden Gopher goaltender Kellen Briggs. It marked the third shorthanded goal Minnesota has allowed this season. Michigan gained another unassisted goal at 17:19 when Brandon Rogers grabbed a Minnesota turnover and put a backhander high to the glove side past Briggs. For the action-packed opening period, the Golden Gophers out-shot the Wolverines, 15-11.
The two Big Ten rivals played the majority of the second period tight, but it was Minnesota that struck back late in the period to tie the game at two. With Keith Ballard sent out of the game with a five-minute major for checking from behind and Chris Harrington in the box for holding, Troy Riddle somehow managed to score a 5-on-3 shorthanded goal to knot the game. At 19:10, Riddle gained the puck in the Michigan zone and beat Montoya with a nifty backhander on the ice for his first shorthanded goal of the season and sixth of his career. Guyer picked up the lone assist on Minnesota's second shorthanded goal of the year. The goal marked Riddle's fourth point of the weekend. For the period, the Maroon and Gold out-shot the Maize and Blue, 7-6.
The Golden Gophers opened the third period with a 4:20 killing of the remaining time on the Ballard penalty, weathering several good Wolverine scoring chances. The penalty kill proved to be the key to the game as Minnesota regained its momentum, culminating with Sertich's first game-winning goal of the season and second of his career. In the Michigan zone, Jake Fleming won a face-off back to Barry Tallackson, who played the puck to Harrington at the left point. Harrington looked up and saw Sertich flying down from the right point and passed down low for Sertich to knock in the puck for the go-ahead goal.
The Wolverines pulled Montoya with 1:15 to play and threatened to tie the game with numerous scoring chances in the Minnesota zone. Tallackson would put the final nail in the coffin, however, blocking a shot and racing down ice for the empty-net goal.
For the game, three different Golden Gophers - Tallackson, Guyer and Riddle - had two-point contests. The shots were even at 32 apiece and Minnnesota moved its penalty-killing streak to 21 straight oppotunities with Michigan's 0-for-4 night with the man advantage. Briggs picked up the win for the Golden Gophers, stopping 30 shots, to move to 5-4-1 with his third consecutive victory. Montoya got the loss to fall to 9-5-0 on the season. Minnesota has not lost at Michigan since Nov. 28, 1997, and returns home with both the traveling trophies, awarded to the winner of the Minnesota-Michigan State and Minnesota-Michigan games, for the first time since 1995-96
The Golden Gophers stay on the road next weekend with a two-game WCHA series at Alaska Anchorage on Friday-Saturday, Dec. 5-6
College Hockey Showcase: U dominates
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