Record crowd watches U tie BU

The largest crowd in Mariucci Arena history witnessed Minnesota and Boston combine to score 10 goals and take 70 shots. The problem was neither team won the game.

Which of these numbers played a role in the Minnesota-BU game Friday night?

A. 10, 303 fans

B. 10 total goals

C. 70 combined shots

D. Four come-from-behind goals

E. All of the above

The answer is E, but D is the one that hurts the most.

Boston came from behind four times Friday night in front of a Mariucci Arena record crowd of 10,303 fans to witness a 5-5 overtime tie between the Terriers and the Gophers, two of college hockey's most storied programs. The teams combined for 70 shots in the game – 30 from Boston, 40 from Minnesota, yet no one could pull out the victory

With the tie BU improved to 5-5-5 on the season, while Minnesota is 9-8-2. Despite the tie the Gophers have still only lost once in its past nine games. The two teams play again tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Mariucci Arena.

"This is a good rivalry even though we don't see them that much," said Boston coach Jack Parker.

The Gophers never trailed in a game that saw its fair share of wacky bounces and end-to-end action.

Senior forward Jon Waibel scored two goals to lead the Minnesota scoring effort, while sophomore defenseman Chris Harrington played a part in three of UM's five goals.

The game set a new Minnesota single-game attendance record of 10,303, breaking the previous record of 10,248 on March 2, 2002, vs. St. Cloud State.

The Gophers and Terriers played a tight first period until the final three minutes when Minnesota exploded for two goals to take a 3-1 lead into the break. The Maroon and Gold opened the game's scoring at 1:50 on Waibel's second goal of the season. Waibel took a feed from Harrington and flew in on a breakaway, beating BU goaltender Sean Fields with a backhander to the stick side. Keith Ballard earned the second assist on the play.

Boston responded at 8:36 on the power play when Kevin Schaeffer's slap shot from the point beat UM goaltender Kellen Briggs high to the stick side.

Minnesota closed the period with two goals in the final three minutes, beginning with Harrington's goal on the power play. Gino Guyer picked up the puck behind the BU net and found Harrington streaking down the slot to beat Fields via the five-hole. Grant Potulny got the second assist.

The Gophers took a two-goal lead with only 47 seconds remaining on Troy Riddle's 11th goal of the season. Harrington fired a shot on goal from the point with Koalska grabbing the rebound and shooting again. The shot deflected off Fields' pads to a waiting Riddle on the weak side, allowing the senior to knock the puck into the open net. For the period, Minnesota out-shot Boston, 14-11.

With Minnesota winning the first period, the Terriers turned the tables in the second, out-scoring UM, 3-1, to knot the game at four. BU began the offensive explosion at 2:24 with Mark Mullen deflecting Ryan Whitney's shot past Briggs. Boston tied the game at three at 3:37 with Brian McConnell's rebound goal off a shot by Bryan Miller that hit the post.

The Gophers responded at 9:45 to re-take the lead on Tyler Hirsch's fourth goal of the season. Hirsch circled around the BU net and shot, finding a hole under Fields' arm for the go-ahead goal. Andy Sertich earned the lone assist on the play. The Terriers closed out the scoring in the period with Mullen's second goal of the game at 13:04. Mullen made a nifty move to get to the UM net and beat Briggs five-hole. For the period, BU out-shot Minnesota 13-10.

The two squads split the third period with each team scoring a goal apiece. Minnesota struck first with Waibel's second marker of the game at 4:31. Waibel deflected freshman defenseman Jake Taylor's shot from the point to beat Fields high to the glove side. Judd Stevens picked up the second assist on the play.

The Terriers closed out the scoring at 15:51 with John Laliberte's tying goal on a shot from the top of the circle that deflected off of Hirsch in front of the net. Minnesota dominated on the shot board in the third period with a 13-5 advantage.

The two teams skated to overtime with the Gophers getting the best opportunity to gain the victory with a power play with about two minutes remaining. Danny Irmen nearly scored the game-winner, but Fields came up big, stopping a puck that had found its way between his leg pads. UM out-shot BU, 3-1 in the overtime period. For the game, Minnesota held the shot advantage, 40-30. Briggs saw his record move to 7-5-2 with the tie, stopping 25 of 30 Terrier shots, while Fields moved to 4-5-4.

"I was very happy with our resiliency tonight," said Terrier head coach Jack Parker, whose overall record is 685-344-72 in 30-plus years of coaching. His record against the Gophers is 7-9-1. "We had to come back from being down, 3-1, 4-3, and 5-4, and we showed grit. Even when we were down, we stuck to the task at hand.

"We got five goals and that was nice to see," the coach continued. "But, we came away with the tie because we were able to kill penalties."

Minnesota was 1-for-7 on the power play.

Included in that total was a five-minute major penalty for checking from behind by Jekabs Redlihs (Riga, Latvia). Redlihs, who was playing in his first game of the season after recovering from a broken collarbone, checked Minnesota captain Grant Potulny into the boards with just 32 seconds to play in the second period. With the penalty came a game disqualification, as Redlihs will not play in tonight's series finale.

Minnesota entered the game with the top power play in the WCHA and the second-best in the nation (23-of-81, .284), but the Gophers were denied on the five-minute advantage. In fact, Harrington scored Minnesota's only power play goal in the first period.

Laliberte (Saco, ME) took the Terriers' second shot, and it proved to be the game-tying goal.

"I picked up the loose puck at center ice and came down the right wing," Laliberte recalled of the play. "I saw Kenny (Roche) come in from my left and got him the puck as he was crossing. I then went to the net, and Kenny got the puck back to me. There was a player back checking me, but I was able to get the shot off."

Fields (Edmonton, ALTA), who finished the game with 35 saves, preserved the tie midway through the overtime with that sparkling save of Irmen's shot.

"I spotted him out of the corner of my (left) eye," said Fields. "I was able to slide across the crease (from the left to the right where Irmen was standing with the puck) and the puck hit my toe."

The puck went from his toe to his right pad and then across to his left pad, and it never crossed the goal line.

"I was really pleased with how Fieldsy played," Parker said of his senior goalie. "I thought he really looked sharp. I also thought that Schaeffer and Mullen had great games."

"In general, I thought we played very well," concluded Parker. "This is a big rink (200 by 100 feet which is Olympic size), and it took us awhile to adjust. I also thought that territorially we played the way we wanted to."

Tonight's games will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net North and WCCO 830 AM.

AROUND THE WCHA

Friday's Results

NDSU 4, SCSU 4; Wisconsin 3, MSU-Mankato 3; Denver 2, St. Lawrence 0; Colorado 7, Wayne State 1; UMD 6, Bowling Green 1

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