Hometown hero Kellen Briggs leads U to 2-1 win

Colorado Springs natve freshman goaltender Kellen Briggs stopped 23 of 24 shots to lead the Gophers to a 2-1 road win over Colorado College. Briggs, playing in his first collegiate game in his home state, made several big saves, including two on breakaways to push Minnesota's unbeaten streak to five games (3-0-2). Junior defenseman Keith Ballard was the offensive star, scoring the game-winning goal early in the third period. The Golden Gophers are now 8-1-2 in their last 11 games.

Colorado College began the game's scoring at 2:10 of the second period, but the Maroon and Gold struck back just 17 seconds later to knot the contest at 1-1. CC's Trevor Frischmon pounced on a Minnesota turnover in the UM zone, shot once, gathered his rebound and deposited the puck past Briggs for his fifth goal of the season.

The Golden Gophers wasted no time in responding as the unlikeliest of players scored at 2:27. The Tigers attempted to clear the puck around the boards, but sophomore defenseman Peter Kennedy gained possession and fired a slapshot that beat McElhinney over his left shoulder. The unassisted lamplighter was Kennedy's first career goal and the first goal by a Canadian Golden Gopher since Jim Ebbitt (a Montreal native) scored against Wisconsin on Feb. 5, 1971. Kennedy hails from Brookfield, Nova Scotia.

For the period, Minnesota outshot CC 12-7 for a two-period advantage of 21-18.

The Gophers gained the go-ahead goal at 4:04 on the power play as Ballard scored his fifth marker of the season. Senior forward Troy Riddle fed Ballard from the left circle, setting up the Baudette, Minn., native for the one-timer. Ballard's shot hugged the ice and beat McElhinney on the glove side. Andy Sertich earned the second assist on the play. With the goal, Ballard moved his season-long point streak to five games, while Riddle moved his to nine games. Ballard's lamplighter put the assistant captain at 27 for his career, one short of ninth place on the all-time list for Minnesota defensemen.

Ballard impressed his potential future employer, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, as Avs scout and longtime NHL veteran Michel Goulet was in attendance at tonight's game to watch the offensive defenseman.

The Golden Gophers held on after Ballard's goal, shutting down the potent Colorado College offense by limiting the Tigers to only six shots in the final period. For the third period, Minnesota out-shot CC, 9-6, for a final advantage of 30-24. With the win, Briggs moves to 8-5-3 on the season and is 2-0-1 in his last three decisions. McElhinney picked up the loss to fall to 5-2-1 on the year.

Minnesota and Colorado College close out the season series tomorrow night at 8:05 p.m., Central time.

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