Gophers Settle For Split With No. 1 Irish
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) – The No. 13-ranked Gopher Hockey program settled for a weekend series split with No. 1 Notre Dame as the Fighting Irish claimed a 4-1 victory at 3M Arena at Mariucci on Saturday night.
The two teams came out flying in the first period. Casey Mittelstadt rang a shot off the crossbar in the early going, but it would be Notre Dame (20-5-1, 14-2-0 Big Ten) scoring first. The Irish cashed in on a power-play opportunity when the Gophers bowled over netminder Cale Morris, and Leon Bristedt went off for goaltender interference. Jordan Gross had the goal with the extra attacker, and Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead to the locker room after one.
Special teams continued to play an integral role in the second period as the teams had nine penalties on the board after two. The Fighting Irish took a 2-0 lead on another power-play goal as Jake Evans scored at 9:23 of the second. Minnesota (16-13-1, 7-10-1-1 Big Ten) broke through before the end of the period with Brannon McManus deking out a defender and flicking a shot past Morris at 16:12 for his sixth of the season. Steve Johnson and Mittelstadt added assists on the play.
Notre Dame extended its lead with an unassisted goal from Dylan Malmquist at 6:47 of the third. Looking to kick-start the offense, Minnesota pulled Mat Robson with 3:34 remaining in the period, but he would return at 2:55 when the Maroon & Gold were assessed two penalties within 14 seconds, forced to skate 5-on-3 with just 2:40 left on the clock. Notre Dame put the game on ice with its third power-play goal of the day at 17:40 of the third.
Robson stopped 26 pucks for Minnesota, while Morris made 16 stops for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame finished 3-for-6 with the man advantage while the Gophers ended their day 0-for-3.
With next weekend off, Minnesota heads out on the road the following week for another Big Ten Conference series against Wisconsin. The action gets underway Friday with an 8:00 p.m. opening face-off in Madison. The Gophers return home the following weekend to host Ohio State on Feb. 16-17 in the team’s final regular season series at 3M Arena at Mariucci. Tickets and ticket packages are currently available at GopherSports.com, by calling 1-800-U-Gopher, or by stopping by the ticket office at 3M Arena at Mariucci.