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McManus Lifts Gophers to 3-2 OT Win in Game One

MINNEAPOLIS – Brannon McManus capped a run of three unanswered goals for Gopher Hockey with the game winner in Friday’s 3-2 overtime victory for Minnesota over Michigan to open this weekend’s Big Ten quarterfinal series.

The Gophers, who have now won four straight and six of the last seven, will try to close out the series on Saturday afternoon with a 4 p.m. CT tilt on FOX Sports North PLUS.

After surrendering the opening two goals to the Wolverines in the series starter, Minnesota (17-15-4) bounced back with goals from Tyler Sheehy and Blake McLaughlin in regulation before McManus’ overtime winner. Rem Pitlick tallied a game-high two points with a pair of assists for the Maroon & Gold and now sits third in the nation with 42 points – a career high for the Hobey Baker Award nominee.

Michigan (13-15-7) opened the night with a goal from Michael Pastujov at 8:28 of the first period before Will Lockwood added to the lead 1:08 into the second period.

The Maroon & Gold answered back minutes later with Sheehy’s 12th of the year at 4:42. The senior captain moved into a tie for 31st all-time at Minnesota with his 147th career point after being set up by Pitlick and Brent Gates Jr. on the GPS Line.

McLaughlin’s one-timer for the equalizer at 9:06 of the third period came off a feed from Sammy Walker as McLaughlin picked up his fifth goal of the year and Walker reclaimed the Big Ten rookie scoring lead with his 25th point of the year. Sampo Ranta also picked up an assist on the all-freshman goal for the Gophers.

After regulation ended in a 2-2 tie, McManus put an end to the night at 10:10 of the first overtime session as he continued a breakout sophomore campaign with his 14th goal of the season and 25th point – both are career highs. Pitlick found McManus in front of the crease for the power-play winner while Tommy Novak also picked up an assist. Minnesota finished the night 1-for-6 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.

Mat Robson made 32 saves in goal for the Maroon & Gold to move to 13-11-4 on the year. Strauss Mann suffered the loss for Michigan, making 28 saves to fall to 6-7-4 on the year. The Wolverines outshot the Gophers 34-31 on the night

This weekend’s Big Ten quarterfinal series continues with Game Two on Saturday, March 9 at 4:00 p.m. CT. If necessary, the deciding game will be played on Sunday, March 10 at 4:30 p.m. CT. Both games will be broadcast live on FOX Sports North PLUS and FOX Sports Detroit PLUS. Ticket information is available at GopherSports.com and 1-800-U-GOPHER.

Notes: Pitlick has now tallied points in 30 of 36 games for the Gophers…Sheehy is now tied with Steve McSwain for 31st all-time at Minnesota with 147 points – Ken Yackel Sr. and Don Micheletti are next on the horizon at 148…Gates increased his career best season to 31 points…Michigan has now lost three-straight games in overtime.