Minnesota Gopher Hockey ties UMD 2-2 Highlights


One point closer to the top.

That's what Minnesota achieved with last night's 2-2 tie, and Friday night's 5-3 victory, over Minnesota-Duluth in a three-point weekend. In the tie Mike Reilly and Tom Serratore scored for Minnesota while Adam Wilcox made a career-high 35 saves as the Gophers edged UMD in shots 40-37. Both teams had one power-play goal in four man-advantage opportunities in regulation, and Minnesota gave the Bulldogs a glorious chance in overtime with a too-many-men penalty, but the Gophs' killed it off and held on for the tie.

Kyle Rau had a goal waved off because he knocked it in with a high-stick, an antiquated rule I would LOVE to see revisited at all levels of hockey. I get we want to keep the sticks down for player safety, but Rau used incredible hand-eye coordination to follow a deflected shot that cleared the net and bounced off the glass, ricocheting right back over the goal into the crease. Before anyone could react, he knocked the puck out of mid-air just above his shoulder and into the net. Yes, his stick went above his shoulder to knock the puck in, which is against the rules, but tell me again how this feat of athletic awesomeness was a serious danger to anyone else around him? That goal would have been the difference, but the Gophers had plenty of other opportunities and just couldn't cash in.

The highlight's from Friday's 5-3 win courtesy of Gopher Sports:


So with the win and tie, the Gophers gained ground on first place St Cloud State as the Huskies split their weekend series with Colorado College (thank you, CC!) giving them 33 points. Denver and UND split their series, leaving Minnesota in sole possession of second place. Here's how the standings look with just four games to go in the regular season:

2012-2013 WCHA STANDINGS
WCHA Games
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
1
St. Cloud State
24
16
7
1
33
82
53
19
12
1
107
78
2
Minnesota
24
13
6
5
31
80
58
21
6
5
117
64
3
Nebraska Omaha
24
14
8
2
30
83
70
18
12
2
112
88
North Dakota
24
12
6
6
30
82
62
17
9
6
106
80
5
Minnesota State
24
14
9
1
29
77
57
20
9
3
104
71
6
Denver
24
11
8
5
27
76
74
16
10
5
104
87
Wisconsin
24
10
7
7
27
54
53
13
10
7
68
62
8
Colorado College
24
9
11
4
22
78
85
12
15
5
106
113
9
Minnesota Duluth
26
8
13
5
21
64
79
10
17
5
78
96
10
Bemidji State
24
5
13
6
16
50
72
6
17
7
62
89
Michigan Tech
24
6
14
4
16
62
82
10
16
4
89
94
12
Alaska Anchorage
26
2
18
6
10
50
93
4
19
7
61
104

(Courtesy of WCHA.com)

The race for the Last MacNaughton Cup That Matters and home-ice in the first round of the WCHA playoffs remains incredibly close. UMD's one-point weekend, coupled with the fact their the only team in the top 11 with just two games remaining, means they're likely locked into 9th place. Considering how tough they played the Gophers, it just reiterates how important it will be for Minnesota to finish in the top 3 in the conference. Not that Bemidji, Tech or UAA would be a cake-walk, but the thoughts of playing one of those three are considerably more appealing than having to face UMD, CC, or Wisconsin again.

The schedule for the coming weekend definitely favors both SCSU and North Dakota, as St Cloud hosts Michigan Tech while UND hosts Bemidji State. The Gophers will be at home but get DU for the final time as conference mates, and perhaps for a long, long time if they don't meet in the playoffs as the two long-time conference foes are not scheduled to play each other again in the regular season for the foreseeable future. As for the others in the top six UNO is at Wisconsin while Mankato is in Colorado Springs to face CC.

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