Well, gopherguy05 and I are sitting here waiting for Notre Dame and SCSU to head to overtime. I was going to write this post once that game was done, but free hockey could take a while so we'll get started. First though, HATS OFF to CJ Fogler (@cjzero) for delivering quality GIF after quality GIF (as per usual). Also, make sure to check out these great pics from the game by SBN College Hockey writer Matt Christians (@Matt_Christians).
What We Liked
- Nate Condon going end to end with a beautiful wrister to pot the first goal. The suddeness of the play brought the crowd right into the game and set the tone for the quality that the Gophers brought for most of the game.
- Brodzinski's howitzer from the point. So pretty.
- WALLCOX MAGIC
- Minnesota's forecheck and offensive zone pressure. It created multiple turnovers and some nice chances in close.
- Shot selection. The Gophers put more shots on goal from in close than we've seen in a while. They did still take a fair number of shots from above the circles however and a better shot blocking team could have made them pay a bit more for that. At this point though, that's how the Gophers play and wishing for different is probably pointless.
- Relentless. While the Gophers did back off for a bit in the 2nd and 3rd periods, they also answered every Robert Morris challenge and dominated possession for large stretches of the game. The two to one advantage (50-25) in shots on goal speaks for itself.
- Gopher fans. While it was nowhere near a sellout, the fans who came were into the game and loud when it counted. Well, after being too quiet in the early first at least. =)
What We Didn't Like
- That nonsense elbowing call on Boyd late in the 3rd period. Little did I know that when a Robert Morris player forces you into the RMU goalie that you will get the penalty.
- ALL OF THE ODD MAN RUSHES. Seriously, the Gophers gave up too many odd man rushes and RMU made them pay for it.
- Tapping the brakes. The Gophers got complacent up 4-0 and started to stand around on D. Minnesota is talented, but not talented enough to play sloppy and careless.
- Failure to crash the net early on. The Gophers were creating multiple rebound opportunities in the first period but never had anyone rolling in to the net to collect them. This is something they improved on greatly as the game went on however.
- Robert Morris goalie Dalton Izyk. He did a pretty solid job standing up against some relentless Minnesota pressure. That was annoying.
Hey Cody Wydo, you're a goon. Wydo scored RMU's first goal. Before the ref could drop the puck on the subsequent faceoff, Wydo tried to stomp on Abroz with his skate (I'm going to assume he was trying to break his ankle because why not assign the worst possible motive?). Since Ambroz wasn't hurt, it ended up being pretty funny because seriously, WHY YOU MORON? Oh yea, and it happened RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE REF.
- As I type this, SCSU and Notre Dame are still tied 3-3 and there are 15 minutes left in the first overtime. Both gg05 and I have a slight preference for seeing St. Cloud tomorrow. For me, it's because I think it will make for the best atmosphere tomorrow night and for gopherguy05 it's a pragmatic decision based on his feeling that the Gophers will match up better and that Faragher (SCSU's goalie) is less like to stand on his head and steal a game.
LATE UPDATE: Just about to post this and then BOOM! St. Cloud put in the game winner. Huskies it is!
ALSO: We won't have to listen to the stupid Notre Dame fight song get played ALL. EFFING. GAME.
Minnesota has beaten both Notre Dame and St. Cloud this season so clearly the Gophers should be comfortable facing either team. As is the case when you are as talented as Minnesota, on some level it always comes back to how well will Minnesota play and how good will the opposing goalie be? If Minnesota plays at their highest level we have no doubt that they will be headed to Philly.
- Whioux might the Gophers face if they advance to the Frozen Four? Well, clearly the answer is UND, who defeated Ferris State 2-1 in double overtime earlier today. Congrats Wisconsin, this is your fault.
- Tailgating for hockey in 60 degree weather. This is a thing that will be happening tomorrow. It is pleasing.