The Gopher Hockey team knew they needed a sweep against an overmatched Ohio State Team this past weekend at Mariucci, and thanks to some great offensive play led by Travis Boyd's hat trick on Saturday the Gophers got it winning 4-2 on Friday and 6-2 on Saturday.
The Gophers got things started Friday night with a power-play goal. The Gophers have the #1 power-play in the nation and it showed as Leon Bristedt scored on a gorgeous one-timer pass from Justin Kloos just over six minutes into the game. The Gophers would make it 2-0 at the 15:33 mark of the first when Justin Kloos finally got off the schnide with a rebound goal off of a Ryan Collins shot. Ohio State had a great look at the end of the period on a power play of thier own, but Adam Wilcox returned to his Wallcox form and made a great glove save to keep the Buckeyes scoreless for the time being.
The Buckeyes would get on the scoreboard early in the 2nd period when Anthony Greco split a pair of Gopher defenders and beat Wilcox to the upper corner of the net. They would get no closer as the Gophers struck back three minutes later when Travis Boyd put a gorgeous wrist shot in the upper corner of the net past Buckeye glaie Christian Frey on the power-play to extend the lead to two once again. Less than three minutes later, the Gophers would make it 4-1 as Vinni Lettieri redirected a blast from Christian Issacson past Frey. The Buckeyes would add on a garbage goal late in the third period, and the Gophers would finish the game with a 4-2 win. View the highlights below:
While we're preparing for round two, see highlights from last night's win over the Buckeyes. http://t.co/KQ1hqlGYpt— Minnesota M Hockey (@GopherHockey) February 7, 2015
Saturday was the Travis Boyd show for the Gophers. He opened the scoring with a one-timer blast from the middle of the slot on a great pass from Sam Warning. thirty seconds later, Hudson Fasching scored a gorgeous goal as he took the puck behind the Buckeye net and muscled his way in front shielding the puck from the Buckeye defender. He turned and shot the puck past Buckeye goalie Matt Tompkins. The Buckeyes would get one back at the 9:31 mark of the first when Sam Jardine scored one of the flukiest goals you will see in a long time. Jardine dumped the puck in from center ice, and the puck hit the glass behind the Gopher net. It bounced forward, his the pack of Wilcox's pads and slid into the net. See the video of the goal here:
Boyd wasted no time getting the Gophers all the momentum back in the second period when he scored on a rebound of a Warning shot just nine seconds into the period. He then finished off his hat trick on the power-play at the 14:16 mark of the second with a one-timer blast from the right of Tompkins.
The third period saw three goals--all scored on the power-play. Kyle Rau struck first for the Gophers banging home a rebound on a Taylor Cammarata shot to put the Gophers up 5-1. The Buckeyes got one back eight minutes later, but the night was capped off when Micheal Brodzinski put a wrister past Tompkins to complete the 6-2 Gopher victory. See the highlights below:
The Gophers started the weekend 20th in the pairwise, and finished it in a tie with Quinnipiac for 13th. If the tournament field was announced today...the Gophers would be in. HOWEVER, they have a long and rocky road left. The bigger reason the Gophers rose from 20th to 13th over the course of two games was nothing that they did. It was a bad weekend for ranked teams out east. #54 Brown beat Harvard, #27 Dartmouth beat Yale (at Yale), #44 UMass beat UMass-Lowell and #40 UNH beat Vermont. They helped the Gophers big time. The Gophers will have another huge task this upcoming weekend when they host Big Ten leader Michigan at Mariucci. If they want to continue to have a decent shot at making it as an at large team to the NCAA tournament, at minimum a split would be huge. It seems that some of the teams issues have been resolved. Lets hope for everyone's sake this continues.