Minnesota and Alaska-Anchorage played Saturday in the final meeting of the regular season for a long while, and after Friday’s fireworks, Saturday’s game was sure to please even the most untrained of hockey fans. Adam Wilcox started in goal for Minnesota while Rob Gunderson hit the pipes for UAA.
The first five minutes came and went with a little bit of hitting, as well as Minnesota coming out the better statistical team out of the gate. The Gophers had the first three shots on goal that officially counted, and it seemed as though UAA was down and out early.
Minnesota’s Justin Holl would go to the box for tripping at 5:25, giving the Seawolves their first power play of the night. The Gopher penalty kill, much as it did from Friday, reigned supreme in the first man disadvantage of the night, and the game was scoreless through the first seven minutes plus.
As the first ten minutes would develop, Minnesota was the far better team, keeping pucks in the UAA end for a substantial amount of time compared to the Seawolves. At 9:55, the ice was broken and Minnesota did the job right on the doorstep. Seth Ambroz would get the even strength marker with the only assist going to Jake Parenteau.
At 11:30, UAA’s Daniel Naslund would draw the ire of the officials when he would go for hooking, but the penalty was justified. Otherwise, UAA would’ve been down 2-0 in the early going.
Minnesota ended up putting UAA down 2-0 at 12:00 of the first period as Kyle Rau put the puck past Gunderson on the power play. Rau’s eleventh goal was assisted by Nate Schmidt and Nick Bjugstad. In the latter stages of the first period, it seemed as though Minnesota was trying to put the Seawolves away for good.
At the 16:09 mark, Minnesota was ahead 11-1 on the shot count, and as twenty minutes fell, shots finished 12-2 Minnesota. Power plays had Minnesota at 1-1 while UAA was 0-1.
UAA’s Matt Bailey started the second period right as he scored at 0:36 in on even strength via a tip-in. Bailey’s effort had assists from Cory Roy and Chris Williams. It was clear that UAA was clinging to some sort of life. UAA would get that life from a Tom Serratore penalty for interference at.
Later on, at 9:29, Minnesota made the score 3-1 on a goal from Zach Budish. Budish’s even strength marker had assists from Sam Warning and Nate Schmidt.
Shots were 16-5 after the goal from the Gophers, and it was clear to most that UAA would have to work to get back to even.
UAA actually outshot Minnesota 2-1 up from the Budish goal to the final TV timeout of the period. At 17:04, UAA’s Matt Bailey would take a trip to the box for tripping, giving the Gophers their third power play. At 19:16, Minnesota had a 4-1 lead on the scoreboard when Kyle Rau scored his second goal of the night with assists going to Sam Warning and Nate Schmidt on even strength.
The start of the third period saw Minnesota simply get after it, and rightfully so. They are, after all, the #1 team in the country. At 3:07, Minnesota’s Ben Marshall would take a seat in the box via an elbowing call, giving UAA their third power play of the night.
UAA’s power play was anemic. Simply put, having one Gopher off the ice was not enough. At 5:34, Minnesota scored their fifth goal of the night, and Kyle Rau had his hat trick and the hat trick was his first of his career. The even strength goal came unassisted.
Minnesota was simply inflicting its shooting gallery will, and as fifty minutes came up, UAA was unable to mount a surge of offense capable of stopping the nation’s number one rodent. At 10:56 of period three, UAA’s Matt Bailey would be called for boarding.
At 12:07, the puck popped in UAA’s net behind Rob Gunderson and Nate Condon would receive credit for the rainbow. Condon’s power play would have assists from Sam Warning and Nate Schmidt. The sixth Gopher goal would give the home team confidence to pull Adam Wilcox and insert Michael Shibrowski into the game. As if that mattered, a dandy goal was scored by AJ Michaelson to kick the extra point. Michaelson was assisted by Seth Ambroz and Mark Alt at 13:47. At 15:49, UAA’s Chris Crowell and Minnesota’s Seth Helgeson had a physical confrontation which resulted in coincidental roughing double minors and ten-minute misconducts as well.
UAA’s Matt Bailey was given a five-minute major and game misconduct at 17:07 for boarding. Minnesota’s fifth power play of the night would effectively happen until the end of the game.
Shots at the end of the game finished in Minnesota’s favor 31-13. Power plays had
It was safe to assume that Minnesota was piquing at the right time, especially with a worthy opponent in North Dakota coming to town next weekend. Dave Hakstol’s squads are always gritty and physical. Minnesota and North Dakota get together Friday night at 7pm in Minneapolis.
Geoff Discher is Examiner.com's Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey Examiner as well as the National College Hockey Examiner. Leave a comment below, or feel free to reach him at Disch61@hotmail.com with comments, story ideas, or any general talk surrounding college hockey. You can find him on Facebook as well by clicking here as well as here and joining the conversation from the social media side as well. He's always chock full of fact and opinion. I’m also on Twitter @GophHkyExmnr. Check it out!
Until next time, I'll see you at the rink!