Minnesota and Notre Dame took the ice Tuesday night in the annual Hall of Fame game, and the early moments would dictate how the game went. Notre Dame, coming off of a substantial layoff, started expert goaltender Steven Summerhays while Minnesota countered with Adam Wilcox.
The first few minutes would be a key to seeing how these two opened play, and it was physical at the start. At 1:21, Minnesota lit the lamp first when Nate Condon unleashed a beast from the right circle. Condon was assisted by Zach Budish and Sam Warning on the even strength beast that had eyes and gnarly looking teeth. Notre Dame was immediately down and backpedaling, but nowhere close to being out of it.
Adam Wilcox was tested just in front of the four-minute mark by an offensive rush of Notre Dame’s that went by the wayside. As the first quarter of the period came and went shots were 2-1 in favor of Minnesota.
The first penalty of the game came at 5:13, as Notre Dame’s Peter Schneider went to the box for boarding, which gave Minnesota its opening power play of the night. The Gopher power play would come up empty, earning one shot. Seconds later, at 7:29, Minnesota made it 2-0 on an even strength tally as Sam Warning saw red. Warning was assisted by Travis Boyd on the goal that was reviewed and found good.
Through the first 8:06, shots were 6-3 in favor of Minnesota, but Notre Dame did show signs of life in the middle of the first period. At 9:56, however, those signs of life would cease to exist as TJ Tynan was called for hooking. Minnesota’s second power play wasn’t really that marvelous, but didn’t need to be when the Gophs were up 2-0 in the span of twelve minutes.
Minnesota’s Sam Warning would go off for interference at 12:14, giving Notre Dame its first power play of the night. The Irish power play left much to be desired, as the score still read 2-0 in favor of the Gophers. At 14:31, however, Notre Dame snuck a puck past Adam Wilcox to put the score at 2-1. Jeff Costello would get the even strength goal with assists to Bryan Rust and Anders Lee.
As the end of twenty minutes dawned in Minneapolis, Notre Dame was busy in their offensive end, but just as busy it seemed were the Gophers. Fifteen combined shots on goal for the first sixteen minutes indicated as much. At 16:54, Minnesota’s Nate Condon would go to the box for holding. As twenty minutes ended, shots had each team banging eight pucks on goal, and power plays had Notre Dame and Minnesota at 0-2 each as well.
The first thirty seconds of period two had each team with a shot on goal, but each defensive unit was on par to begin the middle frame. As three minutes of the second period ticked away, it was at 3:06 where we’d see a Notre Dame penalty to Nick Larson. Larson would go for slashing, giving Minnesota its third power play.
The Gophers’ third power play would not amount to much at all, and the game would see its second two-goal lead at 5:23 of the second period. Minnesota’s Christian Isackson lit the lamp from in close, and the goal came on even strength.
Shots to 27:00 were only 12-11 in favor of Notre Dame, and Notre Dame would further shoot themselves in the foot as Steven Johns went for boarding at 6:51. Minnesota’s fourth power play of the night would not produce a whole lot, and actually came up empty in the shot department.
Minnesota’s Kyle Rau went to the box at 9:02 for interference, giving Notre Dame its third power play of the night. Rau pushed a Fighting Irish defender through the net, which was simply foolish. Notre Dame was not able to convert with its chances, and shots stood at 13-11 to Notre Dame at just past 31:00 into the game.
As the final few minutes of the second period played out, the Irish were hanging on by a thread, or within eyesight of the Gophers, who held a two-goal advantage at the end of forty minutes. Shots on goal through forty had Minnesota up 18-15, and power plays had Notre Dame at 0-3 on converted power plays while Minnesota was 0-4. The play towards the end of the second frame was fast and furious to say the least. At 19:49, Minnesota’s Tom Serratore would go for cross checking, giving Notre Dame 1:49 of power play to begin the third period.
The power play that Notre Dame had at the start of the period quickly went up in smoke, and each team was an even 0-4 on the man advantage from that point forward. At 3:21 into the period, Minnesota’s Adam Wilcox made a dandy save on a Bryan Rust breakaway attempt.
At the 45:45 mark, shots were 20-19 in favor of the home-standing Gophers. As the fifty minute mark came and went, the Gopher faithful were ten minutes from success on a rare Tuesday night.
The game's ninth penalty would go against Notre Dame's Shayne Taker at 8:52 for interference. Minnesota's fifth power play of the night would go without success via the twine, and shots overall were even at twenty-two apiece as the advantage ended.
The final few minutes of the game would send the Irish and head boss Jeff Jackson scrambling, while the Irish also knew that a second goal would put the game on its ear. A penalty at 14:00 of the third period would send Mike Voran to the box for cross checking.
Steven Summerhays would help keep the Irish penalty kill within striking distance in the two-minute frame, but the Irish would win out the exchange by not allowing a goal. Think like winning a battle versus the war...
For added insult, Minnesota's Zach Budish scored an empty net goal at 19:45. Budish was assisted by
As the game came to an end, it was Minnesota who came out on top by a 4-1 count. Shots on goal finished up 25-23 in favor of the Gophers while Minnesota was also 0-7 on the power play. Notre Dame finished 0-4.
Minnesota rests for a couple days before taking on Alaska-Anchorage on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s 8pm drop will be on Big Ten Network while Saturday’s 7pm drop is back on FOX Sports North. Dan Kelly and Rob Andringa will inhabit the booth Friday while Doug McLeod and Kevin Gorg return home on Saturday.
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!