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Minnesota takes first ever North Star Cup in shootout

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Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth played in the North Star Cup final on Saturday in St. Paul at the Xcel Energy Center. It was Adam Wilcox versus Aaron Crandall in the nets for the Gophers and Bulldogs respectively, and the game got off to a quick start with UMD launching the first two shots on goal.

The first four minutes of the game were without a penalty on the board, but both teams did have decent opportunities in front of opposing twine. At just past the 5:30 mark, Christian Isackson passed up a shot on goal opportunity for Minnesota from the right circle that could’ve had Crandall on his bicycle to make a save.

The team that would get the first goal in the game would have the scoring advantage for a brief time, but both teams were having trouble finding the net in the first half of period one. Shots were 7-2 in UMD’s favor through 10:21, and the game flowed.

Minnesota’s Kyle Rau scored the game’s first goal at 10:47 of the opening period unassisted. Moments later, at 11:05, the Bulldogs tied the game when Caleb Herbert scored on even strength. The nets continued to stay open at 11:26 when UMD scored again. This time, Austin Farley scored off an assist from Caleb Herbert. Those three goals came thirty-nine seconds apart combined.

At 15:07, UMD’s Adam Krause would go to the bin of sin for elbowing, giving Minnesota the game’s first power play. On the power play, and at 15:51, Minnesota’s Nate Condon scored his fifth goal of the year. Assists came from Seth Ambroz and Ben Marshall.

Minnesota earned its second power play of the night when Caleb Herbert was sentenced to a two-minute cross checking hockey jail term. Minnesota’s power play units were unable to produce with a man up.

Shots on goal through twenty minutes had UMD outshooting Minnesota 14-11 and Minnesota was 1-2 on power plays.

The first penalty of the second period was a boarding call at 4:35 as Minnesota’s Ben Marshall went to the box. UMD’s first power play of the night would come up empty as the game was still tied at two.

At 7:32, UMD’s Caleb Herbert would see the sin bin again as he was cited by the hockey police for holding. Minnesota’s third power play of the game went up in smoke without a goal, and the game crossed halfway with thirty-five total shots on goal.

The first twelve minutes in the second period were ugly. There was not much in the way of offense, and the defenses weren’t doing anything spectacular of note. That was even though UMD was outshooting Minnesota 6-5 in that span.

At 15:09, Minnesota’s Justin Kloos would get a cross checking minor, which gave UMD its second power play of the night. The Bulldog power play was unable to score, and both teams would have penalties called at 19:17. Minnesota would send Ben Marshall off for a game misconduct for contact to the head. Minnesota-Duluth's Andy Welinski would get unsportsmanlike conduct.

At the end of forty minutes, shots were 25-18 in favor of Minnesota-Duluth.

As the third period got underway, Minnesota-Duluth drew the period's first penalty at 0:38, as Caleb Herbert went for interference. Hudson Fasching would put the Gophers ahead at 1:02 with a four-on-three power play goal. Mike Reilly and Kyle Rau were credited with assists.

On the additional power play time from the Minnesota game misconduct in period two, UMD's Austin Farley tied the game at three at 2:24 with help from Tony Cameranesi and Willie Raskob. UMD drew a penalty at 4:49 for checking from behind to Carson Soucy, giving Minnesota what'd turn into a short power play. A Minnesota penalty to Taylor Cammarata at 5:16 for interference. That led to 1:33 of four on four time for the two teams which ended with 12:43 left to play.

Because of a tripping penalty at 10:52 to UMD's Kyle Osterberg, Minnesota earned its sixth power play of the game. Minnesota would pocket their fourth goal of the game at 11:41. Travis Boyd would do the honors with the assists going to Mike Reilly and Taylor Cammarata.

The game was tied for a fourth time at 17:51 as Joe Basaraba lit the lamp with help from Willie Raskob on even strength. At 18:33, Minnesota's Seth Ambroz was called for boarding. At the end of sixty minutes, shots favored UMD 39-26. At 3:31 of overtime, UMD's Willie Raskob got a two minute penalty for boarding. Shortly thereafter, at 3:39, Minnesota's Travis Boyd received a controversial tripping penalty. When no goals were scored in the overtime session, the game headed to a shootout.

Minnesota's Seth Ambroz and Kyle Rau were the two scorers who settled the score for the Gophers.

An official scoresheet can be found here. Minnesota next sees Michigan State next Friday and Saturday 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 @Disch_InTheVOX. Check it out!

Until next time, I'll see you at the rink!

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