Minnesota and North Dakota played Friday night in the penultimate game for the two schools as WCHA opponents. Each team had a line to watch out for, and Adam Wilcox would get the net start for Minnesota while North Dakota put Clarke Saunders in the net, who previously starred at Alabama-Huntsville.
Early on, you could tell that the tempers were subdued but physical, and Minnesota had the only shot through the first ninety seconds. At 2:40, North Dakota’s Drake Caggiula drew the first penalty of the game for boarding.
As the game’s first power play ticked away, Minnesota looked focused. The apparent focus couldn’t help the home squad as the time went away without a goal.
Shots were still at one apiece as the first six minutes ticked off of the board, and the physical play settled down in the middle of the opening twenty for the most part. At 7:32, Minnesota’s Mike Reilly and North Dakota’s Stephane Pattyn were sentenced to roughing minors.
As the clock ticked past ten minutes, the crowd that was at Mariucci was not enthused to say the least and something needed to happen to get the crowd back into it.
At 12:32, Minnesota’s Nick Bjugstad and Andrew MacWillam were assessed roughing minors. Shots were 4-2 to UND as the penalties ended. Later, at 15:53, North Dakota’s Mitch MacMillan drew the ire of the zebras when he was sent for slashing. As soon as MacMillan was off the ice, things got a bit more physical.
The first twenty minutes came to an end with the shot count in Minnesota’s favor at 8-5. Minnesota was also 0-2 on power plays while North Dakota was without a man advantage through twenty.
The first few minutes of the second period were physical, and it was enough for Minnesota’s Jake Parenteau to draw a hold at 2:54. Thirty-nine seconds later, North Dakota had the game’s first goal off a deflection as Michael Parks was credited with the goal. Corban Knight and Dillon Simpson had assists.
Shots were only 9-9 as the twenty-five minute mark elapsed. Minnesota’s tenth shot tied the game at 6:06 of the 2nd period as Zach Budish roofed some rubber. Sam Warning and Nate Condon assisted Budish on the goal.
At 7:17, Minnesota drew a penalty that sent Brady Skiej to the box for cross-checking. The North Dakota power play that ensued wasn’t the prettiest, but it kept goaltender Adam Wilcox on his toes. The home team came out unscathed, and as halfway fell, the game was still tied at one apiece.
Shots were 13-11 in Minnesota’s favor as 31:35 was played, but both teams were looking for the elusive “next goal.” As five minutes remained in the period, the goal had not come but each team was getting its chances to do work.
At 16:40, Minnesota’s Seth Helgeson was assessed a minor for cross checking Mark MacMillan in front of Adam Wilcox, and that penalty gave UND it’s third power play. The power play that the visitors had would come up stale, and the period would end with UND at 0-3 on the power play. Shots were 16-15 Minnesota, who was 0-2 on completed power plays. At 18:56, UND’s Andrew MacWilliam was called for slashing. As the period came to an end at 19:54, Minnesota nudged in front when Ben Marshall lit the power play lamp. Minnesota was 1-3 on power plays through forty minutes, as Seth Ambroz and Nate Condon assisted Marshall on the goal.
The third period started physically on both sides, as shots were only 19-17 before the end of forty-four minutes. Just before the forty-four minute mark, North Dakota's Derek Forbort was called for hooking, with the penalty coming at 3:20 in the third period.
At 5:45 in the third period, Minnesota's Adam Wilcox was simply impressive, as he would end up making a save on a North Dakota shot that pinballed before ending in his glove. At 6:03, Minnesota popped in a third goal when Nate Schmidt put one home on even strength that baffled UND goaltender Clarke Saunders. Nate Schmidt was assisted by Erik Haula (his one hundreth career point) and Kyle Rau.
Shots were 24-22 in favor of Minnesota as seven plus minutes remained to be played, but if North Dakota wanted to tie the game, "the time was now." North Dakota would ratchet play up in intensity, and it was too much for Tom Serratore, who put Minnesota in the box for interference at 13:51.
While shorthanded, Minnesota added a fourth goal as Nate Condon scored unassisted at 15:24, which was twenty-seven seconds before Serratore's penalty would have ended. At 16:01, North Dakota would put in the extra attacker in an effort to quell the onslaught. At 17:55, Minnesota added an empty netter from Erik Haula, who was assisted by Nick Bjugstad and Seth Ambroz. After the goal, Minnesota's Seth Helgeson and North Dakota's Corban Knight received double-minors for roughing.
The game was well decided by the time it was over, but shots finished even at twenty-seven apiece. At 18:53, UND's Stephane Pattyn was assessed a ten-minute misconduct, and Andrew MacWilliam went for charging. Power play numbers had Minnesota going 1-5 and North Dakota going 1-4.
The same two teams get it on as part of Hockey Day Minnesota tomorrow at 5pm. FOX Sports North airs the game.
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!