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Tactically sound game pushes Minnesota to Big Ten title in Friday win

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Minnesota and Michigan would go at it on Friday night at Yost Ice Arena as the Gophers and Wolverines went at it for the second to last time in the regular season. Adam Wilcox would get the start for Minnesota while Zach Nagelvoort got the start for Michigan.

Three goals were scored in the first twenty minutes with Brady Skjei scoring the game's first at 9:20. On even strength, Skjei's fourth goal of the year came unassisted as Skjei started the play by gloving the puck into the offensive zone. At 12:36, Michigan's Evan Allen tied the game at one on even strength when he scored his third goal of the season. Travis Lynch had the lone assist.

At 18:02, Michigan's Andrew Copp scored his fourteenth goal of the year on even strength with assists from Tyler Motte and Zach Hyman.

Each team had one power play finish or start in the first twenty, as Michigan's Michael Downing drew a charging penalty and the ire of the officials at 14:24. Minnesota's lack of power play offense kept the score at 2-1, but the Gophers' Brady Skjei drew a cross checking minor at 18:42 which gave Michigan their first power play that also failed to materialize when it ended early in the middle frame.

Shots on goal favored Michigan 11-9 through twenty minutes.

The second period saw Minnesota tie the game at two at 17:52 of the middle frame when Justin Kloos put in his twelfth of the season on even strength with assists from Mike Reilly and Nate Condon.

Michigan's Brennan Serville drew the only penalty of the middle frame (for a hold) at 10:03, which meant that Minnesota was 0-2 on power plays while Michigan was 0-1. Shots favored Minnesota 20-18 through forty minutes.

The third period started with creativity from Michigan's Luke Moffatt as the third period ticked past the five minute mark, but the turning point would come with the first penalty of the period. With the ping pong going on, any advantage would prove beneficial.

As the third period wore on, the play seemed like more of a prizefight than a hockey game as each team was looking for the perfect play. As sixty minutes came to a close, the game was tied at two, with Minnesota outshooting Michigan 25-23.

In the overtime, it was Minnesota who took a power play at 1:55 as Michigan's Derek DeBlois took a hooking minor. Minnesota's Kyle Rau would score on the ensuing power play at 2:44. Shots at game's end finished 28-24 to Minnesota and the Gophers were 1-3 on the power play. Michigan finished 0-1.

Minnesota and Michigan take the Yost Ice Arena ice for the final time on Saturday at 6pm CT. It'll be televised by BTN/BTN2Go.com. A full recap from Friday is available by clicking here.

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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