ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Several recent trends continued on Saturday as the Minnesota Gophers escaped Michigan with a 2-2 tie, grabbing four out of a possible six points in their weekend road series with the Wolverines.
For example: Michigan took an early lead and scored on a power play. Minnesota rallied, twice, and took advantage of the Wolverines’ propensity to let late leads slip away. And the Gophers — for the second Saturday in a row — failed to score in a shootout, as Michigan grabbed the extra point.
The Gophers (5-3-2 overall, 1-2-1-1 Big Ten) got goals from Brody Lamb and Jimmy Snuggerud, along with 37 saves from goalie Justen Close in the game. The come-from-behind effort drew praise from their coach.
“I really liked us tonight. We got dragged into the fight by a very talented hockey team, and our guys battled their rear ends off,” Gophers coach Bob Motzko said in postgame comments. “We probably deserved a little better fate. I just give our guys credit. If that’s game 10 and it’s an indication of the direction we’re going, we’re in a good spot.”
Nick Moldenhauer and Frank Nazar scored for Michigan (5-5-2, 1-3-2-0), which led 1-0 after a period and 2-1 at the second intermission. Goalie Jacob Barczewski had 37 saves for Michigan.
Seamus Casey had the only goal in the post-overtime shootout, while Snuggerud, Cal Thomas and Bryce Brodzinski were thwarted, giving Michigan the extra point in the Big Ten standings.
As they had done in the opener, Michigan struck first on a goal by Moldenhauer, one of the Wolverines’ renowned freshmen. As opposed to Friday’s game when time in the penalty box was costly for the Gophers, they played a penalty-free opening period.
“They put up a great fight early and then our guys dug their heels in,” Motzko said. “Up and down our lineup it was the best game for our team thus far this year.”
Lamb’s power play goal was a high point for the Gophers, who have struggled with the man-advantage this season.
>> Minnesota used the same lineup as one night earlier, with center Aaron Huglen and goalie Nathan Airey still unavailable, and forward Nick Michel scratched.
>> Michigan honored members of the 1998 NCAA title team at Saturday’s game, marking 25 years since the Wolverines’ most recent national championship. But perhaps the biggest ovation of the game came in the second period, when the Wolverines football team arrived at the arena, fresh off their Saturday win at Penn State.
>> The Gophers return home for a pair of Big Ten games next weekend, hosting Notre Dame in a Friday-Saturday series at 3M Arena at Mariucci.
Men’s hockey: Jimmy Clark’s two-goal night sparks Gophers’ come-from-behind win at Michigan
College men’s hockey: Gophers settle for tie in Duluth
Back to business, Gophers men’s hockey team holds off Bulldogs to snap three-game losing streak
Badgers humble Gophers men’s hockey team in new coach Mike Hastings’ return to his home state
Men’s hockey: North Dakota hands No. 1 Gophers first loss