The Gophers would spend a Sunday playing for a championship trophy—the Mariucci Classic trophy—and their worthy opponent was the Boston College Eagles, which was a rematch of an NCAA semifinal from earlier this spring. The final game of calendar year 2012 would see much of the same lineup as the two teams started in Saturday’s games, except that BC lost Patch Alber to injury, so Peter McMullen took his spot on defense. Parker Millner and Adam Wilcox received the starts in net for BC and Minnesota.
The early seconds of the game featured Boston College taking it to Minnesota in the Gophers’ end of the ice. At 1:10, a cross checking minor went against Boston College’s Bill Arnold, giving Minnesota its first power play. The Gopher power play would get grade-A chances in Boston College’s end, but Parker Millner would be effective early. At 2:52, Minnesota’s power play would strike with Nick Bjugstad putting the puck back behind Millner. A review was needed just to make sure, but the goal stood. Kyle Rau was credited with an assist as was Erik Haula.
Shots were 5-4 in favor of Minnesota at the 4:30 mark, with four different Gophers recording shots on Parker Millner. The opening period’s middle would settle tempers down slightly, but the game’s opening minutes would be a complete turnabout from the NCAA semifinal of last hockey season.
Minnesota was applying pressure as the ten minute mark passed, and Boston College would take the shots edge at 7-5 through 11:12. The intensity continued as clean hits were delivered by both teams. At 12:28, Minnesota’s second power play of the night would come after Michael Matheson was called for holding. Five seconds later, at 12:33, Minnesota’s Kyle Rau pocketed a puck under the crossbar for a power play goal and a 2-0 lead. Rau was assisted by Finnish flash Erik Haula and Zach Budish.
Moments later, at 13:53, Minnesota’s Nick Bjugstad kicked the field goal with a goal through Millner’s five hole. The even strength goal was credited with assists to Zach Budish and Jake Parenteau. At 14:04, BC’s first power play came as Mark Alt was assessed an interference minor.
Boston College’s man advantage would not amount to much, which was shocking seeing as the Eagles were the #1 team entering the weekend. Boston College ended up with two shots on the man-advantage.
At the end of the first period, Boston College’s Steven Whitney was cited for boarding (at 19:34), giving Minnesota power play number three.
As the first period came to an end, Boston College was clearly rattled. Minnesota was 2-2 on completed power plays with BC going 0-1. Shots were 14-14 through twenty minutes.
The first 1:26 of the second period was spent on the Minnesota man-advantage. Minnesota would leave the power play without a puck in the net, but four shots on goal. The play would settle down in the early minutes of the second period as the chess match continued.
Boston College knew that they had to have a goal before they could really start playing aggressively, but the physical play was there for the Eagles at the game’s mid-point. At 8:49, Minnesota’s fourth power play would come to fruition as Patrick Brown would go to the box for tripping.
Minnesota’s fourth goal would come on the power play at 10:34, when Nate Condon lit the lamp. Condon was assisted by Sam Warning and Ben Marshall on the goal that made a lot of Mariucci faithful happy.
A boarding penalty was called on Minnesota’s Mark Alt at 11:29, which gave Boston College their second power play of the night. The Eagle power play would only be given three “grade-A” chances, but the Gophers would escape without allowing a goal. Shots were 25-23 in Minnesota’s favor through thirty-four minutes.
At the end of forty minutes, Minnesota was in control of the game and all of its vital numbers. Shots through forty minutes had BC up 26-25 and Minnesota was 3-4 on completed power plays to BC’s 0-2. BC’s Michael Sit was given a game misconduct for contact to the head at 19:08.
The third period’s early stages saw goals coming to the Minnesota Gophers. At 2:22, Minnesota’s Nate Schmidt scored on a power play with assists from Nick Bjugstad and Zach Budish. The goal came off of the game misconduct from the end of the 2nd period. At 4:13, Minnesota went ahead by a touchdown on even strength as Seth Ambroz scored with assists from Christian Isackson and Ben Marshall.
As if the result wasn’t clear, Minnesota added a seventh goal at 6:22 as Kyle Rau took a puck to the back of the net with an assist to Nick Bjugstad.
At 10:29, BC’s Patrick Wey would go for holding, giving Minnesota its seventh power play. Moments later, at 11:54, Minnesota’s power play would come to an end as Nick Bjugstad would go for cross-checking.
The penalties kept coming, as Minnesota’s Tom Serratore would go at 13:45 for interference, giving Boston College a brief two-man advantage. Scoring their first goal of the game at 13:40, Boston College’s Steven Whitney lit the lamp with assists going to Michael Matheson and Kevin Hayes. The goals wouldn’t stop. Minnesota added goal number eight at 14:24 as Sam Warning would score his third of the year. Warning would be assisted by goaltender Adam Wilcox, which got a rouser of an ovation from the crowd.
At 19:09, Boston College’s Patrick Brown would go for elbowing, giving Minnesota their eighth power play of the night.
As the game came to an end, power plays had Minnesota at 4-8 and Boston College at 1-4. Shots at the end of the game finished to Minnesota 36-33.
Minnesota takes a weekend off before returning to the ice on January 8th (Tuesday) when Notre Dame invades Minneapolis in a one-night affair.
Geoff Discher is rootshed.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!