The Minnesota Golden Gophers entered tonight’s game with the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves wanting to put a sweep on a WCHA opponent for the first time this season. Adam Wilcox started in net for the Gophers while Rob Gunderson was in net for the Seawolves.
The first period of play saw four penalties, with the first coming at 0:14 as UAA’s Kory Roy would be sent to the box for a cross-check. At 2:11, Minnesota’s power play struck gold when Seth Ambroz scored his third goal of the season with assists coming to Travis Boyd and Mike Reilly.
At 4:38, Minnesota’s Seth Helgeson would take the Gophers’ opening penalty for a cross check, and that gave Alaska-Anchorage its first power play of the night. The Seawolves couldn’t muster much from the advantage, and were down to getting physical with Minnesota. The physicality got the best of the Gophers, as Jake Parenteau took an interference call at 7:13, followed by a power play that again turned sour for the Seawolves.
Brady Skiej continued Minnesota’s parade to the penalty box as he was called for checking from behind (the two minute variety) at 12:11 of the opening frame. The Seawolves would tie the game at 12:21 (ten seconds later) in the opening period when Jordan Kwas lit his third lamp of the year on the power play with help coming from Blake Tatchell and Blake Leask.
After the first period was over, shots on goal were even between the two teams at 7-7.
The second period saw even more action between the two teams, giving truth and credence to Saturday games being more physical. At 5:26, UAA was punished twice, as Daniel Naslund was called for holding, but the Seawolves were also cited for having too many men on the ice. The double-whammy put the Gophers up two men, and Minnesota failed to convert with a golden chance.
At 13:11, Minnesota’s Jake Parenteau was called for a check from behind, carrying a major penalty and a game misconduct with it. Alaska-Anchorage’s five minute power play was short-lived as Matt Bailey took the same exact penalties at 15:39. A garden variety, two minute slashing call for UAA’s Chris Williams at 19:51 gave the Gophers their third power play of the night, which extended into the final period.
Shots through two periods had UAA up 17-15. Minnesota was 1-3 on power plays while UAA was 1-4.
Minnesota shot itself in the foot early on in the third period when Nate Schmidt was booked for tripping at 3:34, giving UAA its fifth power play of the night. Total shots to the time of the penalty narrowed to +1 in UAA’s favor, at 19-18. At 5:38, UAA’s Alex Gellert made it 2-1 Seawolves on an even strength goal with an assist to Derek Docken.
As the third period evolved, Minnesota knew it needed to get back in the game with shot making, and though it took just over eight minutes later, Minnesota’s Erik Haula scored on even strength with assists going to Mark Alt and Nate Schmidt to tie the game.
At the end of regulation, shots on goal were 28-23 in favor of the Gophers, but it was on to overtime to settle this one. Power plays had Minnesota at 1-3 and UAA at 1-5.
Overtime didn’t do much to change things, but Minnesota did out-shoot Alaska-Anchorage in the extra session by a count of 5-0. As long as they don’t go in though, it doesn’t matter. The game still ended in a 2-2 tie, and shots on goal favored the Gophers 33-23 at night’s end.
Minnesota returns home this week to prepare for its border war with Wisconsin. Friday’s 7pm tilt can be seen on FOX Sports North while Saturday’s 8pm start can be viewed on BTN.
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!