After a 6-0 drubbing of Vermont from Friday night, and a Gopher football homecoming loss to Nebraska, the hockey Gophers and Vermont Catamounts got it on at Mariucci Arena on a pretty warm late fall afternoon (a rare Sunday matinee) at the East Bank of the University of Minnesota. Like it was on Friday, Rob Madore and Kent Patterson would get starts in net for Vermont and Minnesota respectively.
The first shot of the game came fifty-one seconds into the first period from Minnesota but the game enjoyed a fast start on both sides of the puck. Through two minutes and twenty seconds, that was the only shot on the board, but Vermont seemed to have their legs about them in the early stages. At the four minute mark, Minnesota added an additional shot, but the game slowed down a lot from the way Friday’s series opener opened. No penalties in 4:21 of play is always encouraging. The second quarter of the period was played relatively evenly with shots at 3-2 in favor of Minnesota through eight minutes. The Gophers’ Blake Thompson drew the first penalty for cross checking at 8:47, giving Vermont the first power play of the afternoon. Halfway through, it appeared as though Vermont was playing a more defensive style even with the power play. The rest of the Thompson penalty elapsed without a shot on goal for Minnesota and at 10:52, shots were 4-3 in favor of Vermont which was stunning. Minnesota would draw another penalty at 11:04 when Blake Thompson went back to the sin bin for slashing. Minnesota’s penalty kill would be strong in the first thirty seconds of the kill, and at 11:58, Kent Patterson made an impressive save keeping the kill on until 12:06, when Vermont’s Connor Brickley went to hockey jail for tripping. Minnesota would get the first goal of the game at 12:18 on even strength when Justin Holl put the puck in the net with assists going to Sam Warning and Nate Schmidt. There was a need to review the goal by the officials for a brief moment, but the goal stood. Minnesota would enjoy 1:02 of man-advantage which would go by the wayside with the puck trapped in the corner. Shots were even at six apiece at 13:51. The final few minutes of the period indicated that the score should’ve been tied, but the teams would play to a stalemate at each end. Shots at eighteen minutes were 13-6 in favor of Minnesota, but Vermont was like an American Gladiator and hanging tough. At 18:49, there was a stoppage for a possible Vermont goal, but the puck was kicked in the slot, so the play was upheld with a no goal call. At 18:59, coincidental penalties were called when Vermont’s Matt White and Minnesota’s Seth Helgeson for roughing. As the period concluded, I thought the period was fairly even with Vermont playing 100% better than they did on Friday. Shots were 15-7 in favor of Minnesota, who were also 0-1 on advantages. Vermont was 0-2.
The second period started with the remainder of the coincidental penalties from late in the first period. Neither team could get an advantage by scoring in that exchange, but Minnesota got the better of the chances in the opening ninety seconds of period two. No penalties were called in the first three minutes of the second period making for a rather “sneaky” opening. At 3:30, shots were one apiece. At 4:07, Vermont finally tied the game when Connor Brickley scored an even strength goal in the slot with assists going to Matt White and Chris McCarthy. Moments later, at 4:18, Minnesota took the lead back on even strength when Jake Hansen scored with assists going to Seth Helgeson and Erik Haula. Vermont drew the first penalty of the period at 4:59 when Anders Franzon went to hockey jail for hooking. At 5:26, Minnesota scored on a deflection when Nate Schmidt scored on even strength with assists going on the power play goal to Kyle Rau and Erik Haula. Vermont would get a power play when Seth Ambroz would be sentenced to hockey prison for cross checking and hooking at 6:05. Four minutes of penalty kill were in store for Minnesota where Vermont could easily tie the game with two goals. The first minute of power play was uneventful for the Catamounts much to the glee of the obviously partisan Minnesota crowd. Halfway through the power play, Vermont was without a shot but there were still two additional minutes to be taken care of. Vermont was playing patiently through the final ninety seconds of their advantage though they were unable to score when it was all set and done. Shots were 6-3 at 11:00 into the period for Vermont. Penalties at 11:08 went to Minnesota’s Erik Haula and Vermont’s Kyle Reynolds for roughing. The even strength play didn’t amount to much and Minnesota’s Justin Holl would go to the box for holding at 13:14, giving Vermont their fifth power play of the game. Vermont’s power play would come to life at 15:02 when Connor Brickley would score on a pass in the slot. That goal brought the temperature up a few degrees as the goal brought the score to 3-2. Anthony DeCenzo and Michael Paliotta assisted Brickley on the goal. Moments later on even strength at 15:39, Chris McCarthy scored from the same spot with assists going to Blake Doering and Nick Brunteau. Vermont showed that they had salt down the stretch as the teams got to the warming houses, but before that at 16:25, Minnesota’s Mark Alt was called for high sticking, giving Vermont their sixth power play chance. Minnesota’s Blake Thompson and Vermont’s Connor Brickley for unsportsmanlike conduct and boarding, respectively at 17:32. At 18:07, Vermont’s Sebastien Stalberg put the Catamounts up 4-3 with assists going to Kyle Reynolds and Michael Paliotta on the power play. That power play goal gave Vermont the edge going into the third period, and Minnesota was outshooting the Catamounts 22-17. Vermont’s HT Lenz and Minnesota’s Ben Marshall were assessed roughing minors at 19:30, meaning the officials were calling a tight game. Power plays through two had Vermont at 2-6 (2-4 in the second) and Minnesota at 1-2 (1-1 in the second).
The third period opened with the remainder of coincidental penalties which Minnesota was not able to score during. A goal during the first two minutes would’ve been huge for Minnesota, but alas, Vermont kept the lead. The first three minutes went without a penalty, but both teams were playing to a stalemate during the first quarter of the period. At 4:27, Minnesota would get its first power play of the period when Vermont’s Blake Doerring went to the sin bin for hooking. The first minute leaned advantage over towards Vermont’s penalty kill. The Vermont PK would end up killing off the penalty despite pressure from Minnesota and as seven minutes came off the clock, shots were 29-17 to Minnesota. At 7:07, Vermont’s Sebastien Stalberg would score his second goal of the game with assists going to Kyle Reynolds and Chris McCarthy. The goal put Minnesota in an unfamiliar position of being down two goals with twelve minutes plus left in the game. At 8:29, Vermont’s Blake Doerring would go to hockey jail for tripping, giving Minnesota their fourth power play of the afternoon. Let’s give dues to Rob Madore for having a better goaltending effort in fifty minutes than he did all of Friday night. Surely a contender for my player of the game bid. At 10:07, Minnesota would claw their way back in when Kyle Rau took a pass from Erik Haula and net a power play goal to make the score 5-4. Nate Schmidt was credited with the second assist. At 11:28, Minnesota’s Seth Ambroz would be called for a two-minute roughing minor. The Vermont power play would be stifled for the first minute plus of time on the advantage and the rest of the time was spent in the Vermont offensive zone, with the Catamounts unable to extend their lead to two. Shots at the 14:10 mark of the third period (54:10 overall) were 34-21 in favor of Minnesota, so you wouldn’t expect Minnesota to be down by a goal. Yet, they were. The freshmen made mistakes by taking stupid penalties in the second period (ie. Blake Thompson’s pair in the bin) and Minnesota couldn’t capitalize in the third when it came to spot on chances that they had. A four on one chance for Vermont in the final three minutes was snatched by Kent Patterson in “look what I found” type form, and yet Vermont was trapping the Gopher defense back in their end. At the end of the game, shots finished 35-25 to Minnesota (14-7 UM in the third). Power plays had Minnesota at 2-4 while Vermont was 2-7.
Minnesota travels to Anchorage to take on the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves in games scheduled for 7:00pm AT (10:00pm CT) starts. No television next weekend, but the games will be on AM 1500 KSTP with Wally Shaver and Frank Mazzocco.
Geoff Discher is knotmove.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 and 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!