Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Marlin Levison
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  The Gopher Hockey team is coming off of a home split against UMD at Mariucci, and is gearing up for the post-turkey holiday fest everyone has been anxiously waiting for....BIG TEN HOCKEY!!!  That's right, the Big Ten Hockey Conference will officially begin on Friday at 4:03 when Minnesota and Wisconsin face-off for the 267th time.

The Gophers got off to a slow start against UMD last Friday night as Charlie Sampair put the Bulldogs up 1-0 early in the first period.  However, the Gophers struck back quickly and fiercely as A.J. Michaelson took a eautiful pass from Taylor Cammarata and put it in the net to tie the game at one.  Two minutes later, after the Gophers controled the puck for almost a full minute in the UMD zone, Tom Serratore whipped a beautiful wrist shot past UMD goalie Aaron Crandall to give the Gophers a 2-1 lead.  Thirty-six seconds later, Cammarata hia a streaking Justin Kloos heading to the net who went top shelf over Crandall and put the Gophers up 3-1 after one period.

The second period was more Gophers as Sam Warning tried to slam a wraparound home and was stopped, but Kyle Rau was right in front to put the rebound home and put Minnesota up 4-1.  Travis Boyd ended Crandall's night early after he took a beautiful wrist shot and put the puck in the upper corner to make it 5-1.  UMD's other goalie Matt McNeely did not have any more luck as Micheal Brodzinski put home a power play goal to make it 6-1 a few minutes later.  Adam Wilcox made 36 saves as the Gophers got outshot 15-5 in eh third period, but no additional goals were cored and the game ended in a 6-1 final. 

Sunday afternoon's game did not go so well for Minnesota.  After not scoring on a 5 on 3 power play midway through the first period, UMD forward Dom Toninato beat Wilcox shorthanded to give UMD a 1-0 lead.  Unlike Friday night, the Gophers would not respond, and UMD who was 4-1 on the second game of the series this season kept the pressure on adding two more goals to make it 3-0 after one period.  The Gophers struck back in the second period as Mike Reilly scored on the power play to cut the lead to 3-1.  However, any momentum gained would not last as UMD scored their second and third powerplay goals on the afternoon to make the score 5-1 after 2 periods and send Adam Wilcox to the showers early.  Mike Shibrowski did not do any better as UMD scored thier fourth power play goal of the game to make it 6-1 before the Gophers added a late power play goal from Brodzinski to make the final 6-2.

The special teams were not kind to the Gophers this weekend as UMD went 4-7 in Sunday afternoon's finale on the powerplay, and the Gophers were 3 for 15 on the weekend.  The Gophers also gave up their first shorthanded goal of the season.  None less, one positive out of the weekend was the play of Brodzinski.  The freshman defenseman was named the Big Ten Third Star of the Week, continuing a streak of having a Gopher player named every week so far this season.  Also still going is Sam Warning's incredible point streak.  He has scored a point in every single game so far this season, and added an assit in each of this weekend's games.  The Gopers even clung to thier #1 national ranking after the past weekend.  St Cloud State picked up one more first place vote than the Gophers in the USCHO poll, however, Minnesota still had one more point in the total rankings to remain on top for at least another week.


After the football team unfortunately could not win back Paul Bunyon's Axe last weekend, it is time for the hockey team to defend Minnesota's honor this weekend as the hated Wisconsin Badgers come into town for the first two Big Ten  Conference games for either team.  In fact, by way of the early 4:00 faceoff on Friday afternoon, the Gophers and Badgers will beat Michigan and Michigan State by about two hours in being the first official Big Ten Conference game ever. The Gophers took three points from the Badgers last November at Mariucci, tying 2-2 Friday and winning 3-1 on Saturday.  In Madison last season, the Gophers beat the Badgers 3-2 on Friday, and then lost 3-2 in the Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field on Sunday.  The Gophers have a 24-15-7 record against the Badgers in the Mike Eaves era, but just 15-13-6 since 2005.  Wisconsin is also 3-2 against the Gophers when they are ranked #1 in the nation under Mike Eaves.

The Badgers come into town ranked #12 in the nation after beginning the season ranked #2.  Wisconsin had it season go off on a bad foot on a road trip to the Boston area where they were destroyed by BC 9-2 on Friday and BU 7-3 on Saturday.  Wisconsin was without goalie Joel Rumpel on that trip, and it showed.  Rumpel who had an ankle injury is back in action, but is splitting time with the other junior goalie, Landon Peterson.  Peterson was announced as starting Friday night's game against the Gophers, and it would be expected Rumpel will see the ice on Saturday. 

Last weekend, Wisconsin split a non-conference series against Miami, OH.  The Redhawks won 2-0 Friday night, and Wisconsin won 3-2 on Saturday.  The Badgers got late goals by Senior forward Micheal Mersch and  junior forward Joe LaBate.  Mersch leads the Badgers in scoring with nine points on the season  and five goals.  Nic Kerdiles, the sophomore forward who was suspended for the first portion of last season leads a group of four players with eight points that includes Tyler Barnes, Jake McCabe, and Mark Zengerle.   All five players are a threat to score, and form the core of the Badgers team.  The Badgers also have gotten some production from freshman Grant Besse, the 2013 Minnesota Mr. Hockey from Benilde St. Margaret's.

In what should be a hard-fought battle against two rivals, I see the Gophers splitting this weekend.  I see Minnesota winning the first even Big Ten Conference game on Friday 3-1, and then losing 3-2 on Saturday.   The Friday game will face-off at 4:00 and will be broadcast on ESPNU.  Saturday will face-off at 5:00 and will be broadcast on FSN North, and streamed on BTN2Go.  Both games will be on AM1500 on radio.

What they are saying on the Twitters

 #Disappointment....good way to describe Badger Hockey

I think you meant #Badgerssuck....but its ok

Cough..."Badger" Bob was a Gopher...Cough

Yes..lets hope we see more of you.....


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