Thursday, November 21, 2013

Shibby Saves + Little Brother Comes to Town

Kyndell Harkness

The Gopher hockey team and crowd got to hear the Battle Hymn for the first time this season after a sweep of Minnesota State-Mankato this past weekend, and look ahead to another former WCHA foe, UMD this weekend at Mariucci.

Friday night, the Gophers cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Mavericks.  Adam Wilcox stopped 34 shots, and got contributions from two of the Reilly brothers.  Justin Kloos started off the scoring half way through the first period when Nate Condon slipped an amazing pass through several defenders from the sideboards to the middle of the ice right onto Kloos stick who snapped the wrist shot past Mankato goalie Cole Huggins for the opening tally.  Eight minutes later, Condon again set up the goal with a pass back to Mike Reilly  who let his wrist shot fly past Huggins to make it 2-0 after one period.  Mankato became much more physical in the second period, and in doing so got called for a couple of penalties.  The Gophers made them pay when Connor Reilly ripped a one-timer off of a pass from Sam Warning to put the Gophers up 3-0.  The Reilly's became the first set of brothers to score in the same game for the Gophers since the Potulny's, current assistant coach Grant, and his brother Ryan did in in March of 2004.  In the third period, Mankato would not go away.  Adam Wilcox made several insane saves, and allowed only one goal to his former high school teammate Zach Palmquist.  Seth Ambroz would tack on an empty net goal with less than 30 seconds remaining, and Minnesota completed the 4-1 win.

Saturday night, Coach Don Lucia surprised the Gopher fan base in giving Senior goalie Mike Shibrowski a start.  Shibrowski's last start had been at Michigan Tech in October of 2012, 393 days prior. He did not disappoint stopping all 25 shots he faced getting his first career shutout in a 3-0 Gopher win.  Great play from the Gopher freshmen class continued Saturday as Grant Bischoff scored the first goal for Minnesota.  Bischoff crashed the net and fellow frosh Hudson Fasching found his with a great pass to make it 1-0.  Mankato thought they had struck back two minutes later when Bryce Gervais put the puck past Shibrowski, however upon replay it was obvious that he had used his hand to put the puck in the net, and the goal was disallowed.  The second period was an up and down affair, however both Shibrowski and Huggins stood tall and kept the puck out of the nets.  In the third period the Gophers broke through.  Justin Holl made a nice play behind the net to create a turnover and put the puck to the front of the goal. Tom Seratorre was standing right in front as the puck slid onto his stick and he popped it over Huggins' shoulder for his first goal in 17 games.  Two minutes later the Gopher's #1 line made it 3-0 when Warning from behind the net found a streaking Fasching in front who hammered home his team leading sixth goal of the season to complete the sweep.  As the Battle Hymn was being played by the band, the team mobbed Shibrowski and proved that the Gophers do have two viable goalies for the rest of the season.

For Shibrowski's game, he was named the #2 Star of the Week by the Big Ten.  A Gopher has been one of the three stars every week so far this season.  Sam Warning had three assists on the weekend and currently has 17 points to lead the Gophers.  he has tallied at least one point in every game so far this season.  He is currently leading the Big Ten and is 7th in the nation in scoring, however he has played two less games than the national leaders above him.  Fasching's 13 points on the season lead all freshmen in the Big Ten. 

Little Brother's Back in Town

This weekend former WCHA foe Minnesota-Duluth comes to tow for a two game series against the Gophers.  The #19 ranked Bulldogs are now in the NCHC where they have a 2-2 record, and an overall 5-4 record.  The Gophers and Bulldogs have played over 200 times as Minnesota has an all-time record of 132-74-16 against UMD. Minnesota is 5-2-3 in their last ten meetings, with their last loss to UMD at Mariucci coming in 2009.    Nate Condon leads all Gophers in scoring against the Bulldogs with 9 points in 8 career games. 

Last weekend UMD split a series in Grand Forks against North Dakota.  The Bulldogs are led in scoring by freshman forward Alex Iafallo.  His ten points on the season are nearly double anyone else on the squad.  In goal, UMD has used senior Aaron Crandall in seven games and sophomore Matt McNeely in three games.  McNeely has the better stats of the two with a 1.64 goals against average and a 92.3 % save percentage. UMD as a team likes to play a low scoring game, averaging only 2.8 goals per game this season.  Other Bulldogs to watch for this weekend include highly touted freshman Dom Toninato, senior forward Joe Basaraba, and sophomore forward Tony Cameranesi, brother of Gopher Women's freshman and 2013 Ms. Hockey Dani Cameransei.  

The Friday night game will face-off at 7:10 and will be broadcast on FSN+ , and on 1500 AM on radio.  The Sunday game (which was postponed due to the MN/WI football game on Saturday) will face-off at 4:00 PM and will be broadcast on FSN and 1500 AM.  Both games will be available to stream on    Coming off of last week's sweep, the Gophers will continue to play well in the non-conference portion of the season before finally beginning Big Ten play next weekend.  Gophers win 5-2 Friday and 4-3 Sunday.

What they are Saying on the Tweeters:

Didn't know Maroon and Gold were gang colors....

 Worst Bulldog Impression Ever.....

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Dream bigger son....dream bigger

 I miss....umm

 tGopher Arrogance!

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