Michigan and Minnesota will have a rematch of last year's final Saturday at 7pm. In Women's Hockey news, Minnesota beat Wisconsin in OT to advance to the NCAA championship for the 5th consecutive year. Hats off to the Gopher Women on a great win against a great team!
(3) Penn State Nittany Lions @ (2) Michigan Wolverines
The first period started off slowly with only 1 shot on goal in the first three minutes. Michigan almost broke the tie 5 minutes in, but McAdam stopped the shot with inside of his stick. Max Shuart opened the scoring at 10:35 on his second rebound opportunity. Michael Downing and Dexter Dancs had the assists. The Wolverines got a late power play after Chase Berger went off for hooking at 16:38. Seventeen seconds later it was 2-0 after a nice down low tic-tac-toe goal. Alex Kile finished the sequence from Tyler Motte and JT Compher. Michigan put Penn State on the power play moments later. Michigan killed the penalty, taking a 2-0 lead into the first intermission
The second period was the Kyle Connor show. Connor completed a natural hat trick in the first 10 or so minutes of the period. Two of the goals were on shots through a Penn State screen and the last was finishing a 2 on 1. Shots remained even up to that point but many of Michigan's were from high percentage areas while most of Penn State's were from out wide. Penn State broke the shutout at 11:45 with a nice back door power play goal from Kevin Kerr.
Boo Nieves opened the scoring in the third after jumping out of the box to make it 4v4. Nieves tipped a cross ice pass from Nicholas Boka around Skoff, putting the Wolverines up 5. Penn State would score once on the remainder of the major power play on a nice goal from Luke Juha. Zach Saar was given a game misconduct for contact to the head at 10:24, dumb frustration penalty away from the play. Kyle Connor, who else?, scored 8 seconds into the major power play giving Michigan a 7-2 lead. Game started to get chippy after that with big hits, post whistle scrums, and a tripped goaltender. Neither team would score again advancing Michigan to the Championship Game.
Michigan was heads and shoulders better than Penn State from the opening puck drop. Penn State out shot Michigan 42-39 but the majority were from out wide and they were lucky to not give up 10 goals. Penn State's season is over but the program continues to improve. Michigan helped improve their standing as a 2 seed for the NCAA tournament. One thing to look out for is a potential 1-game suspension for Michael Downing. He has 2 game misconducts and a 10 minute misconduct this season and while the automatic suspension is not in play, the Big Ten may still keep him out of tomorrow's game.
(4) Ohio State Buckeyes @ (1) Minnesota Golden Gophers
Minnesota came out sluggish Friday night, blowing a 5 minute, major power play. OSU came out strong after the kile and took the lead when Kevin Miller hammered home a rebound. A big hit, separated a Gopher from the puck leading to a shot from Janik Moser the Schierhorn kicked out to Miller. Minnesota outshot Ohio State 14-11 but many were from out wide. Dakota Joshua received a 5 minute major and game misconduct early in the first.
The second period also started out slow. Neither team could get much of anything going, but the Gophers started to show some life midway through the period. The Gopehrs and Buckeyes traded chances for the rest of the period, but Minnesota had more from the middle. Christian Frey stopped a Hudson Fasching bomb from the slot late in the period to maintain a 1-0 lead. It appeared that Minnesota had found its legs and OSU was starting to slow down.
The Gophers tied the game 96 seconds into the third when Tyler Sheehy beat Frey. Justin Kloos picked up the lone assist on the tying goal. Minnesota had two or three great shifts in row start at the 4 min mark, ending with a Vinny Lettieri goal at 5:20 of the third. Leon Bristedt and Brent Gates, Jr. assisted on the goal. Taylor Cammarata gave the Gophers some breathing room with a goal at 11:11, Tyler Sheehy had the assist. Sheehy again found Cammarat at 16:38 to give the Gophers a 4-1 lead and what looked to be an easy finish to the game. Ohio State pulled Christian Frey with around 2:30 left and scored their third extra attacker goal against Minnesota this season, cutting the lead to 2 with 2:16 to play. The Gophers took a penalty with 1:16 left to put OSU on the power play and another with 16 seconds left to go 2 men down. Ohio State pulled Frey to make it a 6 on 4, then 6 on 3 advantage but couldn't get anything past Eric Schierhorn. The Gophers hung on to beat Ohio State for the fifth time this year.
Minnesota started slow and continuously got better as the game wore on. Ohio State had the better start, but the fatigue of overtime last night caught up to the Buckeyes in the third. Minnesota out-shot Ohio State 13-8 in the second and 18-10 in the third. Most of Ohio State's third period shots came after the Gophers went up 4-1. Ohio State's season is over, but they have to feel good about bringing back the majority of the team that was so close all year. Minnesota has a chance to defend their B1G Hockey Tournament title tomorrow night against Michigan. The Gophers must win if they are to make the NCAA Tournament.