It took overtime, and a round of sudden death in a shootout for Boston College to take the momentum from the No. 1-ranked Gophers on Friday night at Mariucci Arena.
The game ended in a 3-3 tie, but a shootout provided the Eagles with a mental edge and left the Gophers feeling defeated.
A chance to practice for Big Ten rules extended this 3-3 nonconference tie beyond overtime. Boston College’s Patrick Brown found the net in a sudden-death fifth-shootout round and Gophers’ Hudson Fasching’s tying attempt was blocked to end the night. The Eagles won the practice shootout 2-1.
Kyle Rau was the only Gopher to score in the shootout.
“A little down,” defenseman Brady Skjei said, describing the feeling in the Gophers locker room despite the tie. “It definitely feels like a loss. But we played a good game, and now it’s winner takes all, on Sunday.”
The feeling of defeat was nearly avoided with 1:51 left in overtime. It appeared Taylor Cammarata ended the game with a shot that ricocheted off Boston College goaltender Thatcher Demko’s stick and over his shoulder. But the puck never crossed the goal line.
Ian McCoshen of Hudson, Wis., and a former Faribault Shattuck-St. Mary’s star, reached behind Demko, intercepted the puck and swatted it out of harm’s way. The shot was reviewed and the dramatic save was confirmed.
“I just dropped my stick, first reaction, then just grabbed it. I didn’t necessarily grab it, I just knocked it out,” McCoshen said. “Since we did beat them in a shootout it was kind of a victory, but it doesn’t count in the standings.”
Gophers forward Sam Warning nearly ended the game in the final minutes of the third period, but his breakaway shot sailed high.
“I think the roof would have caved in on that one” if he scored, Lucia said. “You could just hear the fans were into the game. And the tempo, and the pace, and the quality of play was outstanding. There were some good players on the ice tonight.”
Any concern the Gophers had about another slow start was gone 30 seconds into the game.
Kyle Rau’s early rush on the net produced a follow-up opportunity that Fasching capitalized on. Demko heaved himself toward the loose puck, but it was out of his reach and Fasching gave the Gophers a 1-0 lead.
Four minutes later Rau set up Travis Boyd for a power-play goal and 2-0 Gophers lead.
A Gophers’ penalty, however, led to Boston College’s first goal of the night and a surge of offense.
Johnny Gaudreau continued his hot start with a power-play goal 8:31 into the first period. He picked up a rebound along the goal line and slammed it off the backside of Gophers goaltender Adam Wilcox and into the net for his third goal of the season.
A minute later, Michael Sit, a BC senior from Edina, tied the score at 2-2. His first goal was still registering on most scoreboards when he added another, sliding the puck through Adam Wilcox’s legs.
“Our captain, Pat Brown, called us together after [the Gophers] scored those two quick ones,” Sit said. “We knew that they had a potent offense, but we just had to calm down and play our structure.”
Cammarata tied the score again at 3-3 at 15:33 of the second period.
The two goalies — and McCoshen — kept everything else out through overtime.
Wilcox finished with 31 saves, Demko with 36.