ANN ARBOR, MICH. – The No. 4 Gophers men’s hockey team couldn’t hang on to a three-goal lead in the second period Friday night, losing 5-4 to Michigan in overtime. Will Lockwood got the deciding goal 3 minutes, 24 seconds into the extra period on a power play.
The Gophers had won four games in a row and six of seven.
“We put ourselves in a good spot,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said. “[Then] we turned the puck over three times in the neutral zone, and three times it went in the net. And then, you know, the penalties at the end. Tough calls. Late in the game and in overtime.”
After a scoreless opening period, the Gophers (7-3, 3-1 Big Ten) took a 3-0 lead in the first eight minutes of the second. Mike Szmatula got the first goal on a power play at 1:53. Tommy Novak and Tyler Sheehy got the next two goals.
Michigan closed within 3-2 before the period ended. Nick Pastujov scored just 1:23 after Sheehy’s goal. And Tony Calderone scored with 1:01 left in the period.
Dexter Dancs tied the score for Michigan (5-3, 1-1) at 3-3 early in the third period, but only briefly. Only 33 seconds after Dancs’ goal, Brent Gates Jr. put the Gophers ahead 4-3 at 3:48.
Again Michigan came back. Jake Slaker tied the score for a second time at 6:45.
It was still tied 4-4 at the end of regulation, and each team had 31 shots on goal.
“For the most part, they brought the best out in our team at times,” Wolverines coach Mel Pearson said. “There was a stretch there in the second period [the Gophers] showed what they can do. They can finish and they can pile up the goals in a hurry.
“But what I liked about this team again was our resiliency and character to stay with it. We got a big goal from Nick Pastujov.”
Eric Schierhorn finished with 28 saves for the Gophers. Jack LaFontaine made 27 stops for the Wolverines.
“We were fortunate to get a bounce at the end of the game,” Pearson said.