The goal-scoring floodgates opened in the second period Friday. The Gophers men’s hockey team scored four times, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 5-4 victory in the Border Battle against Wisconsin.
The No. 7 Gophers (10-6-1, 4-4-1) showed their depth with goals from five players and points from 10 in the victory over No. 14 Wisconsin (9-7-2, 3-3-1) Friday night at 3M Arena at Mariucci. The Gophers extended their home winning streak to eight games.
“It was nice to have the five different scorers, but they get rewarded because they went to the net,” coach Don Lucia said. “Because that’s where goals are scored.”
Lucia called it a hard-fought game, not the prettiest at times but still a good bounce-back game after a pair of losses at Notre Dame last weekend.
Their approach was different against Wisconsin. The Gophers were hungry for blue paint.
“I think we just played in the dirty areas,” said senior forward Mike Szmatula, who scored the first goal for the Gophers and his fifth of the season to give him 100 career points.
Freshman forward Scott Reedy, who had his first career multipoint night with a goal and two assists, agreed that the mind-set changed in practice this week. The team worked on drills that stopped in front of the net.
“That’s what we came out and did tonight,” Reedy said.
The only Gophers goal that wasn’t scored from just in front of the goal crease was an absolute blast of a point shot from defenseman Tyler Nanne on the power play for a 4-2 lead. Reedy added what turned out to be the game-winner just 20 seconds later.
Reedy recalled this week’s practice as he saw his scoring play develop. He saw Tommy Novak get the puck and feed Ryan Zuhlsdorf, so Reedy drove to the back post and was ready to bury the picture-perfect pass out front. Reedy came in with just two goals in 13 games this season.
“I have to play my game,” Reedy said. “As long as I’m getting my chances, I know the points will come.”
His goal was the fourth in a flurry of activity in the second period, which started with junior captain Tyler Sheehy tying the score 2-2 at the 5:13 mark. Then sophomore forward Rem Pitlick’s team-high eighth goal of the season put the Gophers in front for good a few minutes later.
The Gophers held off the Badgers when Tarek Baker scored late in the second to make it 5-3 through two periods. Then Trent Frederic scored the second power-play goal of the game for the Badgers with 7:44 left in regulation to get within one.
Novak had a three-assist night to extend his team lead to 15. Sophomore forward Joey Marooney assisted on Sheehy’s goal for his first point with the Gophers.