Gophers thumped out of NCAA regionals by rival Minnesota Duluth, read Friday night's game story.
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- The high-end talent the Gophers relied on throughout the season was nowhere to be found in Friday night's 4-1 loss against Minnesota Duluth in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Leading scorer Mike Reilly and leading goal-scorer Kyle Rau were held scoreless. Standout goaltender Adam Wilcox gave up more than two goals for the first time in three weeks.
Without support from their best scorers and Wilcox unable to make up for the team's offensive shortcomings, the result was just the fourth loss for the Gophers over the last nine weeks. Seth Ambroz had the team's only goal late in the third period to break up the shutout.
Reilly led the team with seven of their 32 shots on goal, but was making uncharacteristic mistakes that included whiffing on one-time attempts and breaking sticks. Rau only had two shots on goal, but one was arguably the Gophers' best scoring chance in the second period.
They trailed the shots on goal battle 28-15 after two periods.
"I feel bad for the kids. They didn't play their A-game, but again you have to give the other team credit on that," Gophers coach Don Lucia said. "The emotions involved, it's a big part of it. You can look in the guys' eyes and see where they are emotionally in the game. ... We didn't have enough offensive zone time and we didn't generate enough from an offensive standpoint. When we had our chances, whether we blew it, misfired, missed one-timers, it just wasn't our night."
The two teams play a similar style of hockey and the Bulldogs got plenty of support from their best players. Top scorer Tony Cameranesi had two points (a goal and assist), while four of their five leading scorers had at least one point.
“They play like us. They’re a fast team, they’re a skilled team, and when two teams collide like that it comes down to who wants it more and we made mistakes early on and they capitalized on them and we couldn’t come back,” Gophers senior defenseman Ben Marshall said. “When you come up against a team like this and you get outmatched, it’s a punch in the face and we didn’t punch back.”
The Bulldogs final blow against the Gophers was a knockout punch. The Gophers’ only win against its rival this year spoiled the Bulldogs’ season-opener, but the Bulldogs latest triumph in the heated rivalry ends the Gophers’ season.
The Bulldogs have now won both NCAA tournament showdowns (2004, 2015) with the Gophers.
More reaction from Minnesota Duluth
Coach Scott Sandelin: "It's really important against any team, but certainly our success against Minnesota in the four wins we've scored the first goal and I think we built off that tonight. I liked our game a lot. ... That's a [Gophers] team that is a quick strike team. I thought the fourth goal was huge for us, because even with three goals I was still not comfortable because their power plays are so good and if you take a penalty or two they get momentum."
• It was a good day for two of the three Minnesota college hockey programs in action for Friday's NCAA tournament regionals. St. Cloud State upset Michigan Tech 3-2 in overtime in the West Region semifinals. Jonny Brodzinski, brother of Gophers' defenseman Michael Brodzinski, scored the game-tying goal with 38 seconds left of the third period. Full recap. Minnesota Duluth was the state's other program to move onto the next round. The tournament's overall No. 1 seed Minnesota State faces RIT on Saturday in the Midwest semifinals at 3 p.m. Game preview.
Friday’s Gophers-Minnesota Duluth box score.
(To view on mobile devices, click on player's/coach's name)
Gophers postgame press conference
Gophers senior forward Travis Boyd