Minnesota hockey shows off its No. 1 stuff

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 9, 2013 - 6:54 AM

In a matchup of the two top teams, the Gophers ended Notre Dame's six-game winning streak.

 

The hubbub coming into Tuesday's No. 1 vs. 2 clash at Mariucci Arena had to do with the fact that Don Lucia, the longtime coach of the Gophers, would be coaching against his youngest child, Mario, a freshman at Notre Dame and a Wild prospect.

But midway through the first period, that story line sailed through the window when it became apparent that this indeed was a showdown between the nation's top two teams.

What looked like a potential Gophers romp early became a tight-checking defensive struggle before Minnesota added an empty-netter and prevailed 4-1 to stop the Fighting Irish's six-game winning streak.

"We didn't want to play a racehorse game against them," Don Lucia said. "We wanted to play a patient game. Look at both teams defensively, neither gives up much."

The Irish (14-5), which entered as the second-best defensive team in the country (1.61 goals a game), gave up two goals in the first 7 1/2 minutes and a season-high four to the third-best offensive team in the country (3.65 goals a game).

With Erik Haula sidelined until at least the North Dakota series, speedy Nate Condon, who grew up playing center but has played mostly wing at Minnesota, moved to second-line center between Sam Warning and Zach Budish. Each player scored a goal and had an assist.

"Anytime you have scoring on multiple lines, it's easier on the ice," Condon said. "[Nick Bjugstad's] line struggled a little bit. They didn't get the bounces they needed. Luckily our line had a good night."

Christian Isackson also scored and freshman Adam Wilcox, making his 17th consecutive start, was a rock as usual with 22 saves to improve to 13-2-3. His 1.60 goals-against average ranks sixth in the nation and his .806 winning percentage is second.

Wilcox keeps making the "critical save at an important juncture," Lucia said.

Tuesday, it was a third- period breakaway stop with his left skate to rob Bryan Rust to hold a 3-1 lead.

Speaking of rust, the Irish, who lost for the first time since Nov. 24, hadn't played in 24 days and only once since Dec. 8. Eighty-one seconds in, goalie Steven Summerhays (1.62 goals-against average) didn't pick up Condon's snap shot off Budish's drop pass. It was Condon's sixth goal for a team that's 12-0-3 when scoring first.

Seven minutes later, Warning scored the eventual winner when after an intense, drawn-out battle for a loose puck, Warning outjostled defenders to find it.

"It looked like we had been off for a month," Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson said. "It would have been nice if we could have scheduled an exhibition game or something before playing Minnesota. We just weren't sharp in that first part of the first period."

Jeff Costello trimmed the lead to 2-1, but freshman A.J. Michaelson, scratched the previous three games, muscled an Irish defender off a puck to set up a filthy backhand-top shelf goal by Isackson for a 3-1 lead.

"There was no easy ice in the game," Lucia said.

The game featured the return of Mario Lucia and Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly, who both had to be jetlagged after coming back from Russia on Sunday night after winning a gold medal with the United States in the world junior championships.

Lucia finished minus-3 and had one shot.

"I saw flashes [of him] here and there, but I was more zoned in on making sure I had the right line matchups," Don Lucia said.

The Gophers (14-3-3) finished the nonconference schedule 8-0. The remaining 16 games are all against WCHA foes starting with Alaska Anchorage.

"We've got a couple games in hand, but we're in sixth place in a 12-team league," Budish said. "We've got to start winning games and moving up the ladder."

  • related content

  • Postgame: Gophers top Irish, now look to climb in WCHA

    Wednesday January 9, 2013

    The Gophers may be No. 1 in the nation, but they are sixth in the WCHA. With 16 games left in the conference, it's time to climb from the middle...

  • Augustoviz: Staying on top in WCHA will be a challenge this season

    Tuesday January 8, 2013

    Three different teams have already taken turns in first place in the WCHA over the last month and the conference is so bunched at the top that several more teams...

  • At Mariucci Arena in a men's hockey game between the Gophers and the I...

  • (1) GOPHERS 4, (2) NOTRE DAME 1

    Up next: 8 p.m. Friday vs. Alaska-Anchorage • Mariucci Arena • TV: Big Ten Network (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Miami - WP: S. Dyson 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 5
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Peralta 1
Cincinnati - LP: P. Villarreal 0 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: H. Rondon 1
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Petricka 3 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 4
Cleveland - LP: Z. McAllister 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 3
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: C. Fien 6
Los Angeles - WP: J. Wright 11 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Bergman 3
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
Arizona - WP: W. Miley 6
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker 8
Philadelphia - LP: J. Williams 0 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 1
Philadelphia 30 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How do you feel about the decision to reinstate Adrian Peterson?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close