Victory over old rival delights Gophers hockey

  • Article by: JASON GONZALEZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 25, 2014 - 7:32 AM

The nations’s top team rose to the challenge against St. Cloud State in the North Star College Cup tournament at Xcel Energy Center.

 

The Gophers needed a test like this.

A top-five opponent, at a neutral site, on a smaller sheet of ice, in a tournament setting.

Each of these factors challenged the No. 1 Gophers but failed to overwhelm them in a 4-1 victory over St. Cloud State on Friday night in front of an announced 14,388 fans at Xcel Energy Center.

The Gophers advanced to the inaugural North Star College Cup championship game against Minnesota Duluth at 7 Saturday night.

“Our game was efficient,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said. “I think we can play better in certain areas than what we played tonight, but any time you beat a quality team like St. Cloud State you have to feel good about that.”

He feels even better about the Gophers’ power play.

Hudson Fasching and Travis Boyd each scored a goal and had an assist to fuel a very efficient power play. Fasching fed Boyd for an early power-play goal and 1-0 lead. Late in the second period, Boyd’s slap shot set up Fasching for a second power-play goal.

The cushion was enough for Gophers goaltender Adam Wilcox, who finished with a career-high 38 saves and an assist. He saved 16 shots in the first period.

The No. 5-ranked Huskies (12-5-4) outshot the Gophers 39-29 but continued to be turned away by Wilcox. Even one of the nation’s top goal-scorers, Jonny Brodzinski, struggled to find the net. It took jamming the puck three times and Wilcox falling for him to record the Huskies’ only goal.

“I thought we played really well tonight. We got crushed on the special teams battle, their goalie was good, and we gave up three goals on 15 shots and that was the game,” St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko said. “[Wilcox] uses his body. He stands up. He doesn’t let any soft ones in.”

Nate Condon scored the go-ahead goal at 14:24 in the second period. A shot fake cleared his path to the goal and his slap shot found the net.

The Gophers (18-2-3) added another goal minutes later, killing any confidence the Huskies built with their game-tying goal just seven minutes earlier. Seth Ambroz added an open-net goal in the closing minutes of the game.

Throughout the week Lucia pointed out the strengths of the well-rounded Huskies. He knew it would be the best opponent his team had faced in a while. He was right based on the first period.

The Gophers were outplayed most of the opening 20 minutes. The power play was their saving grace.

“It’s starting to roll now, which is definitely helping our team,” Boyd said about the power play.

St. Cloud State’s Brodzinski scored the Huskies’ lone goal with his brother on ice, but the Gophers’ Michael Brodzinski won family bragging rights. It was the first meeting of the siblings in opposing college uniforms.

Jonny Brodzinski has scored 12 goals on the season for the Huskies.

  • northstar college cup gophers 4, st. cloud state 1

    Up next: 7 p.m. Saturday vs. UMD Xcel Energy Center • TV: FSN (1500-AM)

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Houston 1 FINAL
Miami 1
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Minnesota 7
St. Louis 3 FINAL
Detroit 4
Baltimore - WP: T. Wilson 10 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Baker 2
Boston 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Toronto 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 8
Atlanta 5 FINAL
Toronto 3
Washington 2 FINAL
NY Mets 10
Chicago Cubs 5 FINAL
Cincinnati 9
San Diego 3 FINAL
Texas 2
San Francisco 9 FINAL
Seattle 8
Colorado 4 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 18
Cleveland 3 FINAL
Milwaukee 2
Oakland 10 FINAL
Chicago WSox 4
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
LA Angels 4
Kansas City 10 FINAL
Arizona 5
Atlanta 63 3rd Qtr 6:35
Charlotte 73
New York 15 1st Qtr 2:00
Chicago 25
Golden State 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
Oklahoma City 8:00 PM
Utah
Denver 9:00 PM
Portland
Nashville 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Arizona 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 2
Anaheim 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Boston 4
Tampa Bay 0 FINAL
Detroit 4
New Jersey 1 2nd Prd 5:16
Carolina 0
Florida 1 2nd Prd 11:30
Montreal 1
Ottawa 2 2nd Prd 8:32
Toronto 0
Los Angeles 0 1st Prd 8:15
Minnesota 1
Columbus 1 1st Prd 7:49
St. Louis 0
Buffalo 8:00 PM
Colorado
Dallas 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Arizona 78 FINAL
Wisconsin 85
Canisius 35 2nd Half
NJIT 31
Notre Dame 7:49 PM
Kentucky
San Jose 1 FINAL
New England 2
Orlando City 2 FINAL
Montreal 2
Los Angeles 0 2nd Half 30:00
D.C. 0
Sporting Kansas City 1 2nd Half 30:00
New York City 0
Red Bull New York 0 2nd Half
Columbus 0
Portland 0 1st Half 28:00
Vancouver FC 1
Colorado 7:30 PM
Houston
Seattle 7:30 PM
FC Dallas
Texas 54 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 105
Dayton 82 FINAL
(8) Louisville 66
(16) Duke 55 FINAL
(4) Maryland 65
Gonzaga 47 2nd Half 11:50
(6) Tennessee 36

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