Gophers hockey wins Big Ten opener 4-1 over Wisconsin

  • Article by: JASON GONZALEZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 30, 2013 - 3:00 AM

Seth Ambroz’s two goals and Adam Wilcox’s 24 saves enabled the Gophers to get a historic victory.

 

The first Big Ten hockey victory belongs to the Gophers.

College hockey’s new era in the major conference began with the No. 1-ranked Gophers’ 4-1 win over rival Wisconsin on Friday evening at Mariucci Arena.

Outside of the extra “B1G” insignias on the ice, the difference was almost unnoticeable. Time constraints nixed a ceremonial drop of the first puck. There were no public announcements of the game’s significance. The rivalry remained the focus of the series.

The Big Ten debut was significant to the Gophers, though.

“We were pumped up about [Big Ten hockey], and to play probably our biggest rival of the year in Wisconsin is even better,” Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly said. “We’re the first game to play in the Big Ten and we got the first ‘W,’ too. It will be something special to remember.”

Brothers Mike Reilly and Connor Reilly scored goals for the Gophers (10-2-1). Seth Ambroz scored twice, getting the go-ahead goal at 13:14 in the first period and adding an empty-net goal in the final minutes.

No. 12 Wisconsin (4-4-1) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on Joseph LaBate’s goal. The Gophers responded three minutes later on Mike Reilly’s power-play goal.

The Gophers defense took over from there. It allowed just four shots on goal in the second period and 25 total. Goaltender Adam Wilcox regrouped from last Sunday’s lopsided 6-2 loss to Minnesota Duluth with 24 saves and maintained a one-goal lead for 36 minutes.

Gophers coach Don Lucia was pleased to see his young team respond so well to that defeat.

“It’s something we talked about, getting the first win ever,” Lucia said. “It’s something we stressed during the course of the week, so I’m really happy for us to come out and get the first win in the first game.”

Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves said it felt like a “typical” rivalry game, nothing more. He was more concerned with how his team would play after two bye weeks in November.

Wisconsin’s effort in the first 20 minutes would tell a lot about how it would respond to the breaks, Eaves said, and the Badgers were able to produce. They scored early but wouldn’t score again.

Wilcox stopped several good chances on Badgers’ power plays in the third period.

Wisconsin started goaltender Landon Peterson, despite Joel Rumpel considered to be back to 100 percent health. Peterson made 41 saves, with the Gophers dominating shots on goal 45-25.

Ambroz was responsible for seven of those shots as the third line of Ambroz, Tom Serratore and Travis Boyd continues to produce since being grouped together. Ambroz felt like his “cheesy” first-period goal helped get the Gophers going.

His go-ahead goal was on a shot from behind the goal which redirected off Peterson’s pads.

Connor Reilly’s goal gave the Gophers a 3-1 cushion midway through the third period. Filling in on the second line for banged-up Taylor Cammarata, Reilly recorded his third goal of the season as the result of an impressive pass fake and angle adjustment on the shot attempt.

“I just want to take full advantage of [the opportunity]. I wasn’t trying to do anything too special,” he said. “I just wanted to do my job and chip in offensively and be strong on the walls in the defensive zone.”

The redshirt freshman might get another chance on Saturday. Cammarata is listed day-to-day.





 

  • related content

  • Video: Gophers win first-ever Big Ten hockey game

    Friday November 29, 2013

    Coach Don Lucia expressed importance of the game all week and Gophers respond with 4-1 victory over Wisconsin.

  • Photo gallery: Gophers hockey 4, Wisconsin 1

    Friday November 29, 2013

    Gophers men's hockey wins Big Ten opener 4-1 over WisconsinThe Badgers scored first but Minnesota rebounded with a strong...

  • Video: Reilly takes advantage of opportunity on second line

    Friday November 29, 2013

    Connor Reilly filled in for injured Taylor Cammarata with a goal in the Gophers' 4-1 win over Wisconsin.

  • Postgame: Big Ten hockey makes quiet debut at Mariucci

    Friday November 29, 2013

    First-ever conference game feels like any other hockey game.

  • Seth Ambroz celebrates his goal during the first period of a two-game...

  • Gopher Kyle Rau unsuccessfully tried to shoot the puck by Wisconsin defenseman Frankie Simonelli and goalie Landon Peterson.

  • Gophers goalie Adam Wilcox blocked a shot by Badgers defenseman Jake McCabe. Wilcox had 24 saves after being pulled in his previous start, a 6-2 loss to Minnesota Duluth last Sunday.

  • gophers 4, wisconsin 1

    Up next: 5 p.m. today vs. Wisconsin • Mariucci Arena • TV: FSN (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago WSox 0 Top 6th Inning
Cleveland 1
Pittsburgh 1 Delayed
Cincinnati 3
Miami 1 Bottom 5th Inning
NY Mets 3
Washington 3 Top 5th Inning
Philadelphia 0
Toronto 0 Bottom 4th Inning
Tampa Bay 1
St. Louis 0 Top 3rd Inning
Milwaukee 2
Boston 2 Top 2nd Inning
Houston 0
Detroit 0 Top 3rd Inning
Kansas City 0
Atlanta 0 Top 2nd Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
LA Angels - T. Skaggs 2:05 PM
Texas - S. Baker
Arizona - V. Nuno 3:05 PM
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner
San Diego - T. Ross 3:10 PM
Los Angeles - H. Ryu
Minnesota - P. Hughes 3:10 PM
Colorado - B. Anderson
Oakland - S. Gray 3:10 PM
Seattle - C. Young
NY Yankees - C. Whitley 7:05 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Portland 9:00 PM
Seattle
Winnipeg 34 FINAL
Montreal 33
Ottawa 11 FINAL
Edmonton 27
Calgary 34 FINAL
Toronto 15
Brt Columbia 26 FINAL
Saskatchewan 13
Los Angeles 80 4th Qtr 4:59
Connecticut 53
Seattle 2:00 PM
Minnesota
San Antonio 5:00 PM
Phoenix
Chicago 5:00 PM
Atlanta
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which upcoming event are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close