ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Some nights, the scoreboard doesn’t completely tell the story of how a game unfolded.
Friday was not one of those nights for the Gophers hockey team.
Michigan scored early, late, on the power play, shorthanded, and pretty much any way it wanted en route to an 8-3 win in front of 5,207 raucous fans at Yost Ice Arena.
The loss snapped a modest two-game winning streak for the Gophers (6-8, 2-1 Big Ten), while the Wolverines (9-2-3, 2-0-1-1) extended their unbeaten streak to six in a row.
“I can’t think of a segment of our game that gave us a chance to win,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said. “We didn’t do enough tonight, that’s for sure.”
The game’s first 30 seconds, in which each team’s first shot on goal found the back of the net, set the tenor for the rest of the evening.
Michigan forward Tyler Motte needed just 16 seconds to beat Gopher goaltender Eric Schierhorn with a quick shot from the far faceoff circle. Hudson Fasching tied the game 14 seconds later, however, poking the rebound from a Jack Glover drive past Wolverine netminder Zach Nagelvoort.
Michigan led 2-1 after the first period, but the Gophers dominated the Wolverines for a stretch of a little more than 10 minutes to start the second period culminating in Tyler Sheehy power-play goal on a redirect of a Vinni Lettieri shot to even the score at 2.
The Wolverines then went on a tear, scoring three goals in a span of less than four minutes to take a 5-2 lead.
The first came 34 seconds after Sheehy’s goal, when Cristoval “Boo” Nieves split a pair of defenders and then beat Schierhorn with a nifty deke before lifting the puck over his right shoulder. Fifteen seconds later, Kyle Connor netted the first of his three goals on the night, burying a long rebound off a shot from Motte.
With 5:22 left in the period, Connor’s shallow-angle shot from the far half boards slipped past Schierhorn, whom Lucia then pulled in favor of sophomore Nick Lehr.
“I thought we did a good job of righting the ship. We came out and had a good, strong second period, tied it up 2-2, and then give up two goals in 15 seconds,” Lucia said. “Game, set, match.”
“[Michigan is] a really resilient team,” said Fasching, who scored late in the second period to cut the Wolverines’ advantage to 5-3.
“They score a goal, and then they score another goal. They get scored on, they come back with a big shift.”
The Wolverines followed up their three-goal second period with three more in the third — an even-strength goal from Max Shuart, a shorthanded goal by Motte, and a power-play goal from Connor.
“We need to realize what we did wrong tonight and, at the end of the day, it comes down to our compete level, our effort, our ability to win one-on-one battles,” said Glover, who had two assists for the Gophers. “We didn’t do that tonight.”
The last time the Gopher gave up eight goals was on March 16, 2006 in the WCHA Final Five. St. Cloud State won that night 8-7 in overtime.