Adam Fantilli was pretty big in the weekend series vs Minnesota. Photo By Craig Cotner
Adam Fantilli was pretty big in the weekend series vs Minnesota. Photo By Craig Cotner

Gophers Tie It Late Again; Michigan Flips Script to Win 5-4 in OT

Minneapolis, MN – At the end of the day, it was a split in this weekend’s series between the Michigan Wolverines and the Minnesota Gophers.

It felt more like a slugfest.

After an emotional overtime win Friday night, the Gophers (15-4-3-3-1 Overall, 11-2-1-2 B1G) found themselves down a goal late in the third once more. Like Friday night, they were able to score late to tie the game and force overtime. Unlike Friday, Michigan (11-7-3-2-1, 4-6-2-2) controlled the overtime period, scoring to win the extra point and earn a split on the weekend.

Michigan came out firing in the first period, scoring just 1:36 into the game and following it up with another goal at 7:45 to go up 2-0. The Gophers responded, with Bryce Brodzinski scoring at 8:55 to pull Minnesota back within one at 2-1.

Minnesota added the next two goals early in the second period, with Aaron Huglen scoring at 1:50 before Mason Nevers added a tip-in goal at 3:21 to put Minnesota in the lead at 3-2. Michigan roared back, with Adam Fantilli scoring his second of the night just 49 seconds after Nevers’ goal at 4:10 to tie the game at 3-3.

The scoring binge calmed down after that, but Michigan’s Jacob Truscott scored at 17:14 of the second period to put the Wolverines up 4-3 late in the second. The Gophers’ Jimmy Snuggerud took a 5-minute contact to the head penalty at 19:55 of the second, meaning that Michigan had nearly 5 full minutes of powerplay time to start the third.

The Gophers killed the penalty (almost scoring on a couple quality shorthanded rushes) and started to ratchet up the pressure to tie the game. Minnesota took nearly the whole period, but they were able to find the tying goal at 17:18 when Logan Cooley found Bryce Brodzinski right out front to knot the score at 4-4.

No other goals were scored in regulation, so the teams headed to overtime. In the extra session, Michigan won the opening faceoff and never lost the puck, with Truscott scoring the game-winner 49 seconds into the three-on-three session to earn the extra point for the Wolverines.

The two teams split three Big Ten points each on the series, giving the Gophers 37 points overall, good for a 10-point lead over second place Penn State and Ohio State, who each have 27 points. The Gophers also maintained their #1 spot in the Pairwise rankings over the weekend, as Quinnipiac lost twice to drop down to fourth place overall. St. Cloud State swept Denver to jump up into second, while Penn State slides into third.

Up next for the Gophers is a home series with fourth place Michigan State. The Spartans have cooled off significantly since a red-hot start, going just 2-7-1 in their last 10 games after an 11-4-1 start. With Notre Dame (20 points) and Michigan (18 points, two games in hand) hot on their tails, the Spartans need to continue accumulating points to give themselves a shot at home ice in the first round of the Big Ten playoffs.