Saturday, January 9, 2010

Good Start to Weekend for Gopher Hockey

The Gophers started quickly and finally picked up a Friday home victory in the team's 5-2 non-conference victory over Harvard. The win was the Gophers' first home win on a Friday night since they defeated Alaska-Anchorage on October 30.

The Gophers fired 45 shots on the Harvard net and have now notched 95 shots in their last two games. They applied constant pressure on Crimson goaltender Kyle Richter all night long.

Jake Hansen scored 2:05 into the game, his fifth goal of the season. His emergence has been a positive for a Gopher team searching for scoring talent. Hansen had scored two goals in part-time duty last season as a freshman. After Harvard's Chad Morin tied the score late in the second period, the Gophers found themselves in a familiar spot: dominating play, but not leading after two periods.

In the third, it was all Minnesota. Jacob Cepis scored his second goal in as many games to break the tie. Nico Sacchetti and Zach Budish - two guys desperately in need of goals - scored consecutive goals midway through the third to put the Gophers into an insurmountable position. Morin picked up his second goal from a nearly impossible angle late in the period, but Tony Lucia found the back of an empty net with one tick left to give the Gophers a three-goal margin in their victory.

Alex Kangas made 20 saves in the game to pick up his ninth win of the season. Richter made 40 saves on a busy night for the Crimson.

Lucia and Sacchetti each picked up a goal and an assist on the night, and Jordan Schroeder added two assists in his first game back since winning the gold at the World Junior Championships.

The Gophers go for the sweep against Harvard Saturday night at 7pm. The team is playing better of late, winning five of their last six, but hasn't recorded a home sweep since the Alaska-Anchorage series in late October. A win Saturday sets the table nicely for the North Dakota home series next weekend.

Notes: Defenseman Seth Helgeson returned to the lineup after missing a few games with an injury, and Brian Schack returned to the press box; Schroeder replaced Joe Miller in the lineup at the forward position; Taylor Matson will miss a few weeks with a high ankle sprain. He just cannot seem to catch a break. Last year, his knee injury cost him the season's final four months.

Elsewhere in the WCHA:

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