Series Recap: Gophers Hockey Get 2 Points in Conference Opening Series Despite Not Winning a Game?
The Golden Gophers men's hockey team managed to earn themselves two whole points in the conference standings despite the fact they did not even win a game this weekend against the fifth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the conference opening series.
How does that even happen, you ask? Well the points system is a little odd in the Big Ten hockey conference. Both teams receive a point at the end of regulations if the score is still tied. And then whoever scores in overtime receives an extra point, but the game is still registered as a tie with the NCAA.
That is exactly what Minnesota did on Friday night after the game was still tied 2-2 at the end of regulation, and the one and only Sammy Walker scored in the second, 3-on-3, sudden death overtime period to give the Gophers the special, extra point. It was impressive that the Gophers managed to persevere in the third period, being down 1-0 then scoring to tie it at 1-1, and then giving up another goal to trail again by one, but then scoring again to the tie the game once more.
I hate the feeling of a tie, but at least Minnesota still got the extra point. Great Job, I guess! Right? I mean after getting swept last weekend to University of Minnesota-Duluth to comeback and get two points against the No. 5 ranked team in the country, that ain't bad. Would have liked that "W" though.
I had a little more confidence in Minnesota finishing out the series strong the next night, but I could not have been more wrong. After going up 2-0 early in the first period, everything seemed great! But then, out of nowhere (sarcasm intended), Minnesota completely collapsed allowing two unanswered goals from the Irish to even the score at 2-2. Then there was a little splurge of hope when Garrett Wait put the Gophers up 3-2, but again, another collapse. The Irish went on to score three unanswered goals, including an empty netter, to defeat Minnesota 5-3.
So Minnesota goes from having an intense, competitive game the night before on Friday to laying a giant goose egg on Saturday. I guess one thing I am happy about this series is that Motzsko maybe found his #1 goaltender. No splitting time this week between two netminders. Freshman Jared Moe got the start both nights, not looking terrible especially on Friday only allowing two goals, but he did let in four crucial goals on Saturday night.
Minnesota now has that awkward record where they have that stupid third digit indicating a "tie" even though they technically won in overtime and got a so-called "bonus" point. It feels like a participation award. "Thanks for playing and scoring the extra goal, but it is still a tie. Here's one point for your trouble."
The Gophers are now 3-4-1 overall and 0-1-1 in conference play to start the year. It just looks awkward!
The Gophers need to shape up! They travel to Ann Arbor next weekend to take on the Michigan Wolverines in a two-game series. The Wolverines were swept this past weekend so they still don't have a point in the standings. The Gophers need to suck it up, grow a pair and win a damn game. It's been over two weeks now!
Go Gophers! Pride on Ice!