Gophers Retake Big Ten Lead With OT Win
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) – Hudson Fasching’s one-timer from the point just under a minute into overtime propelled No. 20 Gopher Hockey to a 3-2 overtime victory over No. 6 Michigan and reclaimed first place in the Big Ten for the Maroon & Gold on Friday night at Mariucci Arena.
“We didn’t quit on each other. We came together as a team, and it was awesome to see,” Fasching, who leads Minnesota with 19 goals and 34 points this season, said after the game. “We battled right to the end.”
The Gophers (17-14-0 overall, 12-4-0-0 Big Ten) rallied from an early one-goal in the first period when Vinni Lettieri lit the lamp at 11:00 of the opening stanza. The junior forward scored his fifth goal of the year on a one-timer blast from the point that was set up by Jack Sadek.
Leon Bristed then gave the Maroon & Gold their first lead of the weekend at 7:17 of the second period when his chip-in from the neutral zone snuck between the pipe and Wolverine goalie Steve Racine. Lettieri and Brent Gates Jr. earned assists on the play. Michigan (20-5-5, 10-3-3-2) brought it back to even at 17:19 of the second period with a goal from Tyler Motte. The Wolverines’ first goal came from Cooper Marody.
After the third period came to a close without a decision, Fasching played the hero again for the Gophers, netting his fourth game winner and second overtime winner of the year just 57 seconds into the added session.
The victory for Minnesota reclaims first place in the Big Ten Conference at 36 points (a one-point lead on the Wolverines) with four regular-season games remaining. Moreover, Friday’s game is just the second loss for Michigan since dropping another 3-2 contest to Minnesota on Dec. 12 at Yost Ice Arena.
In net, the Gophers picked up another stellar performance from rookie Eric Schierhorn, who made 23 saves to move to 17-14-0 on the season. Minnesota was also dominant in the faceoff circle, winning 40-of-63 draws including a 10-of-13 performance from Lettieri to add to his two-point night.
Minnesota returns to Big Ten action next weekend with a two-game series at Michigan State.