The Shot Heard Around the Big Ten
MINNEAPOLIS (gophersports.com) – Casey Mittelstadt tapped in the game-winning goal in overtime to help the Gophers knock off No. 1 Notre Dame in the Big Ten series opener Friday night.
The two teams seemed destined for a shootout when Rem Pitlick got a puck to slide past Fighting Irish goaltender Cale Morris that Mittelstadt banged home for Minnesota (16-12-1, 7-9-1-1 Big Ten). Tyler Nanne earned the second assist on the play.
The Maroon & Gold are now 3-0-0 in their last three games at home against the No. 1 team in the country. A 2-0 victory over St. Cloud State on Jan. 7 of this year, and an 8-1 win over Boston College back on Dec. 30, 2012 preceded Friday night’s game in the streak.
After the two teams went quietly in the first, the Gophers held the advantage in puck possession and a 9-4 shots on goal lead after one. While the two teams traded just one power-play each in the second period, the opportunities accounted for multiple scoring chances for each team (three shots on goal for Notre Dame, two for Minnesota). The Gophers’ Mat Robson and Morris continued to hold the door shut despite the teams totaling 22 shots in the period, including 13 by the Maroon & Gold.
Notre Dame (19-5-1, 13-2-0 Big Ten) continued to play strong defense ahead of Morris in the third but Minnesota held a 31-22 lead after regulation. Brannon McManus had the two best looks for the Gophers in the first 60 minutes, ringing a puck off the post in the closing seconds of the third before the teams headed to overtime after being stuffed on a breakaway by Morris earlier in the period.
Robson stopped all 25 pucks he faced in a shutout win to improve to 4-1-0 on the year. The sophomore netminder now has two shutout victories over top-ranked teams and has allowed two goals or less in five of his six starts (one goal or less in four out of six). Morris finished with 32 saves for the Irish.
The two teams match up again in conference play Saturday night in Minneapolis. Opening puck drop is set for just after 7 p.m. at 3M Arena at Mariucci.
Coverage begins at 6;30 on News-Talk 1340 KROC AM.
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