ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Despite skating to a tie with the Michigan Wolverines after 65 minutes, Jaxon Nelson helped the Minnesota Golden Gophers secure the extra point in the Big Ten standings on Friday, Nov. 8, at Yost Ice Arena.
The goal didn't count for the freshman from Luverne, Minn., but he said it still felt great.
“It's a huge win for us to get an extra point against Michigan,” he said.
The whole first period seemed one sided, with Michigan having a majority of puck possession and multiple scoring opportunities. But the Wolverines (3-4-2, 0-2-1-0 Big 10) were unable to capitalize.
The second frame was also scoreless for most of the period, until Brannon McManus saw an opportunity and took it late, giving the Gophers the first lead of the game 1-0 with under a minute to go in the period.
Halfway through the third period, Michigan's Jacob Hayhurst was able to retaliate with a goal of his own, tying up the game 1-1 at the 8:36 mark of third.
With Michigan fans on their feet and heckling Minnesota players, it seemed the energy had shifted. Minnesota goaltender Jack LaFontaine didn't give up without a fight.
The last two minutes of the third period Michigan saw dominate possession of the puck but LaFontaine, a former Wolverine, kept his composure and helped send the game into overtime.
“He made a couple saves he couldn't see and had given us a chance” Gophers coach Bob Motzko said.
LaFontaine finished the game with a season-high 33 saves, completely shutting down the Michigan offense. Michigan outshot Minnesota 14-8 in the third and 4-2 in the first overtime.
"Obviously points matter and getting the extra point shows the final outcome. But this is a good way to go into tomorrow, " said McManus, who now has 3 goals on the season.
Motzko felt positive about the outcome and feels that the Gophers are settling in, especially with the young roster of players.
“We got some play makers who can lead and are confident in making the plays”, he said.
The Gophers are now 3-4-2 (0-1-2-2 Big 10) and will have take on Michigan for the series finale Saturday. Puck drop is scheduled for 4 p.m. central.
First period — No Scoring. Penalties — Johnny Beecher, MICH (Interference), 10:03, Jack Perbix, MINN (Hooking), 05:33
Second period — 1. MINN, Brann McManus 3 (Mat Studacher, Sampo Ranta) 19:03. Penalties — Brannon McManus, MINN (Tripping) 05:15, Jaxon Nelson, MINN (Hooking) 08:59, Nick Pastujov, MICH (Holding) 14:08, Jack Perbix, MINN (Embellishment) 14:08.
Third period — 1. MICH, Jacob Hayhurst 1 (Luke Martin, Griffin Luce). Penalties — Sammy Walker, MINN (Tripping) 03:50, Ryan Zuhlsdorf, MINN (Cross-Checking) 05:41, Luke Morgan, MICH (Roughing) 09:45, Blake McLaughlin, MINN (Roughing) 09:45, Johnny Beecher, MICH (Holding) 12:56, Matt Staudacher, MINN (Hooking) 17:34.
Overtime — MINN, Jaxon Nelson. Penalties — Jack Summers, MICH (Hooking) 04:09.
Shots on goal — MICH 7-5-18-4— 34; MINN 4-17-4-2— 27. Goalies — Mann Strauss, MICH(27 Shots, 26 Saves); Jack LaFontaine, MINN (34 Shots, 33 Saves). Power Plays — MICH 0-of-6;MINN 0-of-2. Referees — Stephen McInchak, Nick Huff. Linesman — Robert Shintani. Att. — 5373