Instant Analysis: Minnesota 3, Omaha 2

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Quick thoughts from tonight's 3-2 Gopher victory over the Omaha Mavericks.

Gophers Grab a Split

Tonight was the first time in the history of the Gopher-Maverick series that the home team came away victorious. The Gophers responded from last night's disappointing loss with a 3-2 victory. The Gophers record at home is now 5-1-2. The last time the Gophers got swept at home in the regular season was against this same Omaha Mavericks team. The Gophers also ran their record to 3-0 when wearing their gold uniforms tonight.

Got a Quick Start

Minnesota came out with better intensity tonight than they did last night. They used a strong first shift to draw a penalty on Omaha, which the Gophers capitalized on when Mike Reilly found Erik Haula streaking in to the play at the top of the slot. Erik put the puck passed Omaha goalie John Faulkner to give the Gophers a 1-0 just 2:09 into the first period. The Gophers compiled 16 shots on goal in the first period. They had just 21 in the entire game last night. Minnesota would end the night with 33 shots.

Power Play Points Up

The Gophers scored their first two goals on the power play tonight. Erik Haula, who now has a ten-game point streak, scored in the first period and Nick Bjugstad took a pass from Nate Schmidt and rocketed a shot past Omaha goalie john Faulkner in the second. It was the Gophers first game with multiple power-play goals since they score four in Anchorage on November 9th. Minnesota came into the game 14th in the nation on the power play. The Gophers are clicking at over 21%.

Gophers Hold On

Tom Serratore scored his second goal in three games to give the Gophers a 3-0 lead with 17:38 left in the second period. From that point on, the Gophers were able to hold off a spirited attack from the Mavericks. Omaha got their first goal off the stick of Andrej Sustr late in the second period, and the Mavericks made it a one-goal game with 2:02 remaining in the third. Jonnie Searfoss found the back of the net with goaltender Faulkner at the bench for the extra man. The Mavericks pulled goaltender Faulkner again down by one, but the Gophers did a great job under pressure to stave off Omaha and hold on for the one-goal triumph. Serratore's goal would prove to be the game winner.

Good Bye Omaha

Tonight was the last scheduled meeting between the Gophers and Omaha, with both teams leaving the WCHA next season. The rivalry was never given time to develop, but there are good elements for a long-lasting rivalry between the two institutions. Omaha's first two games as a member of the WCHA were at Mariucci Arena, and the Mavericks won both. Add to that the fact that Omaha head coach Dean Blais is a former Gopher player and recruits the state of Minnesota strong. The two teams might meet again at the Red Baron Final Five at the Xcel Center.

Written by University of Minnesota Intern Josh Brennock

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