Thoughts about the Gophers NCAA West Regional 3-2 loss against Yale.
Minnesota fell to Yale in the first game of the NCAA West Regional, 3-2 in overtime. Jesse Root scored the game-winning goal for the Bulldogs less than 10 seconds into the extra frame. The Gophers received goals by Nate Schmidt and Zach Budish to erase a two-goal deficit in the third in order and send the game to overtime. Minnesota's season ended after suffering back-to-back loses for the first time all season.
The game followed a similar path to the game against Colorado College at the WCHA Final Five. After a scoreless first period, Minnesota's opponent scored twice in the second period to take a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes. Yale got on the board first courtesy of Kenny Agostino. The Bulldogs' second goal was scored by defenseman Gus Young on the power play. Minnesota lacked jump in the first two periods and failed to get quality opportunities around Yale goaltender Jeff Malcolm.
Minnesota came back with much better effort in the third period and would tie the score to send the game to overtime. The Gophers' top-ranked power play finally converted on its fifth the chance of the game. Nate Schmidt's point shot found its way past Jeff Malcolm with a nice screen in front set by Erik Haula and Nick Bjugstad. Zach Budish tied the score with a great redirect in front of the net. He received a fancy centering pass from Erik Haula, who was stationed in the corner. Budish's goal came 13:40 into the third period and was the last goal of regulation.
Season as a Whole
Minnesota's season concludes with today's loss. The Gophers stayed at or near the top of the national polls during the entire season, never dropping lower than fourth in the USCHO.com Poll. The highlight of the Gophers season was capturing a share of the MacNaughton Cup as WCHA regular-season champion. Overall, Minnesota won 26 games this season and did not lose a regular-season series all year. Erik Haula led a very talented group in scoring with 51 points. Freshman Adam Wilcox was a revelation in net, taking over the reigns in the first month of the season and running with it. Next year's version of Pride on Ice will undoubtedly have a different makeup, but the 2012-13 Gophers were one of the most talented in history and accomplished a lot.
Story by Minnesota Student Intern Josh Brennock