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Feb. 14, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS - On a night that started with the Golden Gophers honoring the legendary John Mayasich, No. 2 Minnesota turned on the offense in honor of the program's all-time leading scorer in a 5-3 win over No. 10/11 Michigan at Mariucci Arena.
After being held to just three goals over the last three games, 12 Gophers tallied points in Friday's win including five different goal scorers. The freshmen class contributed four of the goals, moving their season total to 41 - the most among all freshmen classes in the NCAA this season.
Minnesota (20-4-5 overall, 9-2-2-0 Big Ten) dominated the first half of the game before holding off a spirited comeback from the Wolverines. After Seth Ambroz tallied the eventual game winner with his team-high 13th goal of the season, Gabe Guertler scored his first collegiate goal 15:21 into the third period to seal the Gophers' 20th win of the season. The victory extends the Gophers' lead at the top of the Big Ten standings to seven points.
Justin Kloos opened the scoring 5:29 into the first period off the rush for the freshman's tenth tally of the season -- assisted by Nate Condon and Jake Parenteau. Kloos' goal was the brightest spot in a period the Gophers controlled from start to finish as Minnesota outshot Michigan 16-5 in the opening frame.
At the beginning of the second period, the ball continued to roll in the right direction as Hudson Fasching broke in all alone on Michigan goaltender Steve Racine to score his tenth goal of the season. Sam Warning and Kyle Rau assisted on the goal. For Warning, it would be his first of two assists en route to being named the game's First Star and snapping a five-game point drought.
Michigan (14-8-3, 6-4-1-1) began to get a foothold in the game when Andrew Copp scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season on the power play. However, the Gophers responded just six seconds later when Taylor Cammarata picked up a loose puck off the face-off and broke in all alone for an unassisted goal at 9:51.
Minnesota would extend their lead to 4-1 when Ambroz scored a power-play goal at 17:29 for the eventual game winner. Minnesota was unable to convert on their first four power plays of the night, but Ambroz scored right away at the start of the fifth opportunity after being set up by Warning and Ben Marshall. The Gophers finished the night 1-for-7 on the power play.
The Wolverines began their comeback when JT Compher scored a power-play goal with just 1:25 left in the second period followed by Zach Hyman's third period goal just 2:47 into the third period.
But the visitors would get no closer.
The Gophers padded their lead with Guertler's first tally as a Gopher at 15:21 of the third period after the rookie was set up by Connor Reilly and Vinni Lettieri for the insurance goal, and Minnesota would hang on to right itself after a two-game skid in Wisconsin last weekend.
Goaltender Adam Wilcox made 35 saves on the night, including many top-notch opportunities for Michigan. The sophomore moved to 19-4-5 on the season while Michigan's Steve Racine fell to 4-2-1 on the year with a 32-save night for the Wolverines.
The two Big Ten rivals meet again on Saturday night at 7:10 p.m. CT (FOX Sports North, BTN2Go.com, Gopher Radio Network, 1500 ESPN).
-Pride on Ice-
OT Winner Keeps `U' Streaking
The Maroon & Gold have now won seven-straight games and nine of the last 10 contests.
Around the Rink: Connor Reilly
A native of Chanhassen, Minn., Reilly has collected 53 points (23 goals, 30 assists) in 114 career games with the Gophers.
Border Battle on Deck
Friday’s series opener is set for 7 p.m. CT with Saturday’s finale scheduled for 5 p.m.