Feb. 24, 2012
Jake Parenteau’s first career goal 1:46 into overtime lifted the No. 6/5 Minnesota men’s hockey team past Nebraska Omaha at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb. on Friday night. The Gophers inched closer to their first WCHA regular-season championship since 2006-07, remaining two points ahead of second-place Minnesota-Duluth, which also won in overtime.
For the fifth game in a row, Minnesota got on the scoreboard first.
After defenseman Nate Schmidt intercepted a Matt White centering pass in his own zone, he backhanded the puck into the neutral zone to send freshman winger Sam Warning on a breakaway. Warning wristed a shot from the slot under the crossbar to give his team the lead. The tally was Warning’s fifth of the season and was his second in WCHA play.
The Gophers kept the pressure on for the remainder of the frame and almost doubled their lead late in the period, but a Kyle Rau effort in tight hit the post and Minnesota went into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.
As a Jake Hansen penalty expired at 7:51 of the second period, Nebraska Omaha knotted the score when Brock Montpetit one-timed a backhand feed from Terry Broadhurst over the shoulder of Gopher goaltender Kent Patterson.
Just 3:15 later, UNO capitalized on a shorthanded break to take its only lead of the night.
Defenseman Andrej Sustr one-timed an errant Gopher pass in the neutral zone off the boards to Jayson Megna, sending the freshman center in on a two-on-one with Josh Archibald. Megna froze Patterson by opting to shoot and snuck the puck over the senior netminder’s glove.
Nick Bjugstad re-tied the score early in the third on an impressive individual effort. Bjugstad walked out of the right corner in the offensive zone and eluded three UNO defenders before backhanding a shot under Maverick goalie Ryan Massa, who was screened in front by Gopher forward Zach Budish.
The teams traded chances throughout a back-and-forth third period, but Patterson and Massa kept the score at 2-2 through the end of regulation.
Parenteau ended the game less than two minutes into the extra session by taking a Nate Condon pass and shooting a seeing-eye wrist shot inside the left post. It was the sophomore defenseman’s first career goal in his 38th collegiate game.
With the win, Minnesota moved to 2-2-1 in overtime games on the season and won for just the second time in 10 games when trailing after two periods. The Gophers, who have split four all-time meetings with Nebraska Omaha—the road team has won each contest—now have a win streak of three games or more for the fourth time in 2011-12.
Minnesota will look for its eighth sweep of the season tomorrow when it completes its regular season road schedule against the Mavericks at 7 p.m.
Lettieri Named B1G Second Star
Lettieri has played in all 20 games this season for the Gophers while ranking tied for second on the team with 11 goals and third on the team with 20 points.
Novak to Miss Rest of Season
Novak has played in all 57 games and has 41 points (11 goals, 30 assists) since joining the Gophers last year.
Lettieri's Hat Trick Leads `U' to Sweep
The Gophers have now won six-straight games (tying the school record in the Big Ten era) and eight of the last nine contests.