Gophers Earn Share of MacNaughton Cup with 5-1 Win
March 10, 2013
BEMIDJI, Minn. – In a fitting end to the tightest race in Western Collegiate Hockey Association history and Minnesota’s last season in the league, the No. 2 Gophers hockey program earned a share of the MacNaughton Cup on Saturday, topping Bemidji State 5-1 in the regular-season finale.
Five Gophers recorded multi-point games as Minnesota (24-7-5 overall, 16-7-5 WCHA) earned its fourth regular-season championship in eight years and a share of its second-straight MacNaughton Cup. Minnesota and St. Cloud State end the 2012-13 regular-season tied for first in the WCHA although the Huskies win the seeding tie breaker with more league wins this season.
Junior Erik Haula paced Minnesota on Saturday with a goal and two assists as the Gophers picked a weekend sweep over the Beavers. The forward opened the night with his 16th goal of the year, putting Minnesota up 1-0 just 4:04 into the game after being set up by Ben Marshall and Kyle Rau. Nick Bjugstad scored his team-best 20th goal of the season at 14:42 of the first to send Minnesota into the first intermission with a two goal lead. Isackson and Rau added assists on the goal.
Bemidji State (6-20-8, 5-16-7) cut the lead to one with Matt Prapavessis’ goal at 1:55 of the second period, but the Gophers answered back with three-straight goals to pick up the win.
Zach Budish slipped a loose puck into the net at 14:26 to reclaim a two-goal lead at 14:26 of the second with assists from Haula and Jake Parenteau before Parenteau tallied his second goal of the year at 14:03 after being set up by Haula and Sam Warning. Christian Isackson tacked on his fourth of the year with one second left in regulation to give the Gophers a 5-1 win. Bjugstad and Mark Alt earned assists on the final goal of Minnesota’s regular season.
Adam Wilcox improved to 23-6-5 in a 23-save performance on Saturday to move within two wins of Kellen Briggs’ freshman school wins record. Mathieu Dugas made 35 saves to fall to 1-8-2 on the season. Minnesota’s top-ranked power play did not have an opportunity to see the ice on Saturday while the penalty kill went 1-for-1. The Gophers outshot Bemidji State 40-24.
Minnesota will host Bemidji State next weekend in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. The best-of-three series begins next Friday at Mariucci Arena. Tickets for the series will go on sale on Monday at noon. Learn more at MyGophersports.com.
-Pride on Ice-