Oct. 2, 2011
The Minnesota men’s hockey team defeated British Columbia 3-0 in a tight exhibition game on Sunday night at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers received goals from Jake Hansen, Erik Haula, and freshman defenseman Blake Thompson while goaltenders Kent Patterson and Mike Shibrowski combined for a 10-save shutout.
Minnesota got off to a fast start as Hansen gave the Gophers a lead they would not relinquish just 1:25 into the contest.
Freshman Ben Marshall sent fellow first-year player Sam Warning into the British Columbia zone with speed with a hard neutral-zone pass. After deking through three UBC defenders and curling toward the boards inside the right faceoff circle, Warning found Hansen unguarded in the slot. Hansen buried a low one-timer past Thunderbird goaltender Steven Stanford to put Minnesota in front.
UM carried the play for the rest of the period, outshooting British Columbia 15-0, but Stanford held down the fort in goal, allowing his team to escape with a one-goal deficit after 20 minutes. A suffocating Gopher defense kept UBC without a shot attempt through the game’s first 16 minutes.
The continued emphasis on defense on both sides of the ice made the middle frame a scoreless one.
After facing just three shots through 30:08, Patterson was replaced by Shibrowski between the pipes. The Colorado College transfer was tested early with a Cole Wilson one-timer from the left faceoff dot, but the sophomore netminder was up to the task on the shot, kicking the puck out with a right pad save.
Prior to Shibrowski’s big save, UM defenseman Mark Alt seemed to have scored the game’s second goal after a scrum in front of Stanford, but the call was reversed after video review showed that the puck had been kicked in.
The Gophers finally struck again in the third period when Hansen fed a pass to Haula just outside of the UBC crease under two minutes into the final stanza. Haula beat Stanford with a shot that went off the crossbar and in to make it 2-0.
Several near misses by Minnesota throughout the rest of the period kept it close, but Thompson iced the game with his last-second empty net goal. Hansen earned his third point of the night with a helper on Thompson’s tally and Warning picked up a second assist on the play.
Minnesota finished the game with a 44-10 advantage in shots.
The Gophers begin their regular season this Friday when they host Atlantic Hockey’s Sacred Heart at Mariucci Arena at 7 p.m.
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Twenty-nine regular-season Gopher games will be televised including all 20 Big Ten contests this season.
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