Gopher Hockey finally got to our televisions Friday night as they took on the Bemidji State Beavers for their home opener. Having not seen the Gophers play yet this season, because neither the exhibition game nor the two games from the Ice Breaker tourney were televised, we may have not known what to expect even if the Gophers were the top-ranked team in the nation. Rankings mean very little on the ice.
Throw in that they were playing an in-state rival in Bemidji State and you never know what can happen. Beavers’ Head Coach Tom Serratore always has his team ready to play and they’d love to topple the Gophers from that number one spot.
Here’s Friday night’s line charts:
Line Chart – Minnesota Golden Gophers
Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
Leon Bristedt-18 – Kyle Rau-7 – Hudson Fasching-24
F-Sam Warning-11 – Justin Kloos-25 – Taylor Cammarata-13
Connor Reilly-21 – Travis Boyd-22 – Seth Ambroz-17
A.J. Michaelson-15 – Christian Isackson-26 – Vinni Lettieri-19
Left Defenseman – Right Defenseman
Jake Bischoff-28 – Mike Reilly-5
Ben Marshall-10 – Michael Brodzinski-20
Brady Skjei-2 – Ryan Collins-6
Scratches: G-Nick Lehr-34 (back-up), G-Ryan Coyne-31, D-Jack Glover-3, D-Steve Johnson-4, D-Nick Seeler-12 (Transfer), F-Ryan Reilly-9, F-Mitch Rogge-27, F-Robin Hoglund-29
Line Chart – Bemidji State Beavers
Left Wing – Center – Right Wing
Markus Gerbrandt-23 – Nate Arentz-11 – Brendan Harms-18
Phillip Marinaccio-9 – Corey Ward-13 – John Parker-8
Kyle Bauman-14 – Gerry Fitzgerald-21 – Myles Fitzgerald-26
Charlie O’Connor-22 – Mitch Cain-27 – Phil Brewer-19
Left Defenseman – Right Defenseman
Brett Beauvais-28 – Sam Windle-4
Sam Rendle-20 – Matt Prapavessis-7
Ruslan Pedan-25 – Graeme McCormack-12
Scratches/Injured: G-Andrew Walsh-30, G-Reid Mimmack-33, G-Jesse Wilkins-35, D-James Hansen-3, D-Carter Struthers-6, F-Jay Dickman-6, F-Jordan Heller-15, F-Bob Kinne-16, F-Leo Fitzgerald-17
Of course, being the home opener at Mariucci Arena and having 16 players from last season’s team coming back, including Kyle Rau, Adam Wilcox and Hudson Fasching, you knew the Gophers would come out flying on Friday night. They did not disappoint!
Friday Night Rodents On Ice!!!
The Beavers had a tough spot playing the Gophers in their home opener and seeing a banner unveiled (1st ever B1G TEN CHAMPS) but they did a good job making sure to keep it a game for a while.
At 8:41 of the 1st period, Justin Kloos drove up the left side of the ice with speed. Taylor Cammarata trailed him a little bit going up the left center lane with Sam Warning trailing the play. Two Beavers went to Kloos so he curled towards the boards just before the half wall and hit a trailing Sam Warning coming up center ice.
Speed kills when you’ve got Justin Kloos, Taylor Cammarata and Sam Warning on the same line.
Warning received the puck and one-timed a pass to Taylor Cammarata, who turned towards the net just after the face-off dot of the left circle and he was able to stick handle around Beavers goalie Michael Bitzer and put an easy backhand into the open net. That play was all about speed.
- Kloos used his speed to quickly gain the zone than curled back to make a pass to Warning.
- Warning made a quick pass to Cammarata
- Cammarata used his speed to keep the defense honest by driving towards the net.
THAT is a BEAUTIFUL GOAL!!! 1-0 GOPHERS!
The 1st period would end with only the one goal scored. Early in the 2nd period, Kyle Rau would make a nifty little toe drag move while Leon Bristedt drove the net allowing Rau to go to his backhand for his 2nd goal of the season. Bristedt would pick up his 1st career Gopher assist and point on the play. You could argue that he should get two assists on the play because without him driving the net, that goal might not happen.
Kyle Rau toe drags to get to the front of the net.
Breaking out of their own zone, a Gopher player tried to put a pass through a player, it hits a stick and because they were breaking out, Beavers forward Mitch Cain is behind the defense, receives a pass in the slot and fires one upper right over Adam Wilcox to cut the lead in half.
BEAVERS SCORE! 2-1 Gophers!
The Beavers had the momentum and Mike Reilly received an interference penalty to put them on the power play. The Beavers had a chance to tie the game but 15 seconds into the penalty kill, Brady Skjei ended up with a 2-on-1 with Travis Boyd on his left. Skjei opted to shoot the puck with Boyd going hard to the net.
Travis Boyd drives the net on a shorthanded 2-on-1.
As you can see, Boyd had a step on getting to the loose puck first and he ended up burying it, scoring a short-handed goal. Drive the net, boys. It will change the game. Boyd doesn’t score there if he doesn’t drive to the net.
The Gophers killed off the rest of the penalty and got back to work, getting a power play off a Mitch Cain boarding penalty. Kyle Rau received a pass from Taylor Cammarata in the right corner just below the circle but in front of the goal line to the right of the net, facing the corner and he made a no-look pass on his backhand that found Travis Boyd backdoor.
Kyle Rau makes a no-look pass behind his back to Travis Boyd for a power play goal.
Boyd had to reach for it but still got enough on the shot to hit the upper right corner and make it…
We can’t forget about Adam Wilcox now, can we? He has a way of making us not forget about him. Adam made a ridiculous stick save having to twist back to his right and reach to make a save with the paddle of his goalie stick.
Adam Wilcox reaches back to his right to make a save with the paddle of his stick.
STICK to what you know!
The Gophers would get another power play goal in the 3rd from Hudson Fasching after Mike Reilly faked a shot and faked a pass then let off a quick, low shot to the front of the net. Hudson Fasching was set up in front of the net with his stick ready to tip a shot from the point but Reilly faking a slapper AND faking the pass then quickly firing it to the front of the net probably fooled the tendy and the penalty killers.
Look how Mike Reilly is looking to make the pass to the left dot. He ends up not passing the puck and #24, Hudson Fasching is set up for the tip. Reilly fakes the pass then shoots it quick and low making it easy for Fasching to get his stick on the puck.
GOAL! 5-1 GOPHERS!
Cory Ward would score on the power play with 5:40 left in the 3rd to make the score 5-2 but the Gophers took over the game in the 2nd period and never looked back.
We’ll see how different tomorrow night’s game is.
THANKS for reading!
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