Feb 21, 2010 1:11 AM
The University of Minnesota used a five-on-three power-play as a catalyst to ignite a three-goal explosion in the opening period that carried the Gophers to a 7-4 matinee victory over CC at Mariucci Arena Saturday.
The triumph gave seventh-place Minnesota a sweep of the teams' two-game series and dealt a serious blow to the Tigers' hopes for a home-ice playoff berth.
Now 17-12-3 overall, they remain fifth in the WCHA standings with an 11-10-3 record and 25 points in league play. But, pending the outcome of Saturday night's contest between Minnesota Duluth and North Dakota in Grand Forks, they could find themselves tied with UND heading into next week's series with the Sioux at the World Arena.
Colorado College stayed even with the Gophers until taking a pair of penalties just 14 seconds apart midway through the first frame. UM cashed in at 13:11, grabbing a 1-0 lead when Mike Hoeffel knocked in a rebound of a shot by Jordan Schroeder. David Fischer increased the lead to 2-0 just 40 seconds later, at 13:51, with both teams skating at full strength.
Freshman center Rylan Schwartz struck for CC's first goal of the weekend at 14:11 after taking a nice pass from senior defenseman Nate Prosser. But, completing a flurry during which the teams combined for four tallies within a span of 1:42, Minnesota's Aaron Ness scored at 14:53 of the period. When Josh Birkholz made it 4-1 less than three minutes into the second stanza, the Tigers found themselves in a hole that they just couldn't dig out of despite launching a spirited rally later in the game.
Senior defenseman Kris Fredheim converted on the power play at 16:05 of the middle period, but Nick Leddy restored UM's three-goal lead at 17:48.
The Tigers made things interesting early in the third when sophomore defenseman Gabe Guentzel scored just 14 seconds in and junior winger Tyler Johnson converted on breakaway at 3:46. Awarded a power play later in the frame, CC couldn't capitalize then saw Cade Fairchild and Tony Lucia score late to ice the victory for Minnesota.
Prosser and senior right wing/team captain Mike Testwuide each collected two assists in the loss.
The Gophers finished with a 42-26 advantage in shots on goal.