Minnesota, Michigan Earn First Big Ten Wins
CHN Staff Report
Minnesota won the first Big Ten conference game with its historic rival, Wisconsin, winning 4-1 at Mariuccia Arena on Friday. Seth Ambroz scored twice, including an empty netter, and brothers Mike and Connor Reilly each scored.
Minnesota improved to 10-2-1 overall, and wiped the sting of last Sunday's blowout loss to Minnesota-Duluth away.
“We were still bitter about last Sunday’s result. But, we had a really good week in practice," Mike Reilly said. "Working on our penalty kill, I think our penalty kill is great. We really tracked down everything in the (defensive) zone, and I think that we had a great gap. We helped make the shots go through, and I think that led to a good result.”
Wisconsin had an early 1-0 lead before the Gophers' offense took over. The final shots were 45-25 Minnesota, and Ambroz's first goal came from behind the net.
“It was interesting. We won the draw there, and (Justin) Holl, threw it down low," Ambroz said. "It kind of seemed like the goalie lost his footing there for a second. And I just kind of wanted to see what would happen. Coach always talks about throwing the puck at the net from bad angles. So, I just tried it, and I was fortunate enough to get a nice bounce, and it found the back of the net.”
The significance of winning the first Big Ten game wasn't loss on coach Don Lucia.
“It’s something that we talked about … getting the first (Big Ten) win ever," Lucia said. "It’s something that we stressed throughout the course of the week. So we were really happy for us to come out and get the first (Big Ten) win in the first game.
The teams are, of course, long-time WCHA rivals — though Minnesota also had others, like North Dakota — so it was an appropriate way to open the Big Ten slate.
“It’s different in the Big Ten," Ambroz said. "Obviously, Wisconsin is now the biggest conference rival. So, tomorrow night should be a barn burner, and it should be a lot of fun. Hopefully, we play well again tomorrow, and hopefully get another circle (a sweep).”
Andrew Copp scored in overtime to give Michigan a 4-3 win over Ohio State in the first conference game as Big Ten teams for both schools, at a sold out Yost Arena.
After Ohio State got the first three shots in OT, Copp came in on a breakaway and beat goalie Logan Davis.
"Any time you play Ohio State, opening of the Big Ten conference, that one's going to rank pretty high," Copp said.
Michigan freshman goaltender Zach Nagelvoort made 32 saves to earn his sixth win of the season, while freshman forward J.T. Compher and junior forward Alex Guptill registered their third and fourth multi-point games of the season, respectively.
“Our kids emptied the tank, we played hard and there were some chances on both sides,” Ohio State coach Steve Rohlik said. “We just came out on the short end. You always have to learn from things and we’re going to learn from this and get better.”
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Miami's winless streak reached four after a 4-4 tie with Bemidji State in a non-league game. Miami, whose defense uncharacteristically broke down last weekend in a 6-3 loss to Nebraska-Omaha, blew a three-goal third-period lead to the Beavers.
Sam Rendle got the tying goal for BSU with under a minute left in regulation.
Blake Coleman scored twice for Miami.
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Canisius remained perfect at home after a 3-1 win against Connecticut on Friday afternoon.
“It was a great team effort and a hard-fought win tonight,” said Canisius coach Dave Smith. “It felt like a playoff game in November and I’m really proud with how we played as a team. To keep our winning streak alive at home is also important and exciting as it’s something I hear the players talking about.”