After Rough Night, Reilly Gets Last Laugh
by Mike McMahon/Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA Mike Reilly had little choice.
The Minnesota defenseman was the lone defender back on a North Dakota 3-on-1 with under two minutes left in a tie game. He tied up his man – Drake Caggiula – and the referee’s arm went up.
“I just tried to gap up,” Reilly said. “My partner (Jake Parenteau) supported great. (Caggiula) had maybe one step on me. I didn’t expect they would call that at the end of the game like that, so I was nervous heading to the box. Holl bailed me out.”
Reilly sat and watched his team kill one minute, 38 seconds of his penalty. Then he watched in disbelief as Holl snapped a shot from almost directly in front of where he sat and it by Zane Gothberg’s left pad.
“I knew it was in,” Reilly said. “I was looking at the clock and most of our guys jumped on the ice, so they weren’t sure. I was in there all alone, but I knew it was in. I was pumped up.”
Reilly may have been the only Gopher to know the goal would stand, but he was forced to keep that nugget of information to himself, stuck in the box.
“I was pumped,” he said. “I was trying to break out of the box and get out there, I just wanted to go celebrate. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
It was an odd night for Reilly, who has been arguably Minnesota's best player this season. Reilly was burned by Connor Gaarder for North Dakota's only goal of the game, after the junior put the puck on his backhand and drove around the Columbus Blue Jacket draft choice.
In such an instance, Reilly probably turned to someone like Justin Holl. A senior. A guy who he says is the leader of the Minnesota defense.
Reilly, a sophomore, was happy to see his fellow defenseman pot his first goal of the season.
“I had faith in our team,” Reilly said. “We had a great PK all year. I knew we would get it done. I didn’t expect a goal like that, but I was confidence we’d get the kill.
“It’s great to see Holl get rewarded like that. He’s such a big leader for us and a big-time player. I’m excited to see him get that goal because he’s been so important to us.”