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Umberger’s shorthanded tally dooms Wild in hard-fought 3-2 home loss to Columbus

Sibling rivalry.  Its something anyone who has brothers and / or sisters can relate to.  The natural rivalry that takes place for attention, dominance in the household, and just about anything that siblings sometimes squabble over.  It never has to be a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but you argue, prod and goad your sibling into a fight just to show them you must be right and they must be wrong.  I know in my childhood I loved getting my little brother into trouble, and on more than few occasions did I take the opportunity to rough him up.  Does that make me a bully, since I’m the older brother?  Maybe, but it never got too crazy and I knew as well as any older brother does that when the punches are thrown that I am going to recieve a lot less sympathy from my parents when the dust settled.  Yet, what would happen if I was the same age and size as my brother?  That certainly is the case for the Minnesota Wild and its expansion brother / sister / cousin the Columbus Blue Jackets.  If you ask Blue Jackets fans, they’d say they’ve been the red-headed step child of the league that has been picked on from its first day in the league back at the start of the 2000-01 season.  For this franchise it is also its 10th NHL season, but they have not seen quite as much success in terms of wins and losses or at the gate as Minnesota has.  Yet last year both teams were fairly close to one another in the standings with the Wild finishing 13th and the Blue Jackets finishing 14th in the Western Conference.  So at this point, both teams’ fanbases are unhappy with the way everything turned out last season and are hoping this season will be different even if they may have doubts whether that will happen or not.  Perhaps this is the precise environment you want to have if you’re looking for a scrappy contest between expansion siblings.  Columbus defeated the Wild during pre-season but that isn’t saying too much since Minnesota went winless against NHL teams during its exhibition schedule.

For the Columbus Blue Jackets, it was an all too familiar pattern for the town that also calls the Ohio State University as its home as the team made very few significant moves in free agency, opting to give younger players a chance to work their way into holes in the lineup.  New Head Coach Scott Arniel will try to replicate the success he had with the American League’s Manitoba Moose with the Blue Jackets are eager to have their second shot at the post-season.  The Blue Jackets do have some great (still fairly young) talent in all around leader Rick Nash, goaltender Steve Mason and talented forwards Jakub Voracek, Derrick Brassard and Nikita Filatov.  However like the Wild the patience has worn thin.  Minnesota does not have the stable of youngsters the Blue Jackets do, but they have more depth than ever in franchise history but it would be nice to see some more of its players raise their game to make the internal battles for spots on the 2nd-thru-4th lines actually interesting for a change.  These teams typically have an extra gear or little more edge to their game when they face one another, but with teams that possess similar levels of talent as well as similar weaknesses the game will likely come down to whoever wants it more.  So that begs the question, who is going to want it more tonight?

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With the Wild donning its green alternate sweaters, the game would have a tremendous pace at the start with both teams exhibiting plenty of jump in their skates.  Minnesota would try to establish the forecheck early with its fourth line of Brad Staubitz, Kyle Brodziak and Guillaume Latendresse, the line was able to work the cycle for a short time before the Columbus defense led by Fedor Tyutin was able to break up the play.  The Blue Jackets would try to go on the attack but Minnesota was back checking well and being physical in its own zone and preventing shots from reaching Niklas Backstrom.  The Wild had its first threatening offensive play as Mikko Koivu picked up the puck down low behind the Columbus goal where he tried to swing back a pass to Andrew Brunette but the puck hopped over his stick before he could get off a shot.  Columbus was being physical, and its 2nd line would create some trouble for the Wild as R.J. Umberger won a battle along the boards before pushing it up to Sami Pahlsson who backhanded a shot that slid through the crease and luckily for Minnesota no one was there to cash in on the play.  Guillaume Latendresse did his best to create something offensively, as he tried to take the puck and move it towards the slot but it would be knocked off his stick by Kris Russell and the Blue Jackets were able to clear the zone.  A few minutes later the Wild’s 2nd line of Cal Clutterbuck, Martin Havlat and Matt Cullen nearly connected on a wicked little cycling play.  After a nice little chip along the boards Clutterbuck pushed it up to Havlat who quickly delivered a pass that found a charging Matt Cullen that he tapped just wide of the goal.  Minnesota’s missed opportunity would invite the Blue Jackets to attempt one of their own, and it was their energy line that created the pressure as Chris Clark tried to stuff in a wrap around that was shut down by Backstrom, but the puck would squirt out to the point where Kris Russell stepped into a slapper that reached Backstrom but Derek Dorsett was their to pounce on the rebound to lift it up and over the sprawling Wild goaltender to give Columbus a 1-0 lead.  Shortly after the Blue Jackets’ goal, the Wild would earn the first power play of the game when Sami Pahlsson was tagged with an interference penalty, but the league’s best power play looked sloppy and ineffective as Columbus was physical and mucking up the play along the boards and Minnesota would wither under the puck pressure.  The Wild only managed one weak shot taken from long range.  A few minutes later, the Wild took advantage of a misplay of the puck behind the Columbus net for a great scoring chance by Nick Schultz who pinched into the slot all alone but he fired a shot wide of the goal.  Columbus’ speed was making it difficult for the Wild to find space as you could hear a few boo’s serenade the team at the end of the period with the team trailing 1-0 as Minnesota was outshot 10 to 2 in the first stanza.

The Blue Jackets would carry the play early on in the 2nd period, as R.J. Umberger would find some space and he fired a shot that was blocked aside by Backstrom.  They continued to apply pressure and after a ill-advised pinch by Cam Barker turned into a 2-on-1 between Nikita Filatov and Derrick Brassard, but that was stopped by a sliding Barker as he stopped Filatov’s cross-ice pass.  Perhaps feeling the arena and the team needed some energy, Brad Staubitz would drop the gloves with Derek Dorsett.  It was a very slow little scrap with Dorsett managing to get a hold of Staubitz’ jersey and contort his body in such a way that made it almost impossible for Staubitz to really start throwing any punches.  Staubitz was clearly frustrated with Dorsett’s stalling tactics, and became even more annoyed as the former Medicine Hat Tiger threw a few left handed jabs that landed and all the Wild pugilist could manage was a few lame strikes to the back of the helmet.  The officials would move in and break up the pathetic fight.  Less than a minute after the two fighters went into the box, the Blue Jackets’ Kristian Huselius would take a lazy tripping penalty giving the Wild its 2nd power play of the game.  Minnesota would have much better puck movement on the man advantage, and Brent Burns would pinch and see an opportunity and he backhanded a shot that banked off Mathieu Garon and into the goal to tie the game at 1-1.  The Blue Jackets would try to answer back, and came very close as a little flurry near the net culminated in a Brassard shot that hit the post and went out, before being cleared by the Wild’s defense.  Moments after that the Blue Jackets entered the zone with speed and Rick Nash hammered a slapper that was held onto by Backstrom.  The Wild would give the Blue Jackets’ its first power play of the game when Cam Barker was given a holding penalty.  The Blue Jackets moved the puck well, but Minnesota’s penalty kill was solid positionally, keeping Columbus to the perimeter and the shots they were able to create were from long range that Backstrom was able to absorb.  Minnesota would help its cause by winning a draw in the defensive zone and that turned into a clear of the zone.  At times the Blue Jackets’ were being too fancy, passing up obvious chances and trying to work the perfect play.  Backstrom was sprawling all over his crease and Minnesota’s penalty killers stopped moving their feet and the Blue Jackets would re-take the lead as the power play ended as Brassard made a nice pass to a wide open Derek MacKenzie who rifled a shot by the Wild goaltender to give Columbus a 2-1 edge.  The Blue Jackets continued to apply pressure and they nearly added to their lead as a pass to an onrushing Antoine Vermette just failed to click.  Minnesota again would be helped by a Columbus penalty, and the Wild would work the puck up high down low to Andrew Brunette who tried to work a cross-ice pass that intercepted and poked out of the zone by Tyutin.  The Blue Jackets were collapsing near their crease and Minnesota struggled to find passing lanes.  That left the team trying to create some space with some physicality as Cal Clutterbuck chased a dump in where he leveled Rostislav Klesla and his clearing attempt was intercepted by Havlat who skated in and fired a wrister that nearly snuck underneath the arm of Garon but he closed that window fast and held on for the save.  Minnesota continued to work hard along the boards, and a nice play to dig the puck out by Matt Cullen would end up on the stick of Havlat who gunned a shot on goal that Garon stopped and Cal Clutterbuck was there to slam home the rebound to tie the game at 2-2.  Columbus would try to answer back, and after some good puck pressure they would draw a Wild high sticking penalty on Marek Zidlicky.  Minnesota’s penalty killers were doing a good job of keeping Columbus to the perimeter, challenging the puck carrier and they were able to keep the game tied at two to start the 3rd period.

The Wild still had just around 30 seconds of Columbus power play time to kill off and they did with relative ease.  Minnesota would put out its 2nd line right away, but the Blue Jackets’ fourth line was able to keep them bottled up in the Wild zone.  The Wild would follow that up with a great shift by the top line and after controlling the puck down low they were able to work it out to the point where Zidlicky bombed a shot that Garon stopped and Brunette tried to jam home the rebound but the Blue Jackets goalie was able to cover it up.  The Blue Jackets would try to create some offense of their own and R.J. Umberger was causing more problems as he stole a clearing attempt and he blistered as slap shot that was absorbed by Backstrom.  On the ensuing faceoff, the Brent Burns would take a hooking penalty that would give the Blue Jackets its 3rd power play of the game.  Minnesota’s penalty kill was very sharp and a lazy centering pass by the Blue Jackets nearly cost them as Mikko Koivu quickly pounced for a quick slapper that Garon was just able to deflect aside.  The Wild continued to move their feet to deny clear shooting lanes and they’d manage to kill off the penalty.  The Blue Jackets would try to outwork the Wild by sending out its 4th line of Derek Dorsett, Ethan Moreau and Sami Pahlsson and the Wild would struggle against their physicality along the wall.  Minnesota would earn a power play, when Fedor Tyutin stood up Eric Nystrom as he was hustling into the Columbus zone earning a clear interference call.  On the power play the Wild were looking to create pressure right away as Marek Zidlicky wound up and uncorked a slapper that just missed wide of the goal and the puck would carom off the boards out to Koivu who tapped a shot on goal that fluttered towards Garon.  Minnesota’s aggressiveness would leave them vulnerable, as R.J. Umberger would find some space and he’d take the puck to the crease where he managed to slide a shot that Backstrom tried to cover up.  The goal would go to replay, and the replays they showed on Fox Sports Net were not that convincing one way or another despite the Blue Jackets’ play-by-play person’s testimony.  The only real incriminating part came after the play was over as Backstrom was sliding his leg pad along the ice as if to drag the puck back across the goal line before the official arrived to see it.  The official was not in a good position to make a call yet for whatever reason the officials called it a goal making it necessarily .  After about a 2 minute review, NHL referee Kelly Sutherland pointed to center ice saying it was a ‘good goal’ to a huge chorus of boo’s from the home crowd.  Minnesota would do very little with the rest of the power play and now the Wild had to find away to light the lamp at least one more time.  With Columbus trying to play rope-a-dope by continually flipping the puck into the Wild zone they’d help Minnesota’s cause when Chris Clark took a hooking penalty.  Minnesota would move the puck quickly, but the passes were not quite tape-to-tape and this would prevent them from taking full advantage of their rapid puck movement.  The Wild were looking to move the puck in close as Columbus was collapsing down near their crease, and were perhaps a little to picky about taking their shots.  About halfway through the Wild would get a slashing call nullifying the man advantage.  With the play 4-on-4 the Wild would continue to apply pressure and it was a strong play by Havlat to dangle around two Columbus players before rifiling a wrist shot on goal that was steered aside by Garon.  The Blue Jackets would get a short power play and the Wild would show some urgency in killing it off, even getting lucky as Greg Zanon clearly high sticked Rick Nash to no call.  Minnesota would get the kill, but there would not be much time left, just 3:43 to get the equalizer.  Cal Clutterbuck started to assert himself, by dropping Jan Hejda and Derek McKenzie with big hits.  The Blue Jackets were really flying around the ice, giving Minnesota very little time and space to work with and after nearly a minute of battling along the boards for the puck, did they finally enter the Columbus zone where they settled for a quick slapper by Antti Miettinen that Garon stopped with ease.  With just over a minute left, Wild Head Coach Todd Richards would call a timeout, as well as pulling Backstrom for an extra attacker.  Minnesota would work the puck out to the point for a bit point shot while they were camped near the crease, but Garon was able to hold on.  The Wild continued to battle, working the puck down low along the boards to Andrew Brunette who looked for anyone out near the crease but settled to work it out to the point where Zidlicky unloaded a cannon of a slapper and a flurry would ensue near Garon but the whistle would blow as the net came off its moorings.  And with that call the Wild were finished as they fell 3-2 to Columbus.

Niklas Backstrom made 22 saves in the loss.  Defensively the Wild were ok, not allowing too many scoring chances but it was obvious they struggled mightily when the Blue Jackets were physical on their shifts.  On the penalty kill they were were at their best when they applied pressure to the puck carrier and playing the angles to deny shooting lanes, and at their worst when they were not moving their feet and trying to chase the Blue Jackets all over the ice.

Offensively, the Wild really struggle to do much of anything at even strength.  The team simply does not possess enough team speed to elude the opposing skaters.  Even players that are allegedly fast for the Wild, like Martin Havlat cannot seem to outleg just about any opposing defenseman and that really costs Minnesota potential scoring opportunities.  The Wild managed to score again on the power play, but the lion’s share of its quality scoring chances come on the man advantage because its one of the few times the team can find the time and space it needs as its too slow to create those same opportunities at even strength.  Guillaume Latendresse should be benched and forced to get into shape.  It will humble him, and perhaps actually get him up to speed so he can be effective.  The team needs his finishing ability whether he’s in Todd Richards’ dog house or not.  Do I think he deserves to be there, certainly; but let’s face it this team has very few guys that have a quality scoring touch so to get him back to being physically able to do his job should be the priority.  The team should also consider placing Chuck Kobasew on the top line a little when not on the man advantage so it gains a little more speed.  Having a him playing just 11:00 minutes doesn’t do the team any good, but then the top line might actually be able to forecheck for a change as Brunette just is too slow for that duty.

It was not a terrible game, but it wasn’t a pretty one either.  The Wild’s lapses in effort cost them, and a slow start really is unforgiveable.  Minnesota is perhaps one of the slowest teams in the league and it seems like ages ago when it was considered to be one of the fastest, and that was when it had a roster that was near the bottom in payroll in the league.  I know skating fast doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll score more goals, but it certainly can create opportunities that so far this team is incapable of.  Unfortunately for the Wild, this team has precious few players it could easily parlay for some speed for its lineup.  Yet speed is becoming a problem and the style of play the coach wishes for it to play only makes it that much more obvious.

Wild Notes:

~ The Wild roster tonight is as follows:  Mikko Koivu, Andrew Brunette, Martin Havlat, Antti Miettinen, Matt Cullen, Kyle Brodziak, Chuck Kobasew, Brad Staubitz, John Madden, Guillaume Latendresse, Cal Clutterbuck, Eric Nystrom, Brent Burns, Nick Schultz, Cam Barker, Justin Falk, Greg Zanon and Marek Zidlicky.  Jose Theodore backed up Niklas Backstrom between the pipes for the Wild.  Clayton Stoner was the lone healthy scratch for the Wild while Pierre-Marc Bouchard is still hopeful he’ll return to the Minnesota lineup in the near future.

~ The 3 Stars of the Game as selected by Let’s Play Hockey are:  1st Star R.J. Umberger, 2nd Star Matt Cullen, 3rd Star Martin Havlat

~ Attendance tonight was 17,336, the first time the team has failed to sellout a regular season game in franchise history and I doubt it will be the last time this happens.

WCHA Men’s Hockey Roundup:

~ It was a crazy first game for the first ever conference matchup between newcomer University of Nebraska-Omaha and the Minnesota Golden Gophers.  The former member of the CCHA was dominant to start the game, jumping out to a 4-0 lead midway through the 2nd period on goals from Rich Purslow, Alex Hudson, Matt White, and New Prague, Minnesota-native Matt Ambroz.  The Gophers would answer back in dramatic fashion by scoring 2 goals in rapid succession cut the Maverick’s lead to two by the end of the period, on tallies by freshman Nate Condon and White Bear Lake, Minnesota’s Jake Hansen.  In the 3rd period, the Gophers started out strong, with Mike Hoeffel lighting the lamp on the man advantage and senior Jay Barriball tied the game with his 5th goal of the season with just over 3 minutes left in the game.  However it wasn’t meant to be as the Mavericks’ Alex Hudson would find some space to score the game winner with just over a minute left to play as the University of Nebraska-Omaha take game one, in a 5-4 thriller.  In game two, it would have a rather similar feel to Friday’s game where the Mavericks jumped out to a 3-0 lead while the Gophers seemed a little nonchalant for FSN’s Rob McClanahan who was direct in his criticism of the lack of fire the team was exhibiting.  Matt White, Zahn Raubenheimer and Matt Ambroz would give UNO the early boost.  Minnesota would again try to answer back in the 3rd period and it was senior Kevin Wehrs finding the back of the net on a long-range wrist shot, and Wild prospect Erik Haula continues his hot start with the Gophers by netting his first collegiate goal to cut the lead to one.  The Gophers really poured it on, but it wasn’t enough and the Maverick’s Rich Purslow would salt it away with an empty netter to earn UNO a 4-2 victory and a series sweep.

~ In the other “introduction” game with new WCHA member Bemidji State battling perennial powerhouse North Dakota.  The Beavers would have a good start, as Jamie McQueen scored less than 2 minutes into the game.  The Fighting Sioux would answer back in a big way, scoring the next four goals with upper classman Matt Frattin and Jason Gregoire each scoring twice.  Verona, Wisconsin-native Jordan George would find the back of the net behind North Dakota’s Brad Eidsness, but the hats would fly as Frattin notched a hat trick on an empty netter to seal a 5-2 win in game one.  Game two would be a bit more back and forth before North Dakota would overwhelm Bemidji State.  North Dakota would jump out to a 1-0 lead on a nice tap in goal by Chay Genoway.  The Beavers would answer back 4 minutes later when Jordan George got the Bemidji State crowd on its feet.  In the 2nd period, the Beavers would take the lead when former Wild prospect camp tryout Matt Read fired home a wrist shot to give Bemidji State a 2-1 advantage but the euphoria would be short-lived as North Dakota would stormed back with four unanswered goals from Derek Rodwell, Evan Trupp, Matt Frattin, and Brett Hextall to roll to a 5-2 victory and a series sweep.

~ The last two seasons, the University of Miami (OH) Redhawks have qualified for the Frozen Four, and they looked like a dominant team once again in a 6-3 victory over St. Cloud State in game 1 of their two-game series.  The Huskies would jump out to a quick 1-0 lead on a nice goal by Hermantown, Minnesota’s Drew LeBlanc.  The speedy Redhawks would get St. Cloud into penalty trouble and that would prove to be costly as Miami scored twice on the man advantage on goals by Andy Miele and Curtis McKenzie to take a 2-1 lead going into the 2nd.  Penalties continued to haunt the Huskies in the 2nd as senior Carter Camper scored on the power play and a while later Bryon Paulazzo would add another giving the Redhawks a commanding 4-1 lead to start the 3rd period.  In the the 3rd, Miami started to march to the penalty box but it didn’t slow them down that much as Camper found the twine behind St. Cloud State’s Mike Lee on a short handed tally.  Miami’s Reilly Smith would add another, giving the Redhawks a huge 6-1 lead.  St. Cloud would score two goals late from Nick Jensen and Mitch MacMillan to make the game a little more respectable and set up what could be a nasty 2nd game.  Game 2 would start innocently enough, with both teams looking a bit tired but satisfied with just playing hockey through a scoreless first period.  At the start of the 2nd, the nastiness would be very apparent as the slashing calls would be abundant as both teams were feeling a little feisty.  The Redhawks would take the lead on a goal from Carter Camper.  The nastiness would continue into the 3rd, and it appeared as though the Huskies might lose the game 1-0, but Little Falls, Minnesota-native Jared Festler found some room and rifled a shot by Connor Knapp to tie the game at 1-1 with just under 7 minutes remaining.  Miami would control overtime, but Dan Dunn stood strong between the pipes for the Huskies and the game would end in a tie.

~ In a high profile non-conference game, defending NCAA Champion Boston College battled Denver University.  The small and speedy Boston College attack would cause some problems for the bigger (and not quite as fast) Pioneers, as the Golden Eagles would get off to a tremendous start and a 5-0 lead on goals by Joe Whitney, Cam Atkinson, and defenseman Tommy Cross and the BC brother’s duo of Jimmy Hayes and Kevin Hayes would each add a goal.  The game would get noticeably chippy from here on out, with the teams exchanging numerous slashing and tripping calls, as Luke Salazar would score twice as Boston College rolled to a 6-2 victory in game one.

~ It is starting to look like a long season for the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks as they fell to Michigan Tech 5-2 on Friday night.  Michigan Tech would jump out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Dennis Rix and Eric Kattelus.  The Mavericks would cut the lead in half with under 3 minutes left in the 1st on a goal by J.P. Burkemper.  Minnesota State would tie the game when former St. Paul Johnson star Michael Dorr tapped home a shot just a 1:42 into the 2nd.  Later in the period, Minnesota State would get into some penalty trouble and their lack of discipline would cost them as Michigan Tech would score twice on the power play as Steven Seigo and Brett Olson would find the twine to give the Huskies a 4-2 lead going into the 3rd.  Michigan Tech would add a shorthanded empty net goal by Alex MacLeod to add an exclamation point to a 5-2 victory in game one.  Game 2 was a strange back and forth affair that may have been the most entertaining hockey game in the WCHA.  Michigan Tech would jump out to a 2-0 lead, first on a goal from Mikael Lickteig and then on a shorthanded goal by Alex McLeod.  The Mavericks would answer right back with 3 goals over the course of 6 minutes.  The first two scored at even strength, by Tyler Elbrecht and Kurt Davis respectively and then about a minute after Davis’ goal, Joe Schiller would find the back of the net on a shorthanded goal to give Minnesota State-Mankato a 3-2 lead going into the 2nd.  Michigan Tech would tie the game early in the 2nd, on a goal by Jacob Johnstone.  With the game tied at 3-3, the teams continued to exchange scoring chances and it was only a matter of time before they reached the back of the net, and it was Cameron Cooper stealing a pass and wristing a shot by the Huskies’ Kevin Genoe.  The Huskies would tie the game up once more, on the man advantage as Alex McLeod found the back of the net with just 30 seconds left in the period to have it all knotted up at 4-4.  Michigan Tech’s Steven Seigo would give the Huskies a lead with just under 10 minutes left in the period.  The Mavericks would rally back to tie the game with under 5 minutes left to play as Chase Grant lifted a shot top shelf over the shoulder of Genoe.  Both teams would exchange scoring chances in the time remaining as well as overtime but nothing would be decided as it would end in a tie.

~ In what was easily the most back and forth game of the evening, between Colorado College and University of Alaska-Anchorage.  Its sad that only 890 people were there to see it.  Colorado College would start the scoring first as William Rapuzzi found the back of the net on a terrific feed by Hopkins, Minnesota-native Archie Skalbeck.  The Seawolves would answer right back as Mitch Brujisten would beat Josh Thorimbert to tie the game at 1-1.  The Tigers would re-take the lead just over 4 minutes later when Tim Hall rifled a shot by UAA’s Rob Gunderson.  Less than 30 seconds later the Seawolves would tie the game again as Curtis Leinweber found the top corner.  Colorado College would get the last laugh of the 1st period as Cloquet, Minnesota’s Tyler Johnson would give the Tigers a 3-2 lead going into the 2nd.  The Seawolves would tie the game early in the 2nd period on a goal by Jordan Kwas, but it wasn’t meant to be for Alaska-Anchorage as the Tigers would earn the game winner 6 minutes later on the power play as Andrew Hamburg (the brother of Wild prospect Anthony Hamburg) would score giving Colorado College a 4-3 game one win.

~ In easily the most one-sided game, the Wisconsin Badgers cruised to a 7-0 victory over the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers.  The Badgers outshot the Chargers 47-17, and it did not start well for Unversity of Alabama-Huntsville as Sebastien Geoffrion, the brother of Badgers great and Hobey Baker Award winner and Nashville Predators prospect Blake Geoffrion would earn a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for contact to the head.  With a long power play the Badgers would punish the Chargers for their lack of discipline as Justin Schultz and Jake Gardiner would give the sellout crowd at the Kohl Center in Madison something to cheer about as their team carried a 2-0 lead into the 2nd.  Wisconsin would add 3 more goals in the 2nd on goals from former Burnsville High School (MN) star Tyler Barnes, Sam Dolan and Schultz’ second goal of the game.  The game would get pretty chippy in the 3rd period with both teams piling up a number of roughing penalties, and the Badgers would score two more times from Podge Turnbull and Gavin Hartzog as they rolled to a 7-0 win in game one.

~ The series between the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs and the Providence Friars would start with an element of chippiness.  In fact, both teams would trade unsportsmanlike penalties in the 1st period.  The Friars would light the lamp first as Kyle MacKinnon would beat UMD’s Kenny Reiter to put Providence up 1-0.  UMD would respond as Wild Prospect Camp tryout Justin Fontaine would show his hands as beat Alex Beaudry to tie the game 1-1 at the end of the 1st.  The Bulldogs would take the lead early in the 2nd, as Rosemount’s J.T. Brown found the back of the net.  Providence would keep pace as MacKinnon ripped another past Reiter on a power play.  This goal would seem to flip a switch in the Bulldogs and they really started to pour it on.  Mike Connolly would give the Bulldogs the lead as he blistered a slapper that beat Beaudry on the man advantage.  With less than 2 minutes left, UMD senior Travis Oleksuk earned a penalty shot and he beat Beaudry on a sneaky deke to give the Bulldogs a 4-2 lead going into the 3rd.  The 3rd period was very chippy, with numerous roughing calls, until Providence’s Derek Army (son of Providence Head Coach Tim Army) scored with just 30 seconds left.  The Bulldogs would answer again just 25 seconds later as Connolly scored his 2nd of the night to seal a 5-3 victory.  Game 2 would have Providence feeling good about itself through the first 10 minutes of the game and then it would rapidly get out of control.  Just 58 seconds in, the Friars’ Tim Schaller found the back of the net behind Aaron Crandall.  The UMD Bulldogs would storm back with 7 unanswered goals; three in the first, and two more in the 2nd and 3rd period respectively to cruise to a 7-1 victory and convincing series sweep.