Wild’s 3rd period rally salvages point in 4-3 overtime loss to New Jersey

Zach Parise

A few years back I did an annual article series called the 'Best and Worst Fans of the NHL' where I rated each of the fanbases in the league.  I rated each fanbase on average attendance in comparison to the capacity of their respective arena which also took into account their regular season record as well as internet presence.  Teams that don't draw at a 100% yet had a strong team were punished by my standards.  It wasn't perfect, but considering I wrote and published the articles in August it caused far more of a stir than I ever expected.  The article was picked up by Yahoo! NHL blogger Greg Wyshynski, aka Puck Daddy and the firestorm ensued.  In my first installment I rated New Jersey as having the 2nd worst fanbase in the NHL.  Wyshynski who admittedly has leanings for the Devils was insensed and his blog essentially released the wolves towards my website.  Comments were flying in and New Jersey fans were noticeably upset with my ranking of their fanbase.  From discussion of my possible sexual preference to apparently their belief that we have absolutely nothing to do in Minnesota in addition to their attempts to say just how wrong I was.  Yet, the proof was there.  Good team, bad attendance yet their fanbase didn't want to face the facts.  Many excuses were given attempting to explain why fans were not showing up to Devils' games.  Bad location, travel difficulties, bad neighborhood, blah blah blah.  

Wild Cheated

Has it improved in New Jersey since my article?  Slightly.  In their most recent home game, the Devils drew 16,162 in a 5-4 win over Carolina on March 8th.  However, back to that wonderful fanbase I think we will see some of that same vitriol they vented towards me at being rated the 2nd worst in the NHL vented towards Zach Parise as he makes his first sojourn back to New Jersey since leaving for the Wild via free agency.  I think it could be very similar to the sour welcome Ryan Suter has everytime the Wild play in Nashville.  It is to be expected, but the question is whether Parise will revel in the role of the villain or will the Devils fans get a dose of revenge over their former star? 

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Zach Parise

1st Period Thoughts:  The energy and vitriol of the crowd reminded me of a playoff game and the New Jersey Devils seemed to feed off the crowd.  The Devils were buzzing, especially in the Wild zone as they were physical and assertive.  Luckily Ilya Bryzgalov was focused and ready and he bailed the Wild out with a bunch of quality saves.  New Jersey was also frustrating Minnesota offensively as they had a hard time moving through the neutral zone, forcing the Wild to try to reverse their puck movement to work for an open lane that they could work the puck into the Devils' end.  Minnesota would draw a power play early as Adam Henrique hit Mikko Koivu in the face as he tried to lift his stick near the Wild bench.  The Devils' penalty kill was very aggressive, which forced the Wild to move the puck perhaps a bit quicker than it wanted to.  Minnesota only had one realy scoring chance on the man advantage as Zach Parise, who was getting boo'd everytime he touched the puck tried to move in and jam a sharp angle shot but Cory Schnieder was there to make the stop.  A few minutes later the Devils had a power play of their own as Parise was given a hooking minor.  The Devils power play has been deadly since in the Olympic break, but you wouldn't know it with the way the Wild's penalty kill shut it down.  Minnesota did a great job at closing off the passing and shooting lanes with good active sticks.  They'd clear the zone and get the big kill.  New Jersey would continue to attack and Henrique would win a battle along the boards and push a pass back to Patrik Elias who then dropped a pass back to Michael Ryder who was wide open in the high slot and as Henrique skated right towards the crease Ryder would rifle a shot by Bryzgalov to make it 1-0 Devils.  It was a very well executed set up, and Ryder sniped it perfectly.  The Wild's troubles would get a bit worse when Tim Sestito tried to run Nate Prosser (who had already been leveled on a big time hit earlier in the period) as he went behind his net to play the puck.  As Prosser was playing the puck and moving it along Sestito ran head first right into his elbow and collapsed to the ice.  He was moving slowly and the Devils training staff attended to their injured energy winger.  The officials were clearly convinced Prosser did something malicious as they gave him a 5-minute major for elbowing and a 10-minute game misconduct too.  It was another ridiculous overreaction by the officials to Sestito's injury much in the same way Erik Haula was given a similar major and misconduct for apparently running Kari Lehtonen.  The replay demonstrated that Haula was tripped and had no way of stopping and that real damage didn't come from Haula as much as it did from Lehtonen's head striking the goal post.  Sort of similar to this one where Sestito's own attempt to crush Prosser led to him getting hurt.  Prosser didn't do anything different or malicious that it deserved a game misconduct.  Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo who was clearly annoyed as this meant the Wild were going to be playing a defenseman down all game tried to discuss the issue with the officials to no avail.  This gave New Jersey a 5-minute power play that would last the rest of the period.  Minnesota's penalty killers again stepped up big time.  A blocked Jon Merrill shot at the point turned into a 2-on-0 breakaway for Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu.  Parise raced in, with boo's raining down upon him but as the puck bounced on the crappy Prudential Center ice all he was able to try was a quick forehand that was absorbed easily by Cory Schneider.  Minnesota's penalty killers continued to stonewall the Devils power play; and even on their best attempt, a point shot by Eric Gelinas that was redirected by Ryder was stopped by Bryzgalov and the Wild only trailed by one going into the 1st intermission.  It was an ok period for the Wild, as the Devils were playing with a lot of energy and with a chip on their shoulder.  Minnesota was outshot 10-6 in the period.  

2nd Period Thoughts:  Minnesota still had nearly 3 minutes of Devils power play time to kill off at the start of the 2nd period.  The Wild's penalty kill would bend but not break as they did a nice job of denying the Devils from having the big blast from the point that they wanted.  The Wild did a good job at blocking a shots and Ilya Bryzgalov helped Minnesota weather an early storm to keep his team within one.  One thing I didn't like during the penalty kill was how long Cody McCormick and Kyle Brodziak ended up staying out on the kill, neither player has great hands and towards the end they were really just sort of standing around and luckily for them Bryzgalov was able to kill the final few moments of the Devils power play off himself.  Minnesota was struggling to create any sort of offense as the Devils were backchecking well.  The Wild would get a power play as Tuomo Ruutu would tripped up Nino Niederreiter as he hooked down the Minnesota forward.  The power play would not work out well for the Wild.  The aggressive penalty kill by the Devils continued to cause the Wild problems and Minnesota was never really able to get much going on the power play besides a shot from the point by Jason Pominville that missed wide and out of the zone.  As Minnesota tried to chase down the puck the Devils would counter attack Adam Henrique found Mark Fayne all alone on the backside as Dany Heatley slowly tried to backcheck and the defenseman would wire a shot by Bryzgalov to make it 2-0 New Jersey.  The Wild were unable to answer back on the power play and momentum was clearly in New Jersey's favor.   The game would spend the next few minutes with lots ineffectively play in the neutral zone as the Devils were content to protect their lead.  Minnesota was guilty of trying to be way too fancy, trying to thread passes by multiple defenders instead of keeping it simple.  New Jersey would give Minnesota a late power play as Andy Greene stepped in front of Pominville for an obvious interference call.  On the power play, no one seemed to want to shoot the puck and even though the puck movement was quicker.  So the period would end with the Wild looking a little listless.  Minnesota was outshot 8-6.  

3rd Period Thoughts:  Minnesota would start the 3rd period with some power play time left over from the 2nd period and they'd make the most of it.  After some quick puck movement Ryan Suter would fling a wrist shot that was deflected by Parise and by Schneider to cut the Devils' lead in half, 2-1.  Unfortunately New Jersey would answer right back with a power play of their own as Jared Spurgeon was tagged with an interference penalty as he hauled down Dainius Zubrus on a partial breakaway.  The Wild penalty killers did a good job through the first half of the man advantage, denying passing and shooting lanes but they couldn't finish as Jaromir Jagr found a little space in the slot and he'd rip a shot by Bryzgalov to make it 3-1 New Jersey.  The Wild were trying to claw their way back into the game and they would benefit from keeping it simple.  Mikael Granlund would take a Spurgeon pass and carry it down low into the zone and with no other options available flung a shot on goal that deflected off the glove of Schneider and in to cut the Devils' lead back to one.  The goal reminded me of so many goals I saw the Detroit Red Wings needed in games where they were trailing.  A seemingly low percentage shot, goes off a glove, a skate or stick and finds its way into the back of the net but if they would've waited for the perfect shot or play it may have never have happened at all.  The Devils seemed to want to focus on defending their lead as Minnesota kept hustling and their lack of focus would give Minnesota another power play.  New Jersey's penalty kill was more aggressive at challening the Wild's entry into the Devils' end and Minnesota had trouble getting set up.  As the power play expired the Wild entered the zone with speed as Marco Scandella stepped in to recieve a cross-ice pass from Jonas Brodin and he'd blast a slap shot that was redirected by Matt Cooke and into the back of the net to tie the game.  The hostile crowd sat in stunned silence.  The Devils tried to catch the Wild a little punch drunk from their huge goal and they came dangerously close to re-taking the lead as Jaromir Jagr chipped a shot that was just directed wide off a desperate defensive play by Scandella who seemed to be a bit wounded after the play.  Both clubs would be content to defend the stalemate and the game would go to overtime.  

Overtime Thoughts:  Minnesota tried to go on the attack early, as the defenseman were joining the rush.  The aggressive stance would put the Wild in a vulnerable spot.  Mikko Koivu had a nice chance as he ripped a low-lying shot that drew a rebound but Scandella couldn't quite reach it.  New Jersey woudl counter attack off another failed rush and Patrik Elias backhanded a shot on goal that Brzgalov stopped and then was banged home by Andy Greene and the Wild fell 4-3.  

Ilya Brzgalov played reasonably well in my opinion, stopping 26 shots in the loss.  I felt he kept Minnesota in the game when it was not moving its feet as well and played a big role in making sure the Devils were not able to take advantage of a 5-minute major.  Defensively I thought the Wild were guilty of attempting a lot of one-handed poke checks that made it very tough to get the breakout going.  The penalty kill did give up a power play goal, but for the most part they did a pretty good job at keeping a very dangerous Devils power play at bey most of the game.  The call on Nate Prosser was ridiculous.  I highly doubt that will recieve any supplemental discipline from the league.  Sure it sucks to see a guy like Sestito concussed as badly as he was, but he bears most of the responsibility from the hit in my opinion.  

Offensively, the Wild rallied back but I felt Minnesota made this game a lot harder for itself by not taking more opportunities to direct pucks on goal against Schnieder who I felt was kind of shaky throughout most of the game.  The first line continues to pace the team offensively and they managed to get some secondary offense but they needed more from the other line who were non-existant most of the game.  I thought Charlie Coyle looked like a mess.  He gives up the puck so easily when he feels he has to muscle his way by defenders.  He needs to figure it out, or he should be sitting the pressbox.  Dany Heatley recently complained a bit about playing time, but tonight he got power play time and his lack of movement and the bobbling of the puck didn't tell me he deserved anymore ice time than the 15:26 tonight.  Probably deserved less.  The Wild can learn something from their late rally, which was really created by keeping it simple and funneling pucks on goal.  

Losing sucks, especially against some obnoxious fans who should've been boo'ing Devils GM Lou Lamiorello for being unable to afford Parise after they epic fail that was the Ilya Kovalchuk contract but the point the Wild earned was important.  The Philadelphia Flyers did the Wild a favor by beating Dallas tonight.  Still, Minnesota needs to start earning 2 points and winning some of these games that are going beyond regulation lately.  I don't think Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo will be happy about tonight's performance, nor should he.  It was another very slow start, and the Wild need to find a way to put their opponents on their heels early instead of always weathering the storm whether at home or on the road.  The team has to be better, it certainly is capable of doing so.  Now the Wild have to get ready for what will be another hard fought home-at-home series against Detroit this weekend.  

Wild Notes:

~ The Wild roster tonight was as follows: Mikael Granlund, Jason Pominville, Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, Matt Moulson, Justin Fontaine, Dany Heatley, Charlie Coyle, Kyle Brodziak, Nino Niederreiter, Matt Cooke, Cody McCormick, Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Marco Scandella, Jonas Brodin, Clayton Stoner and Nate Prosser.  Darcy Kuemper backed up Ilya Bryzgalov.  Niklas Backstrom, Mike Rupp, Keith Ballard and Erik Haula were the healthy scratches.  

~ The 3 Stars of the Game were: 1st Star Andy Greene, 2nd Star Matt Cooke, 3rd Star Patrik Elias

~ Attendance was 14,772 at Prudential Center. 

Iowa Wild Report:

Recent Score:  Iowa 2, Texas 4

It was a super slow start for the Iowa Wild, who found themselves down by one just a little past the 2-minute mark of the game as Brendan Ranford ripped a shot by Johan Gustafsson to give the Texas Stars a 1-0 lead.  The period was amazingly one sided as Gustafsson was under siege, stopping 14 shots while the Wild managed just one shot against Texas.  Ranford would strike again, early in the 2nd period to give what must've seemed like a tremendous 2-0 lead when you consider how much Iowa struggled to get shots on goal.  Iowa slowly started to create some scoring chances and they finally got their opportunity with the man advantage.  The Wild would strike on the power play as Zack Phillips fired a shot that was redirected perfectly by Brad Winchester and by Jack Campbell cut the Stars' lead to one, 2-1.  Iowa would then tie the game late in the period as Tyler Graovac intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and he'd race in on the breakaway before beating Campbell short side with a backhander to knot it up at 2-2 going into the 2nd intermission.  In the 3rd period, Iowa was pouring it on in search of the go-ahead goal but it wasn't meant to be.  Brett Ritchie would rip a shot off of a faceoff win to beat Gustafsson with just 2:25 left to play, 3-2 Stars.  Iowa would give up one more late as Kevin Henderson beat Gustafsson as he was wanting to head for the bench for an extra attacker, 4-2 Texas.  The Wild simply didn't get nearly enough pucks on goal; registering just 14 shots on goal.  Gustafsson did his best, stopping 32 of 36 in a losing effort.  Iowa's next game is Friday night against Grand Rapids.  

Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette

About Derek Felska

I am a lifelong hockey fan from Minnesota who loves and appreciates the game at all levels. I have been blogging about the Minnesota Wild since 2005. I cover just about every aspect of the organization from the team itself, its coaches, its management, its broadcast as well as its AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild and the club's pool of prospects. In addition to the NHL I occasionally take the time to cover college and high school hockey as well. We are the State of Hockey and I want to make this blog informative and objective from the eyes of a fan. I am a fan of the Minnesota Wild, but I am no homer. I hope what you read reflects this approach!

Harding earns 2nd shutout of the season in 4-0 rout of New Jersey

Kyle Brodziak

A few days ago, children all across America donned a wide variety of costumes and went around to their local neighborhoods trick or treating as they went.  Some of the costumes are often more cute while others love to bring on the gore.  Zombies, these days seem to be the 'fashionable' costume of choice which is understandable considering the popularity of shows like AMC's the Walking Dead and films like World War Z.  However the NHL has its own monster-related team, the New Jersey Devils.  Every now and then, Christian groups take issue with the New Jersey Devils because they believe it promotes Satanic ideology and time after time they are corrected as the New Jersey Devils is a reference to a mythical beast that lives in the pine barrens of the state.  Rumors of the 'Jersey Devil' go way back to the early 1800's and it is said to have the body of a dog, but with hooves and a head similar to a horse and bat-like wings and large teeth which it will use to exsanguinate its victims.  No, I'm not talking about Snooki or the Situation.  There are lots of New Jersey residents that strongly believe in the actual existance of this creature even though no pictures or physical specimens have ever been found.  

Jersey Devil  

Which Jersey Devil is more scary?  

Currently, as frightening as it may be to come across a real live Jersey Devil, the play of the New Jersey Devils might be just as hideous.  With a roster that features lots of older players, injuries have not been kind to the Devils and they come to town fresh after a 1-0 loss to another hapless and depleted squad, the Philadelphia Flyers.  The Minnesota Wild are coming off a victory over a decent Montreal team so can they vanquish New Jersey and gain more ground in the uber competitive Central Division?  Or will they find themselves bedeviled by overconfidence?  

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Kyle Brodziak

1st Period Thoughts:  The first period started out pretty ugly for the Wild.  Minnesota was groggy and slow, like a team who you would've expected to be the one that played the night before and arrived in St. Paul on a red-eye flight.  The Devils were flying all over the Wild zone, and their puck pressure was causing the lethargic Wild all sorts of problems.  The first two minutes of the period the Wild could barely keep the puck out of their zone as Josh Harding found himself busy right away.  Luckily for the Wild, Harding was sharp and alert and he came up with some big stops early as he stonewalled Mattias Tedenby at point-blank range and another nice chance by Andrei Loktionov.  I have to admit, I wondered if we were going to be 'treated' to major disappointment of a game with the Wild's lack of jump and poor execution.  The team just had the look of a club waiting for the other guy to make a play instead of just taking the initiative themselves.  Torrey Mitchell would get tagged for tripping as he tried to track down a puck and was racing with young defenseman Jon Merrill who felt Mitchell's pressure and actually grabbed onto Mitchell's stick before losing his edge and went careening face first into the boards.  Merrill was not in good shape, with a nasty gash, and blood spilling onto the ice as you could tell he was also likely concussed from his collision with the boards at Xcel Energy Center.  He had to be helped off the ice by the Devils' training staff and even though it looked as though Merrill was perhaps somewhat 'guilty' for what happened to him it was not a pretty sight nonetheless.  He would not return which forced an already banged up Devils' blueline to play a man short for the rest of the game.  The Wild would go on the penalty kill and this is where I think the team finally 'woke up' and started skating and playing more to its potential.  Minnesota's penalty killers did a superb job of disrupting the entry into the offensive zone and never really allowed New Jersey to get set up at all.  The Wild would get the big kill, but the penalties continued to dog Minnesota as they were kind of staying away from its game of puck possession and just chipping it out of the zone that were easy turnovers for the Devils to pounce on.  Ryan Suter would get sent to the box for stepping in front of Damien Brunner, but once again the Wild's penalty killers stood tall and shut down New Jersey's power play which was rather static and couldn't seem to find much in the way of shooting lanes.  After the Wild killed off Suter's penalty, they'd go on the attack and the top line would get involved as Suter would carry the puck deep and then thread a perfect cross-ice pass to Mikko Koivu who hammered a shot on goal only to be foiled by a great save by Schneider who had gotten across his crease in a hurry.  It was Koivu's best chance in probably the last 6 games and in most cases that would've probably ended up in the back of the net if not for that highlight reel stop.  The Wild would finally strike later in the period when the Devils would get caught with two forecheckers deep in the Minnesota zone as Keith Ballard turned and fired a long outlet pass to Jason Pominville who sort of used the boards to step around a Devils defender to set up Nino Niederreiter on a close in chance that was stymied by an aggressive play by Schnieder.  Schneider, sprawling just to the right of his crease, was unable to corral the puck and Niederreiter recovered and slid a short pass to the top of the crease where Mikael Granlund fired home the puck on a yawning net to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.  It was a nice finish for a player who has been the Wild's best set up man this season.  The Devils did not answer back with much of anything, even on a late power play after a weak cross checking call on Ballard, and Minnesota held the lead going into the 1st intermission.  It was not the best period for Jonas Brodin who again looked a little rusty out there.  Overall, the Wild's defense was far too guilty of using the boards and glass instead of making a short tape-to-tape pass to break out of the offensive zone.      

2nd Period Thoughts:  The 2nd period was a little better as you could sense the confidence the team had in itself.  New Jersey had tremendous difficulty finding any time and space on the ice and everytime they'd work themselves to an open area of the ice they found that opening closing very fast and whatever chance they thought they had was gone.  Minnesota's hustle started to be rewarded with power play time.  The top unit was ok, but still far too static for my taste.  The puck movement is quite predictable and at a pace where the oppising penalty kill can get into position to close down shooting and passing lanes.  The 2nd unit got a little time and Mikael Granlund went to work setting up Dany Heatley for a quick chance from the slot that was fought off by Schnieder.  It was Heatley's best scoring chance in at least 2 weeks.  Heatley seemed to have a little more get up and go as the game went on.  The Wild were getting lucky too, as the Devils nearly tied the game as Josh Harding made the initial stop of a Damien Brunner shot and the puck trickled back behind him where an alert Justin Fontaine swept in and took the puck out of danger.  Minnesota would add to its lead as Ryan Suter made another pretty cross-ice pass to Zach Parise who looked to shoot but was challenged aggressively by Schneider so he adjust his angle and looked to bank a shot in off the collection of Wild forwards and Devils defenseman racing back towards the crease.  He fired the shot wide towards this mass of humanity and got the desired result as it bounced off Torrey Mitchell and then Marek Zidlicky before sliding across the goal line just prior to the former Wild defenseman trying to negate the goal by lifting the net off its moorings.  The goal was reviewed but since it went off Zidlicky, the goal would stand and Mitchell would get his first tally of the season.  I am sure for the Devils this goal was tough to take as they knew all too well that to overcome two goals was a very tall order for them.  Minnesota seemed content to control the pace of play and they kind of went back to their puck possesson game.  Jonas Brodin was a lot better, moving the puck with the pace and confidence that he had before he got injured. 

3rd Period Thoughts:  In the 3rd period, the New Jersey Devils were clearly a little tired as the Wild's hustle began to tell with each passing minute.  Marek Zidlicky would get tagged with an interference penalty as he tried to step in front Zach Parise who appeared set to be going on a breakaway.  On the power play the Wild started out with its 2nd unit made up of Nino Niederreiter, Mikael Granlund, Dany Heatley, Jonas Brodin and Keith Ballard and I felt this unit moved the puck with good pace and unpredictable movement that ultimately set up a wrist shot from the point by Ballard that was redirected by Heatley and by Schneider to make it 3-0 Wild.  For Heatley it was his first goal against a goaltender between the pipes and I'm sure that was immensely relieving.  Ballard's ability to find the shooting lane and get the puck on goal really makes that 2nd power play unit dangerous in a way the 1st unit could learn from.  Again New Jersey had no real answer to the goal, they were just too tired to mount much of a counter attack.  With his team down by three, Devils head coach Peter DeBoer pulled Schnieder with a little over 3:30 left in the game.  Minnesota would handle the pressure created in the 6-on-5 and a simple break out of the zone led to Nino Niederreiter setting up Jason Pominville for his empty net goal that he took from just across the red line to seal a 4-0 victory. 

Josh Harding was again solid, making 19 saves to earn his 2nd shutout of the season.  He helped the Wild weather the storm early when the team wasn't moving its feet and was bottled up in its own end.  Defensively I thought the Wild got a tremendous game from Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon who made lots of nice plays in the defensive zone, as well as Keith Ballard who has not looked all that rusty since returning to the lineup.  Jonas Brodin continues to get closer to his level of play he had before the injury and the team's penalty kill looks markedly better from where it was.  Yes, they were playing the Devils who had very few offensive weapons but Minnesota kept New Jersey from gaining any momentum at all on the man advantage. 

Offensively the Wild continue to be led by the 'Granville' line of Mikael Granlund, Jason Pominville and tonight's linemate of the day Nino Niederreiter who chipped in 3 assists.  The Wild still could use more from Zach Parise who has cooled off a bit, and Mikko Koivu who continues to be a passenger far too many times on his shifts.  It wasn't the prettiest effort, but the team still found ways to score timely goals. 

Although, I have to say I'm a bit concerned that the team has gone away from its puck possession style that was so stifling earlier in the season.  While I realize they were not scoring as many goals as they have the last two games, it was a style that also worked defensively too.  Its one thing to score 4 on New Jersey, but the cheap turnovers they're giving up will come back to haunt them against clubs like Chicago, St. Louis or Los Angeles and San Jose.  The team has a lot of confidence, having won 6 out of its last 7 games and making this homestand count.  Yet as the standings continue to prove, climbing the ladder is exceedingly difficult in the ultra-competitive Western Conference and Central Division. 

Wild Notes:

~ Wild roster tonight is as follows:  Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise, Dany Heatley, Mikael Granlund, Jason Pominville, Nino Niederreiter, Matt Cooke, Torrey Mitchell, Kyle Brodziak, Zenon Konopka, Carson McMillan, Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, Keith Ballard, Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon and Clayton Stoner.  Niklas Backstrom backed up Josh Harding.  Charlie Coyle (knee soreness), Mike Rupp (knee) were out with injuries while Nate Prosser and Mathew Dumba were healthy scratches. 

~ The 3 Stars of the Game as selected by Fox Sports North were: 1st Star Josh Harding, 2nd Star Mikael Granlund, 3rd Star Nino Niederreiter

~ Attendance was 17,571 at Xcel Energy Center.

Minnesota Golden Gophers Hockey Report:

The Golden Gopher Men had the weekend off, but the women had another successful weekend sweep in WCHA action as they beat in-state rival Minnesota State in a home-at home series by scores of 4-1 and 7-0 respectively.  Goaltender Amanda Leveille gave up just one goal on 38 shots she faced this weekend.  Kate Schipper, Rachel Ramsey, Dani Cameranesi and Brook Garzone tallied for the Gopher women on Friday night while Tracy McCann got the lone goal for the Mavericks.  On Saturday the floodgates really opened for the Golden Gophers as Garzone, Hannah Brandt, Milica McMillen, Baylee Gillanders as well as Kelly Terry added a hat trick in a 7-0 route in Mankato.  Gopher forward Sarah Davis tallied her 100th collegiate career point on an assist in the 2nd period.  The sweep keeps the Gophers a perfect 10-0 on the season and their consecutive wins streak extends to 59 games.  

Wild Prospect Report:

G – Alexandre Belanger (Rouyn-Noranda, QMJHL) ~ The talented goaltender recovered nicely after an incredibly one-sided game on Friday which saw the Huskies get beat by the ridiculous score of 15-5 by the reigning Memorial Cup Champion Halifax Mooseheads.  Belanger gave up 6 goals on 22 shots in that one.  Yet after that nasty game, Belanger had a far better evening where he stopped 22 shots to help give the Huskies a 6-1 win over the Quebec Remparts.  The Sherbrooke, Quebec-native is 8-3 on the season with a 3.72 goals against average and an .871% save percentage.  

D – Nolan DeJong (Michigan, Big 10) ~ The freshman defenseman helped Michigan to a series sweep over Michigan Tech as the Wolverines prevailed over the Huskies 2-1 on Saturday night.  DeJong had an assist along with 3 shots on goal.  

RW – Adam Gilmour (Boston College, H-East) ~ The young power forward picked a great time to register his first collegiate goal as he scored the game winner in the Eagles' 4-3 win over Northeastern on Saturday night.  The former Muskegon Lumberjack had two shots on goal and was a +2 in the game playing on Boston College's 3rd line.  

Jack Jablonski & Jenna Privette

About Derek Felska

I am a lifelong hockey fan from Minnesota who loves and appreciates the game at all levels. I have been blogging about the Minnesota Wild since 2005. I cover just about every aspect of the organization from the team itself, its coaches, its management, its broadcast as well as its AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild and the club's pool of prospects. In addition to the NHL I occasionally take the time to cover college and high school hockey as well. We are the State of Hockey and I want to make this blog informative and objective from the eyes of a fan. I am a fan of the Minnesota Wild, but I am no homer. I hope what you read reflects this approach!