MINNEAPOLIS - The No. 2 Minnesota men's hockey program climbed to within a point of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association lead on Friday night with a 5-3 win over Minnesota Duluth at Mariucci Arena.
Erik Haula and Kyle Rau both scored in the third period to snap a 3-3 tie with the Bulldogs as Haula moved into a tie for sixth in the national scoring race with 39 points while Rau snapped an eight-game goal drought with the eventual game winner.
Minnesota (21-6-4 overall, 13-6-4 WCHA) jumped out to an early lead when Nate Condon scored his 11th goal of the year just 4:04 into the contest with assists from Ben Marshall and Sam Warning. Haula added to the fire at 7:50 of the second period with his first goal of the night - a shorthanded tally set up by Zach Budish.
The Bulldogs (10-17-4, 8-13-4) rallied with a power-play goal from Justin Crandall at 8:27 of the second stanza and an even-strength goal from Austin Farley later in the period at 13:10. The five-goal second period stayed hot with Warning and Condon hooking up again at 14:52 before Farley notched his second goal of the game with 44 seconds left in the second period during a Minnesota Duluth power play. The Bulldogs went 2-for-4 on the power play while Minnesota went 0-for-5. Friday marked the first time this season that Minnesota has allowed more than one power-play goal in a game.
After being outshot 11-7 in the first and 14-11 in the second, the third period was all Minnesota. The home squad outshot Minnesota Duluth 16-4 in the final 20 minutes of play to move to 34-29 overall in the win. Rau's game winner was set up by Nick Bjugstad and Budish while Haula picked up an empty net insurance goal with 6 seconds left in regulation. Minnesota now ranks tied for second in the nation with 39 third period goals this season.
Adam Wilcox moved to 20-5-4 in his rookie campaign with Friday's 26-save performance while Matt McNeely made 29 saves to fall to 8-11-2 this season. Haula (two goals), Warning (one goal, one assist), Condon (one goal, one assist) and Budish (two assists) paced the Gophers offense while Mark Alt finished the night as a game-high plus-four.
The Gophers close out this weekend's series tomorrow night at 7 p.m. with the Big Ten Network and 1500 ESPN broadcasting the action.