Men’s Hockey: Knies’ overtime goal lifts Gophers over Michigan

MINNEAPOLIS — According to Miro Knies, it’s sunny and close to 70 every day in January in Arizona, where they live and raised their son Matthew, before sending him off to the Minnesota Gophers.

Knowing that his warm-weather parents would be visiting in January, Matthew bought them winter boots and jackets for Christmas. He also gave them a nice “Welcome to the State of Hockey” gift on the ice on Friday.

Knies scored his second goal of the game on a power play late in overtime to break a deadlock and lead the Gophers to a dramatic 4-3 victory over the Michigan Wolverines.

Jackson LaCombe had a goal and two assists, scoring late in regulation as the Gophers won twice, then rallied to force extra session.

“I had no idea how much time was left,” Knies said of his game-winner, which came with 8.8 seconds left in extra session. “I lost track of time when we were in his area so much. Luckily he got in before the doorbell rang.

Justen Close had 31 saves for the Gophers (18-6-1 overall, 12-2-1 Big Ten).

“It was a great hockey game and I felt like we deserved to win. We made a couple of mistakes going down and we came back,” Gophers coach Bob Motzko said.

Michigan (13-9-1, 5-8-0) got goals from Eric Ciccolini, Adam Fantilli and Gavin Brindley along with 44 saves from Erik Portillo.

“Good atmosphere. This is what college hockey is about, this is what the Big Ten is about,” Wolverines coach Brandon Naurato said. very proud of how we fought for her. Bad dribble at the end, and they score on one of their six power plays.”

There was intensity from the initial drop of the puck, with both teams pushing in the first 19 minutes. Things changed dramatically when Michigan center Mark Estapa was whistled and ejected for making contact with Gophers defenseman Mike Koster’s head.

It took the Gophers just a dozen seconds of the power play to take the lead, when Snuggerud fired a high shot after a pass through the top of the box from Knies.

With more than four additional minutes of man advantage to open the second period, the Gophers had opportunities to double their lead, most notably when Bryce Brodzinski hit the post behind Portillo with a wrist shot.

Instead, it was the Wolverines pulling even later in the second when Ciccolini got the rebound back after a long-range leadoff shot from Ethan Edwards bounced hard off Close’s leg pad.

Then things got silly for 58 seconds, when Knies gave the Gophers a 2-1 lead via a flick to the net. Michigan responded with goals 15 seconds apart to take their first lead at the second intermission.

On a power play early in the third, the Gophers appeared to tie the game when Knies hit a loose puck that Portillo had been unable to cover, but the play was ruled out prematurely by the umpires.

Michigan’s lead held until LaCombe’s blast from the blue line with 4:20 remaining in regulation settled Portillo.

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