MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- The University of Michigan ice hockey team defeated No. 9-ranked Minnesota, 3-1, on the road Saturday night (Jan. 13). The win gave the Wolverines their first sweep against Minnesota since the 2014-15 season, and the first sweep on the road against the Gophers since the 1976-77 season.
Michigan junior forward Brendan Warren picked up where he and the rest of the Wolverines left off Friday night, scoring the opening goal just 1:13 into the game. Freshman Josh Norris dug the puck out of a scrum along the boards and passed it to Warren who fired it into the top corner of the net. The goal was Warren's sixth on the season and gave him the last three Maize and Blue goals.
Michigan continued the pressure early in the game, converting on its first power-play opportunity when Norris doubled the lead and his point total on the night, 3:06 into the contest. Sophomore Jake Slaker possessed the puck inside the Gopher zone with the man-advantage when he saw Norris lurking on the back door. A pass that seemed to have eyes made its way through traffic and onto Norris' stick and he made no mistake finding the twine. The power-play goal broke a three-game drought on the man-advantage for the Wolverines. Junior defenseman Nicholas Boka picked up the secondary assist on the goal.
@CoachPearsonUM on tonight's performance after U-M secures a weekend sweep at No. 9 Minnesota. #GoBlue pic.twitter.com/y2OXljPavI— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) January 14, 2018
The Wolverines thought they had extended their lead to 3-0 less than five minutes into the second period when senior defenseman Sam Piazza found the back of the net from the point; however, the goal was disallowed. The referees cited interference with the Minnesota goaltender as the reason the goal was waved off, negating the Michigan score.
The Gophers were finally able to crack the seal on the Wolverine net when Darian Romanko scored on power play. Sam Rossini and Jack Ramsey had swipes at the puck in front of the Michigan net that were turned aside by Maize and Blue sophomore netminder Hayden Lavigne before Romanko was able to swoop in and finish the play with 4:34 remaining in the second stanza.
Michigan answered right back with another power-play goal when junior forward Cooper Marody scored for the second consecutive night and returned the Wolverines' lead to two goals, making it 3-1 with 2:51 remaining in the second. Senior captain Tony Calderone carried the puck behind the Golden Gopher net before losing control of it. The puck found its way to Marody on the goal line, who then bounced it off the Minnesota goaltender for the goal. Freshman defender Quinn Hughes also picked up an assist on the power-play goal, giving him a three-game point streak.
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Despite quality scoring chances from both teams in the third period, the score would remain unchanged in the final stanza, with the Wolverines taking home the 3-1 victory. Lavigne ended the game with 17 saves on 18 Minnesota shots. The 18 shots against is the fewest the Maize and Blue have allowed all season.
The win marked the first Michigan sweep at Minnesota since Feb. 18-19, 1977, and also gave the Maize and Blue its first Mariucci/Renfrew Coaches' Trophy since the 2008-09 season.
Beginning in 1993, the Mariucci/Renfrew Trophy was created as an award for the winner of the annual Michigan-Minnesota game or series. The trophy is named after legendary coaches John Mariucci of Minnesota and Al Renfrew of Michigan. With this weekend's sweep, U-M has won the trophy 10 of the 23 times it has been awarded. Coach Renfrew passed away on Nov. 10, 2014, at the age of 89.
Michigan will return home next weekend (Jan. 19-20) for another pair of Big Ten contests when it hosts Penn State. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. on Friday and will be televised on Big Ten Network.