Let me start out by saying this, that was the best non BC-BU game I have ever been to. Mariucci Arena is the best college hockey atmosphere in the country and if you ask me, nothing is even close. Everyone, aged 5 to 80, is decked out in maroon and gold jerseys donning a giant "M" on it. I love Conte Forum and the other rinks around Hockey East but this plays blows them away. It's a special place to be in and I cannot wait to get back there on Sunday afternoon. As for the game itself, well, it was quiet apparent that Thatcher Demko was nervous as heck going in. The kid is my age, seventeen years old and he is playing goalie for the best program in college hockey on the road in one of the most hostile environments the sport has to offer. Yea, he struggled early but give him credit because he made some huge saves down the stretch.
The pace of this game was something I don't think I have ever witnessed before. It was odd man rush after odd man rush and whether you're a fan of the big sheet or not, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone that didn't think that was some of the most exciting hockey they have ever seen. I thought BC's third and fourth lines held their own versus the Gophers' top units as the staff put the Sit, Straight, and Silk line out there numerous times vs Minnesota's big line of Condon, Kloos, and Cammarata. What a night for Mike Sit. Heck, what a season so far for Mike Sit. You have idiots like me writing about how Richardson should be on the fourth line and he goes out and scores two goals in front of his hometown team. How amazing is it that a kid scores zero goals in eighty plus games before going out in front of his childhood idols and shoving it right back in their face ? Truly an amazing story.
Although he was -2 and only had one goal, Johnny G was spectacular tonight. If it wasn't for some unreal saves from Gopher goalie Adam Wilcox and a few unlucky pipes, "G" would have had three goals and BC would have won in regulation. He is just a cut above everyone else on the ice and the extra room on the big sheet certainly benefits him greatly. I thought all six of BC's defensemen held their own tonight, especially in the final two periods. It took them a while to adjust to the pace and rink dimensions but once they did, they did a great job of getting the puck to the forwards in space and joining rushes when they could. Steven Santini was a physical force in his own end tonight. He really looked good even when he was up against Warning and Rau. The steps that all six guys have made from Michigan to this point have been huge and in reality, that's what the staff wants to see at this point.
95 % of the time, I'm disappointed about tie and will usually go on a rampage about how bad the team played. I have to tell you, it's been a long time since I've been so proud walking out of the rink. That game was over. The Gophers were up 2-0 in front of their home crowd against the youngest team in college hockey who just happened to be starting a 17 year old goalie. This team could have given up like the last time we were up here. But they didn't, they fought each and every shift and if they continue to do that, man we've got a heck of a club.
1. The effort. It doesn't get any better than that. Each and every guy played with pride and determination tonight.
2. Secondary scoring. Two goals from Sit and a game-winning shootout goal from Brown. I'd say our bottom two lines are coming along just fine.
3. Steven Santini. Thought he was tremendous tonight. Not that I thought any defenseman was bad but I thought he played his best game of the year. +2 rating.
1. Nothing too concerning. Penalty kill needs work, so does power play. Not worried about Demko. He is a teenager and just won a shootout vs the top team in the country on the road. Let's get real.
Player of the game- Mike Sit
Next up- Gophers on Sunday.2 PM Eastern time
Note- Make sure to look at Sports Center's top plays tomorrow morning.