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Big Ten Hockey Tournament: Gophers end season on loss to Michigan

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Michigan Wolverines 5

Minnesota Gophers 3

After a late-game rally last night to advance to the final round of the Big 10 hockey tournament, Minnesota was unable to overcome deeper, more experienced Michigan team, ending their season with a 20-12-7 record.

1) Penalties and power plays make all the difference

While the Gophers started the game with a little more zip than they did during Friday's sluggish first period, an early boarding penalty for Gopher forward Ryan Reilly allowed Michigan to force an easy advantage goal at the 9-minute mark. Minnesota would give up another power play goal early in the second period and one more in the third, spending 8 agonizing minutes with a player in the penalty box throughout the night.

2) Strong second period nearly wins it

After a spotty opening to the second period, the Gophers gained a burst of energy from sophomore forward Leon Brisdet, who hammered Vinni Lettieri assist from the slot to put Minnesota on the scoreboard. The Gophers would score two more unanswered goals in the second period, one from defenseman Jake Bischoff, who snuck one around Michigan goalie Steve Racine during a chaotic scrum around the net, and one from Justin Kloos on the Gopher's only power play of the evening.

3) Gophers season draws to a close

Minnesota needed a Big 10 tournament win to land a berth in the NCAA hockey tournament, so tonight's loss marks the end of the team's 2015-2016 campaign. In a postgame press conference, head coach Don Lucia was complementary in summation of his team's season.

Tweet of the Night:

A massive shot from team captain Justin Kloos gives the team hope in the second.

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