'Monday Night Hockey' provided twists, turns and drama

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fairly easy
Between a wild, 6-4 win for the Gophers men's team over Arizona State in a game that featured a lacrosse goal, to a thrilling triumph for Team USA in the World Junior Championship, Monday had plenty to offer. More good news: Tuesday has a U.S.-Canada gold medal matchup.
Throughout the first nine games of the season, the Gophers men's hockey team used tight defense, outstanding goaltending and timely scoring to fashion a 9-0 record and ascend to the top of the national polls. Monday night, the formula was quite different, but the result remained the same in a 6-4 victory over Arizona State to complete a nonconference sweep at 3M Arena at Mariucci.

Mondays game might not have been a Picasso, though the fact that the Gophers could throw out a 'B-minus' game and still win is a positive sign. They made plenty of mistakes, including a couple of offensive zone penalties, and hung goalie Jared Moe out to dry a few times. And the fact that they weren't demoralized by the incredible, lacrosse-style goal by Johnny Walker that gave the Sun Devils a 3-2, second-period lead spoke volumes.

"The rally back was pretty important for us,'' said Blake McLaughlin, whose first goal of the season gave the Gophers the lead for good after Sampo Ranta's laser shot tied it 3-3 only 1:31 after Walker's goal. "When you see a goal like that, it lights a fire under you.''

The next test for the Gophers is a road matchup against talent-laden Wisconsin, their nearest pursuer in the Big Ten, on Saturday and Sunday in Madison.

U.S. going for gold

If you haven't been paying attention to the World Junior Championship, you're missing…
Randy Johnson, Rjohnson Startribune.Com
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