MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - No. 6 Northeastern advanced to the final of the Dodge Holiday Classic and held a 2-1 lead but took a 3-2 overtime loss to No. 4 Minnesota on Saturday at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, Minn. Patrick White scored the game-winner for the Gophers seven seconds into a power play in overtime. Wade MacLeod and Tyler McNeely scored for Northeastern.
MacLeod, defenseman Louis Liotti and goaltender Brad Thiessen were named to the Dodge Holiday Classic All-Tournament team. White, forward Justin Bostrom and defenseman Aaron Ness were named to the All-Tournament team for Minnesota. Thiessen made 27 saves in the game. With the loss, Northeastern fell to 12-4-2 overall while Minnesota improved to 10-3-5 overall.
Northeastern scored the first goal of the game off a four-on-one rush. Liotti forced a turnover in the defensive zone and passed the puck to MacLeod, who took it all the way into the Minnesota zone. MacLeod had options but with Gopher defensemen chasing he opted for a strong wrist shot over the glove of Minnesota goalie Alex Kangas (26 saves) at 14:28 in the first period. It was his seventh goal of the season and extended his goal-scoring streak to three games.
Minnesota was able to tie it four minutes later on a play with Liotti in the penalty box for boarding. Jay Barriball passed the puck to Ness in the right circle and Ness fired the puck into the crease. It went off Tony Lucia's knee and into the net at 18:33 in the first period.
Northeastern was able to get the lead in the second period on a great play by McNeely. Thiessen cleared the puck to Dennis McCauley, and McCauley passed the puck ahead to McNeely in the neutral zone. McNeely took it up the left side with the puck on his forehand, faked a pass to the middle and backhanded it into the top right corner of the net, beating Kangas's glove. It was McNeely's seventh goal of the season.
The Gophers were also impressive in the second period, holding the puck in the Northeastern zone upwards of two minutes on one occasion, and outshooting the Huskies 12-7 in the second. Thiessen was stellar in the period. He stopped Ryan Stoa breakaway 4:00 into the second, one of his 12 saves in the frame. The Huskies were able to kill off a pair of Minnesota power plays in the second.
It was more back-and-forth action in the third. Early in the period, Minnesota's Ryan Flynn rang a shot off the post. McCauley had a similar play for the Huskies when his shot from the left circle hit the near post.
Ness scored the tying goal with a shot from the point at 11:32 in the third period. His slapshot went through a screen and into the top of the net, nearly getting deflected by Jake Hansen. The play was reviewed by the referees for possible high sticking by Hansen, but it was ruled a goal.
Northeastern had more chances late in the third period, including a MacLeod shot off the post on a three-on-one rush and a Ryan Ginand shot shortly after, but the game went into extras.
In overtime, Thiessen attempted to clear the puck off the glass but it went over and out of play. He took a penalty for delay of game at 1:31, setting up an overtime power play for the Gophers. Off the ensuing faceoff in the Northeastern zone, White streaked across the middle and backhanded the puck into the top of the net for the game-winner at 1:38 in OT.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Northeastern. It was just the second time this season that Northeastern allowed two power-play goals. It was senior forward Rob Rassey's 100th career game.
Northeastern resumes its Hockey East slate next weekend with a home-and-home series against Merrimack. The Huskies host Merrimack on Friday at 7 p.m. in a game that will be broadcast on 890 ESPN Boston and WRBB Radio and have live video on GoNU.TV. Saturday's game is at the Volpe Center at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on 890 ESPN Boston.