It wasn't pretty, but Minnesota got the job done against Air Force today with a 4-3 win. Air Force took a 1 goal lead into the 3rd period, and expanded upon that quickly with a Brett Nylander goal at the 5 minute mark. As time elapsed, it looked like Minnesota was bound to repeat last year's dismal tournament performance, and reduce themselves to Canuck-like playoff contenders. But a powerplay goal by Ryan Stoa at 11:50 of the 3rd brought the game back within reach, and put the momentum fully behind MN. Just over 2 minutes later, UMN tied it up after Erik Johnson's slapshot bounced off freshman Jim O'Brien and into the net. And then, less than a minute and half later, Mike Carman knocked his own rebound out of the air and into the net, securing the game for the #1 seed, and ensuring that this season would be longer than the last.
Overall, UMN was out worked and out played, but not out shot. Their persistence payed off, thanks to a "never die" attitude that will hopefully be carried into Sunday's game against the winner of the North Dakota/Michigan game currently taking place (North Dakota is up 7-5, late in the 2nd).
Stay tuned ... this tourny is going to be a barn burner.