Gophers hockey endures exhibition loss

The fourth-ranked Minnesota men’s hockey squad endured a 5-4, overtime exhibition loss to the U.S. Under-18 Team on Friday night at Maricuci Arena. That gave the U.S. squad its first win over the Gophers in six meetings.

All nine goals on Friday came at even strength, as the U.S. Under-18 Team improved to 1-4-1 all-time against Minnesota.

The Gophers struck first in Friday’s exhibition, with a pair of early tallies. Jack Glover snuck a screened-shot into the net after being set up by Vinni Lettieri at 13:40 of the opening stanza and Ryan Reilly bounced a wraparound off a U-18 defenseman and into the net at 15:42 on a fast break from Christian Isackson and Ben Marshall.

The Under-18 Team answered back in similar fashion during the second period, with goals from Caleb Jones at 3:36 and Auston Matthews at 6:06 to make it in even game, but Steve Johnson reclaimed the lead for the Gophers later in the period when Kyle Rau set up the freshman defensman at 13:09.

After Joseph Masonius evened the score at 3-all 7:02 into the third period, Rau scored one of his own at 16:05 after being set up by Leon Bristedt and Sam Warning, but Matthew Tkachuk found the equalizer for the U.S. squad with 1:30 left in regulation.

Matthews notched the game winner for his second of the game at 3:27.

Nick Lehr produced 35 saves for the Gophers, while Luke Opilka made 25 stops for the U.S. squad.