Gophers lose first game in Big Ten finale, still earn top seed for NCAA Tournament

first_imgMinnesota led once in the game at the end of the first period, but Penn State took control from there and led 3-2 in the third period.One of Minnesota’s highest scorers, defenseman Jack Sadek, was able to break through and scored the equalizer, his third goal in three games.“It somehow popped out to me,” Sadek said to the media. “I just one-timed the puck. That’s what the coaches are kind of harping on us to do, the defensemen.”Penn State wasn’t involved in just one double overtime game during the Big Ten Tournament.The championship tilt between Wisconsin and Penn State also went to a second overtime period, but didn’t last as long as the semifinal game.Although Minnesota has won all four Big Ten regular season titles, it has only won one of the four tournaments. With Penn State’s victory and tournament title, the Gophers were confirmed as one of the four number-one seeds in the NCAA Tournament.Minnesota will enter the NCAA Tournament for its 37th time, a tournament record, which broke a tie that the team previously held with Michigan at 36.Minnesota had not played Notre Dame since last season, splitting the series that came in November of 2015. The Gophers are 1-0 against Notre Dame all-time in NCAA tournament games.“We haven’t played them this year, but we played them a little bit last year,” captain Justin Kloos said Sunday. “So we kind of know their style, they’re good offensively, [they have] offensive defensemen [who] like to get up in the play.” Gophers lose first game in Big Ten finale, still earn top seed for NCAA TournamentMinnesota set a new record for NCAA Tournament bids Sunday at 37.Carter JonesGoaltender Eric Schierhorn watches forward Leon Bristedt reach to block a pass against Wisconsin on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017 at Mariucci Arena. Drew CoveMarch 20, 2017Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintMinnesota fell out of the Big Ten Tournament in its first game Friday, but the Gophers still finished the weekend on top.While the team didn’t win, the Gophers were selected as a one-seed for the NCAA Tournament Sunday and will play No. 10 seed Notre Dame in Manchester, New Hampshire on Saturday.The rollercoaster weekend for Minnesota started Friday when the team played the longest game in Big Ten Tournament history with Penn State.The Gophers looked poised to hold off the Nittany Lions offense in the second overtime period, but the lone penalty in extra minutes on Minnesota proved fatal. A turnover along the boards put the Nittany Lions defenseman Erik Autio open in front of the Minnesota net and he broke the 3-3 tie 93:33 into the conference game, sending Penn State to its first Big Ten Tournament title game.Minnesota’s key to the extended game was its goaltender — Eric Schierhorn.In one of the strongest performances in his two years with the Gophers, the sophomore goalie faced 63 shots and saved 59 of them, a career-high for saves in a game.“The goalies played [well],” head coach Don Lucia told the media Friday. “I was very happy [with] the way Eric played. [He’s] played well the second half of the season.”Facing a total of 20 shots in the two overtime periods, and 43 in the first three frames, Schierhorn kept Minnesota in the game to prolong the Gopher’s hopes.Schierhorn has kept pace with his statistics from his freshman season and improved his save percentage to .908 and his goals against average to 2.60 this season. Minnesota was outshot 63-40, but managed to keep pace with a strong Penn State offense that was able to find its way through the Gophers’ defense.last_img read more

Nadal on a roll

first_imgPARIS,  (Reuters) – Rafael Nadal had expected to be spending his days fishing off his home island of Mallorca by the time he reached the age of 32 and his good friend Richard Gasquet probably wishes he was. Instead, the Frenchman will be the latest player in Nadal’s firing line as the Spaniard, who celebrates his birthday next week, moves inexorably towards an 11th French Open title.Nadal romped into the third round on Thursday with a 6-2 6-1 6-1 defeat of the outclassed Argentine Guido Pella.Far from slowing down, he appears fitter and faster and is striking his forehand with frightening power. Poor Pella never stood a chance once he had squandered four break points in the opening game of the match.Nadal has now won 27 consecutive sets at Roland Garros, including last year’s charge to La Decima.On this form, it looks hard to make a case for him not clamping his jaws around the Coupe des Mousquetaires trophy yet again and if Gasquet is to stop him he will have to improve on a head-to-head record which reads played 15, lost 15. It gets worse. The last 10 times the Frenchman has played against Nadal he has not even managed to win a set.“Ten years is a long time,” Gasquet said, recalling a conversation he had with his father after losing to the Spaniard in the semi-final of the Monte Carlo Masters in 2005, a few weeks before Nadal claimed his first French Open title.“I said, ‘He’s going to win and he might win a lot of Grand Slams, because he was incredible’. Maybe five or six, I didn’t think he would win 10 times.” Gasquet was rated as a future Grand Slam champion then.In all probability he will never win one major while Nadal already has 16. Yet the Spaniard could hardly have imagined he would still be ranked number one in the world 13 years after that clash and looking immovable on the Parisian clay.“You cannot predict the future. I just enjoy the things that are happening. At the age of 25, if you’d asked me when I’m 32 will I be here, I would say probably not,” he told reporters. “Probably I will be fishing or doing other things.“I am very happy to be where I am. Very happy to keep playing tennis at my age, because I heard all my career I will have a short career because of my style of game.”With rain showers predicted on Thursday, Nadal was in no mood for any overtime against Pella, dispatching his fellow left-hander with a barrage of brutal forehands on a warm and bouncy Court Suzanne Lenglen.Worryingly for the field, Nadal appears to be setting no limits on where his career might still go. “How do you know when you’ve reached your limit?” he said. “If you think you can’t improve because you have reached your limit, it’s not the right thing. You can improve small things, and small things at this level can lead to great things.“I don’t know where the limit is.”last_img read more