NCAA Game Night: 12-30-12

No. 12 Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 1 @ No. 9 Quinnipiac Bobcats 3

F Matthew Peca, QU: 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 17 GP, 5-3-8, +4, 10 PIM

Quinnipiac completed the 2-game sweep of the Mavericks with a 3-1 win on Sunday. Lightning prospect Matt Peca had an assist in the game to give him three points for the weekend and possibly get himself back on track toward last year’s point-per-game pace.

No. 1 Boston College Eagles 1 @ No. 4 Minnesota Golden Gophers 8

G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Win, 32 saves on 33 shots, 1 assist, *First Star*
Season totals: 17 GP, 12-2-2, 1.63 GAA, .927 sv%, 3 SO

Adam Wilcox (pictured) was named tournament MVP as Minnesota crushed top-ranked Boston College to win the Mariucci Classic championship. Wilcox, who was also named to the all-tournament team, was solid all night and spectacular when he needed to be, stopping 32 shots. BC’s lone goal came with the Gophers up 7-0 late in the third period and trying to kill off a 5-on-3 power play. Steven Whitney scored on a slapshot from the circles through traffic that went over Wilcox’s shoulder as he crouched to see the shot. Wilcox stopped at least five prime scoring chances in the first period when it was a close game, then in the second came up huge multiple times, including a highlight-reel glove save on a 2-on-1. The puck carrier had his passing option taken away from him on the rush, so after trying to out-wait Wilcox, fired high glove side. Wilcox snared the puck and snapped it into his body, reminiscent of Patrick Roy in his prime.

He came into the game seventh in the nation in goals against average and drew endless praise from Fox Sports commentators, who called Wilcox a “star” and “one of the top goalies in the country.” Noted Minnesota hockey journalist Michael Russo called him “the real deal.”

Wilcox also had his first collegiate assist in the game. Although he likes to play the puck, his helper came when he re-directed a bad angle shot up the center of the ice. The puck split the BC defensemen and Minnesota's Sam Warning (undrafted) pulled away from the defense to corral the puck and deke the goalie for a shorthanded goal.

Wilcox helped the Gophers exact some revenge on BC, who beat Minnesota, 6-1, in the Frozen Four last year on the Lightning’s home ice in Tampa. Things don’t get any easier for the Gophers as their next match is against No. 2 Notre Dame a week from Tuesday.

No. 8 Western Michigan Broncos 0 @ Michigan Tech Huskies 4

D Luke Witkowski, WMU: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 18 GP, 1-3-4, -6, 14 PIM

WMU came up short in their bid to win the Great Lakes Invitational title, falling to unranked Michigan Tech, 4-0. Witkowski was on the ice for what turned out to be the game-winning goal, although he wasn’t directly involved in the play. A Bronco was tripped in the corner which resulted in a Tech shot from a bad angle that beat the Western goaltender, Frank Slubowski, who was not as sharp as he usually is during the game. Witkowski had a couple scoring chances, including a shot on the power play after he pinched down the weak side. His shot was disrupted as he pulled the puck from receiving it on his backhand to his forehand. One notable comment from the Fox Sports Detroit commentators was their suggestion that Witkowski and his defensive partner, Danny DeKeyser, be allowed to rush the puck more. Former NHL coach Andy Murray has WMU playing a staunch defensive system and the defense rarely jumps into the play. Scoring chances are not abundant and they only scored one goal in the 2-game tournament.

Tech’s Phoenix Copley didn’t allow a goal in the tournament and stopped 32 shots on Sunday for the shutout – his second career shutout. Copley, who hails from North Pole, Alaska, was the backup to Lightning prospect Adam Wilcox for some of last season at USHL Tri-City.

*USCHO poll used