The first of the two biggest games left this year took place Thursday night with Michigan taking control early and winning decisively.
Alex Kile netted the game's first goal on a fanning whiff of the puck by Ryan Collins right in front of his net that Kile grabbed, dropped the goalie and deposited into the Gopher net.
The most important moment of what would be a 6-2 game came midway through the second period. With the Wolverines leading 1-0 the Gophers responded with a 10-1 shot advantage to start the second period but could not solve Steve Racine. With Nick Seeler in the box for cross-checking at the 11:15 mark Alex Kile scored to give the Wolverines a 2-0 lead and Michigan never looked back.
A four minute stretch would finish the Gophers off for good. Kyle Connor would score on a beautiful feed from JT Compher at the 11:54 mark of the third and Alex Kile completed his hat-trick less than two minutes later. The dagger came with the confused Gophers accidentally jumping off the ice to avoid a too-many-men call that wasn't coming that gave Max Shuart a 2-on-1 that he put into the net.
A breakaway goal from Kyle Connor made it 6-0 to clear the building and solidify his position as the Hobey Baker favorite.
The Gophers would add two goals late in the game to mull what was otherwise a fantastic performance from Steve Racine, something Red Berenson will not be happy with heading into Friday night's showdown but for now the team can relax and enjoy 1st place in the Big Ten.