A career night for Zach Hyman (Florida Panthers draft pick) and Cutler Martin against Minnesota overshadowed the loss of Michigan captain Andrew Copp (Winnipeg Jets) to a game misconduct midway through the third period and a hectic finish.
It usually does in victory - the team's ninth in eleven games.
Hyman, a senior forward had four points for Michigan Friday night, but it was freshman defenseman Martin who scored the biggest goal of his career for the Wolverines, getting an overtime winner 2:16 into the period for a 4-3 win at Yost Arena. The duo took advantage of turnovers and flat feet to connect on the team's first and final goals.
Michigan (11-7-0, 3-1-0-0 Big Ten) takes all three conference points with the overtime win against the Gophers (10-6-1, 1-1-1-0 Big Ten) in the first game of a two-game Big Ten series.
Gopher goalie Adam Wilcox (Tampa Bay Lightning) made 26 saves in defeat.
Minnesota got off to a fast start, out-shooting the Wolverines 8-3 in the first ten minutes (16-7 in the first period) and crashing the net. That paid off with Connor Reilly scoring his team-leading ninth goal of the season 7:03 into the game when he tapped home a Ryan Collins (Columbus Blue Jackets) rebound past Steve Racine.
Connor Reilly's new approach paying dividends
How watching video and talking with a mental coach to work on his biggest muscle has transformed a former fourth liner with a good shot into Minnesota's leading goal scorer midway through the season
Reilly's goal extended his point streak to a career-high seven games.
Hyman tied the game 1:44 into the second period and in the process hit double digits for the first time. Martin found the streaking 6'1", 205 lbs with a stretch pass with Hyman faking Wilcox on the breakaway.
Continuing his scoring touch from the World Juniors, Dylan Larkin's (Detroit Red Wings) fourth goal of the year gave Michigan its first lead of the night with 12:12 remaining in regulation. However, that lasted less than three minutes.
Copp was called for checking Gophers captain Kyle Rau (Panthers) from behind in the Michigan zone 20 seconds after Larkin's goal and received a game misconduct. Minnesota made the most of the opportunity. The Gophers, entering the five minute major on a 1 out of 12 stretch with the power play, lit the lamp for two on Copp's penalty with goals by Justin Kloos and Travis Boyd (Washington Capitals) to take a 3-2 lead.
It's the first time in three games Racine, who made 32 saves Friday allowed more than one goal.
Justin Selman scored his first goal since November 2013 when he one-timed a pass from a falling Hyman in front of the net to tie the game before Martin's winner in overtime. If anything, the swing in momentum felt like a representation of the last month. Michigan is playing its best hockey right while Minnesota, 4-5-1 in its last ten games, has shown its potential mixed disappointing results.
Michigan didn't help matters, taking advantage and showing why the Wolverines and Gophers were projected to be the top two teams in the Big Ten. Whether it was getting beat on the first goal, getting caught out of position on a shorthanded attempt on Larkin's power play goal, a couple posts or not clearing the zone on Martin's game-winner, Minnesota's success was overshadowed by its mistakes.
Now the Gophers find itself on the Pairwise bubble.
The two teams will play again tomorrow (Saturday January 10) at 3:00 p.m. CT/4:00 p.m. ET. Fox Sports North Plus and Fox Sports Detroit will broadcast the game.
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate