Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gophers Bitten By 'Dogs

The Gopher hockey team played well in its weekend series against UMD yet came away with nothing. On both nights, the Gophers saw 2-0 leads evaporate; Friday into a 4-3 OT loss and Saturday in a 3-2 defeat. The Gophers have now lost three in a row, are 2-4 for the month, and have two tough road games remaining in a difficult November.

The Gophers got going Friday night with two even strength goals by Jordan Schroeder and Jake Hansen within the first five minutes of the second period, UMD's potent power play started the comeback. Jack Connolly netted his eighth of the season with the man advantage just over two minutes later, and Cody Danberg tied it with just over four minutes remaining in the second period.

UMD took the lead in the third as Jack Connolly scored his second of the night. The Gophers tied it late in the period on a goal by Nico Sacchetti with just 2:19 remaining in the game. It looked like the two teams were going to play to a tie, but UMD's Travis Oleksuk won it with 12 seconds remaining in the overtime period to give the first game to the 'Dogs.

On Saturday, the Gophers stormed out to a 2-0 lead in the first period behind an even strength goal by Mike Hoeffel and a two-man power play tally by Kevin Wehrs. Minnesota got themselves into trouble by taking three consecutive penalties after the Wehrs tally and put the potent Bulldogs' power play on the ice far too many times. Tony Lucia was stopped on a short-handed breakaway early in the second period which would have given the Gophers a seemingly-insurmountable 3-0 lead. Instead, Minny took another penalty and Jack Connolly scored his third goal of the weekend into an open net. Kyle Schmidt scored on a laser beam from long range just over three minutes into the third period to tie the score. The 'Dogs looked to take the lead midway through the period as the puck went into the net following a scrum, but official replay was inconclusive. However, with just over two minutes remaining in regulation, Mike Montgomery's pass bounced off Gopher defensemen Cade Fairchild and Brian Schack and snuck into the Gopher net to give UMD the victory and the weekend sweep.

UMD has now won seven of a possible eight points at Mariucci Arena over the past two seasons.

Alex Kangas was not sharp on Friday night for the Gophers, stopping 28 of 32 but was out of position several times. He played much better on Saturday, but the second UMD goal was from a long way out. He still turned aside 30 UMD shots in the Saturday game. Kenny Reiter picked up the victory for the Bulldogs and turned away 26 Minnesota shots, including 12 in a busy third period. Brady Hjelle picked up the start Saturday and was spectacular, stopping 36 of 38 Minnesota shots.

The Gophers now have to travel to Michigan to play the Wolverines on Friday night and the red-hot Michigan State Spartans on Saturday. The Gophers can take solace in the fact that they played well both nights against UMD, but will need to start piling up victories soon. However, it's far too early to push the panic button on this season and declare it a lost cause.

Elsewhere in the League:

No comments:

Post a Comment