Friday, November 27, 2009

Gophers Throttled by Michigan

The Gopher hockey team entered play in the College Hockey Showcase tournament on a three-game losing streak and off to a disappointing start in the WCHA. Their opponent on Friday night, Michigan, was in the midst of losing five out of six games, including four in a row at venerable Yost Arena, and was off to a slow start in the CCHA. After Friday's game, only Michigan is left feeling better about themselves.

Michigan thoroughlly dominated play and thumped Minnesota 6-0. The Wolverines controlled the play from the onset and were kept from making it a laugher earlier than it ended up thanks to the solid first period play of Minnesota goaltender Alex Kangas. The junior netminder stopped 14 of 15 Michigan shots in the opening stanza, as the Wolverines outshot the Gophers 15-5. Michigan kept applying the pressure in the second period, outshooting Minny 12-9, but finding the back of the net three times. They scored twice more in the third period to take the game.

Carl Hagelin scored twice for Michigan, and Louie Caporusso and Ben Winnett added a goal and an assist apiece to pace Michigan. Struggling Wolverines' goaltender Bryan Hogan was perfect in the nets, turning aside all 24 Gopher shots.

Kangas surrendered all six goals. Kevin Wehrs and Jake Hansen were each -3 tonight for the Gophers, and captain Tony Lucia was -2. It was a bad night all around for the maroon and gold.

The Gophers have now lost four in a row and the road gets no less difficult. Minnesota will head to East Lansing for a date with Michigan State Saturday night. The Spartans were throttled by Wisconsin 7-3 (Hastings native Derek Stepan had a goal and four assists for Bucky in this one) at home Friday evening and will be up for the Gophers.

Gopher Nation is getting a little restless after the latest loss, and this team was embarrassed Friday night in Ann Arbor. For the Gophers to become tournament-worthy, they have to start playing -- or at least looking -- like a tournament-caliber team; something this squad has not looked for the past three weekends. This blogger doesn't like the chances of the team righting the ship against State.

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