Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nice Comeback Game For Gopher Pucksters

One night after being blown off the Yost Arena ice by Michigan in Ann Arbor, the Gopher hockey team put together a fine effort against #6 Michigan State on Saturday night. Holding a 1-0 lead late in the third period, the Gophers allowed a Michigan State goal with 3:25 remaining, only to receive a game-winner from struggling senior winger Mike Carman less than a minute later to give the Gophers a 2-1 win in the College Hockey Showcase.

Sophomore goaltender Kent Patterson was brilliant in this game, stopping 37 of 38 Michigan State shots. Patterson rebounded nicely from his nightmarish appearance against Bemidji State in which he allowed four goals on ten shots in relief of starter Alex Kangas two weeks ago. Patterson picked up his first victory in 11 appearances in maroon and gold, and improved his save percentage to .898 on the season.

The Gophers peppered MSU goaltender Drew Palmisano -- who was spectacular --with 42 shots on the night. Jordan Schroeder's goal from Nico Sacchetti 3:32 into the second period broke a scoreless tie, and it looked like it may have ended that way. Michigan State's Andrew Rowe's goal pumped some life into the Munn Ice Arena crew and it looked as if the Spartans were going to be able to steal a point from the Gophers. However, Carman's goal less than a minute later prevented any Spartan point.

More importantly, the victory broke Minnesota's four-game losing streak. The fine effort came directly on the heels of the team's worst performance of the season. 

Gopher Nation should be able to ease off coach Don Lucia and his crew for a while after this effort. The Gophs are set for a home-and-home series against Minnesota State next weekend: at Mariucci Arena on Friday night and in Mankato on Saturday. The Mavericks are 6-7-1 on the season, but did sweep Michigan Tech at home last weekend. Michigan Tech is the Gophers' next opponent after MSU before the team takes three weeks off for the holidays. 

With some momentum going into the holidays, the Gophers will be in a position to put the early-season struggles behind them. Saturday night in East Lansing was a start, but the effort needs to continue against Minnesota State next weekend. If the effort is not there next weekend, the howls will begin anew. 

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