Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sloppy Play Costs Gophers in Hockey Opener

The Gopher hockey team lost the series opener to Wisconsin on Friday night 4-2, and they have only themselves to blame.

Turning the puck over nearly 20 times, the Gophers were badly out-shot and, often times, badly out-played by the Badgers at the Kohl Center. Sconnie out-shot Minnesota 32-18 for the game, and the Badgers' stifling forecheck caused the Gophers problems all night long.

Blake Geoffrion scored 24 seconds into the game to give Wisconsin a 1-0 lead they would hold through the first period. Mike Hoeffel tied the score for the Gophers just 1:31 into the second frame, but Wisconsin's Cody Goloubef tallied off a Minnesota defensive zone turnover less than a minute later to give the Badgers the lead for good. Geoffrion's second goal of the game late in the second period gave Wisconsin a precious two-goal lead after two periods.

Patrick White answered on the power play halfway through the third period and gave the Gophers some jump in their collective step for the next seven minutes. However, Ben Street executed a perfect give-and-go pass from Michael Davies to salt the game away with 90 seconds remaining.

Alex Kangas played better than his 28-for-32 line suggests, as the Gophers once again left him out to dry far too many times. Brett Bennett was not nearly as busy on the other end of the ice for the Badgers, but kicked away 16 shots for his third win of the season.

The Gophers need to get it together Saturday night in order to have a chance as a series split. If they turn the puck over as much as they did Friday night and do not execute their face-offs better, they'll be run out of the building rather quickly.

Elsewhere in the WCHA:

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