Saturday, February 13, 2010

Gophers Still Cannot Solve Denver

In three games this season against the Denver Pioneers, the Gophers have allowed a grand total of nine goals and have managed to score but once on certain All-American Denver goaltender Marc Cheverie. On Friday night, Chevy was outstanding again, making 44 saves in DU's 3-1 victory over the desperate Gophers.

In a game which was scoreless through the first two periods, Denver's Tyler Ruegsegger scored less than a minute into the third on a goal which caught Minny goaltender Alex Kangas severely out of position. The Gophers were sloppy over the next few minutes and were seemingly out of the game when Joe Colborne lit the lamp to give the Pios a seeming insurmountable 2-0 lead. However, the Gophers' Patrick White make it interesting with his tally with 1:38 remaining, marking the Gophers' first goal on Cheverie in almost nine periods of hockey. However, Denver's senior captain Rhett Rakhashani salted things away with an unassisted goal 17 seconds later to clinch the victory.

Kangas played ok, stopping 28 of 31, but he needed to stand on his head Friday night to match Cheverie, and he didn't. The team overall played very well, save for most of the third period's initial ten minutes, but could not solve Cheverie.

Once again, the Gophers missed an opportunity to pass North Dakota and move into sixth place in the WCHA. The Sioux lost at St. Cloud on Friday night and remain one point ahead of the Gophers in the league standings. Minnesota remains tied with idle Alaska-Anchorage for seventh place. The Gophers also missed an opportunity to make up ground on fifth place Colorado College, who holds the final home ice spot for the WCHA first round playoffs. The Tigers are Minnesota's opponent next weekend and are seven points ahead of the Gophers. However, Minnesota has games in hand over CC and the Tigers do not play this weekend, providing the Gophers with two weekends of opportunities to dig into the lead. So much for that.

Saturday is another must-win for the Gophers' very slim NCAA Tournament chances. If this team has a run in it, a road win at Denver would be a good place to start. Time's a wastin'.

Elsewhere in the WCHA:

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