Saturday, March 13, 2010

Gophers Don't Show Up in Grand Forks

The Gopher hockey team was embarrassed Friday night in Grand Forks, losing to North Dakota 6-0 in first round WCHA playoff action. UND's Danny Kristo scored 1:39 into the game to launch the Siouxies into a period which would see them out-shoot Minnesota 12-4 and take a 3-0 lead on the scoreboard.

Multiple law offender Matt Frattin lit the lamp twice for UND and goaltender Brad Eidsness turned aside all 27 Gopher shots for his second shutout of the season against Minny.

There was nothing - repeat, nothing - redeeming about the Gophers' effort on Friday night. The team came out flat from the opening drop and played that way throughout. The Sioux out-hustled, out-moved, out-skated, and out-scored the Gophers all night long. The problem area for Minnesota all season long - defensive zone turnovers - cost the team dearly Friday night. Goaltender Alex Kangas was not at the top of his game, but was defenseless on many different occasions Friday. The Gophers played like a team which had the luxury of being able to drop a game in the playoffs instead of a squad fighting for its NCAA Tournament life.

It's surprising (shocking, really) that the Gophers came out this flat in a playoff game in which the team absolutely needs to win the Final Five in order to qualify for the NCAAs. Getting to the Final Five is impossible if the team loses in the first round, which the Gophers are now in danger of doing for the first time since 1998. Hopefully, the effort will be there Saturday, as the Gophers now need a two game sweep of UND to keep its post-season hopes alive.

Elsewhere in the playoffs:

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