Series Recap: #20 Minnesota Swept by UMD
After sweeping Niagara last weekend, the Gopher hockey team became the victim this weekend dropping both games of the home-and-home series to the No. 8 University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.
It seems as though the Gophers never really had a shot in this series. They were outscored 7-2 between both games and it showed on the ice as they seemed to lack any sense of urgency to respond and stop the Bulldog attack.
Game 1 Friday night at Mariucci did not start and end well at all. Minnesota allowed three unanswered goals to start the game before freshman Ben Meyer got his first career goal as a Gopher near the end of the 2nd period to cut UMD's lead to 3-1. Sammy Walker would then get the game's next goal in the third to trim the Bulldogs' lead to one, but UMD would go on to score two unanswered goals to finish the game.
On Saturday night in Duluth, the Gophers woes from the previous night continued. Minnesota suffered their first shutout in nearly two years losing 2-0. And the shutout snapped a four-game goal and point streak for Walker. That's too bad! He really had something going. That was a career high for him, but the Gophers had to go screw it up!
The only highlights of the game were goaltender Jared Moe and the penalty kill. Moe suffered his first loss of the season, but saved 20 straight shots after allowing a goal on UMD's first shot of the night. And the Gophers did stop all five Bulldog powerplays. They at least have that going for them.
As we have seen in the first two weekends of the season, Minnesota implemented a two-goalie system with Jack LaFontaine getting the start Friday night, but did not end the night in goal. After allowing the fifth goal about 15 minutes into the third period on 19 shots faced, true freshman goalie Justen Close made his first collegiate appearance between the pipes to close out the game, saving one shot.
I have to mention, Close is native of Kindersley, Saskatchewan, which has a population of a little under 5,000 people. What a guy! Making it all the way down from the great Canadian province of Saskatchewan to play for the Maroon and Gold! That is awesome!
Beyond the goals from Meyers and Walker, only two other Gophers got points this weekend. Blake McLaughlin and Jackson LaCombe had an assist in game 1. And of course nothing came out of game 2 for any Gopher player because they were shutout. Plain awful!
UMD came into the series with only 1 win on the season, and just like that the Gophers 3-1 record has turned into 3-3 just like the Bulldogs. The Minnesota hockey squad better shape up for next weekend's conference opener against 5th-ranked Notre Dame in Minneapolis or else they could be in for a world of hurt. I remain optimistic!
Go Gophers! Pride on Ice!