Hauser helps U in Wisconsin sweep

Tim Nichols

With the big two of the WCHA coming up — Colorado College and North Dakota — a good showing in Wisconsin was critical for the Gophers men’s hockey team.
Mission accomplished.
Minnesota (5-2-1 overall, 4-1-1 in the WCHA) received stellar goaltending from freshman Adam Hauser to sweep Wisconsin (1-4-0, 1-3-0) in a physical and penalty-filled series. The Gophers won both games by 3-2 scores.
“He came up with some huge saves,” coach Doug Woog said. “He was our bookend. He gave us a chance to stand tall later on.”
The freshman stopped 48 of 52 shots this weekend and pushed his win streak to four games.
“I felt well in the first period,” Hauser said. “It’s a new arena, it’s Wisconsin, psycho fans. But I think Willy (Marvin) had it a little rougher by playing in St. Cloud on that particular night.”
The play of Hauser also impressed Wisconsin coach Jeff Sauer, who has seen his fill of great goaltenders thus far.
“Don’t talk about goaltenders,” Sauer said. “We’ve had three goaltenders play against us, and all three of them have had career nights.”
The solid play of Hauser caught the eye and won the respect of his teammates. Junior winger Dave Spehar said Hauser has the ability to be a cornerstone for the Gophers.
“He showed tonight that he can play in this league,” Spehar said. “He can be the backbone of a team.”
The most important of Hauser’s saves came Saturday on a two-on-one when Badgers’ center Dan Bjornlie passed to Matt Doman for the one-timer. But Hauser was equal to the task, making a spectacular sliding save.
Hauser credits his recent success to sticking with goaltending fundamentals.
“I’ve just tried to stay square, go wherever (the skater) goes,” Hauser said.
Hauser needed to be big, especially on Friday, when there was chaos all around him.
Friday’s game featured 31 penalties, including a major and a game misconduct for Wisconsin’s T.R. Moreau.
The penalty-filled game allowed Woog to see if his team — and his young goaltender — has what it takes to play in any situation.
“We had to find out if we were going to be disciplined,” Woog said. “I think we needed it. We needed to find out what we were made of. We needed to play with grit.”
With the wealth of penalties this weekend, 43 in all, Minnesota’s devastating power play once again took center stage. The Gophers have been lethal with the man advantage, going 4-for-14 this weekend.
“They (Wisconsin) caused themselves some problems with penalties,” Woog said. “We took advantage of those opportunities.”
Sophomore Erik Westrum and Spehar led the scoring barrage on the power play this weekend. Both players scored two power play goals this weekend.
The Gophers also excelled by not giving the Wisconsin crowd — which set a single-game attendance record Saturday with 14,059 — much to cheer about when they put the clamps on the blue line late in the third period Saturday.
“I think our defense played well,” Woog said. “We did a nice job of clearing the puck. When we didn’t, that’s when they had their opportunities, and the crowd got excited. But we were pretty consistent at chipping the puck out.”
The Gophers played hard for two games, and reaped the fruits of their labor by receiving four points and increasing their conference lead heading into the home series with Colorado College. It was the perfect way to start the most important part of the schedule — so far.
“It was a great team effort all weekend,” Spehar said. “We stepped it up. It was a great weekend for our hockey club.”

SCORING SUMMARIES

SATURDAY
Wisconsin 0 2 0 — 2
Gophers 1 2 0 — 3

FIRST PERIOD: Minn — Pohl 1 (Angell 4), 17:55.
SECOND PERIOD: Wis — Anderson (Tanabe, Reinprecht), PPG 7:21. Wis — Doman (Bjornlie, Tanabe), 10:06. Minn — Spehar 5 (Berg 6, Smith 4), PPG 16:53. Minn — Westrum 3 (Anderson 4), PPG 17:58.
THIRD PERIOD: No scoring.

FRIDAY
Wisconsin 0 2 0 — 2
Gophers 0 2 1 — 3

FIRST PERIOD: No scoring.
SECOND PERIOD: Wis — Kuk (Reinprecht), :25. Minn — Westrum 2 (Berg 5, Smith 3), PPG 13:33. Wis — Davyduke (Tanabe, Anderson), PPG 17:29. Minn — Berg 4 (Spehar 4), 19:15.
THIRD PERIOD: Minn — Spehar 4 (Leopold 7, Angell 3), PPG 5:37.