Gophers sweep St. Cloud State in home and home series

Hockey vs St. Cloud

Stephen Maturen

Hockey vs St. Cloud

At the conclusion of the Minnesota menâÄôs hockey teamâÄôs 2-1 win over St. Cloud State on Saturday, the Battle Hymn of the Republic was played, signifying the teamâÄôs first sweep over a Western Collegiate Hockey Association opponent in almost a year. âÄúItâÄôs been awhile, too long,âÄù Gophers coach Don Lucia said. âÄúThatâÄôs a great sound.âÄù After opening the season with a 3-2 win on Friday night at the National Hockey Center, the Gophers returned home to Mariucci Arena to complete the first conference sweep since November 9-10 of last year when the team swept Minnesota State in another home and home series. âÄúWe didnâÄôt have too many of these, last year,âÄù junior forward Jay Barriball said. âÄúObviously, it helps the confidence of the whole team.âÄù Barriball found a confidence boost of his own in SaturdayâÄôs game when he picked up the eventual game-winning goal âÄî something he didnâÄôt have too many of last year; although, with six goals, he returned as MinnseotaâÄôs leading point-getter. Freshman forward Jordan Schroeder picked up his third assist of the season when he found an open Barriball in front of the net. After showing patience that one would assume Barriball had lost after his point production fell so dramatically from his freshman to sophomore seasons, the Prior Lake native calmly waited for the puck to bounce from his skate to his stick before tallying his first goal of the season. He then went crazy. âÄúThere was a lot of anger from some goals that werenâÄôt scored in the past,âÄù Barriball said. âÄúI felt real good; I had to let out a big [celebration].âÄù Barriball wasnâÄôt the only junior that came up big for Minnesota this weekend. Forwards Ryan Stoa and Mike Carman tallied a goal and an assist in FridayâÄôs game; Carman scored again on Saturday while StoaâÄôs score in the series conclusion was waived when officials said he moved his leg to deflect the puck in off his shin. Both Carman and Stoa missed the WCHA opening series last year when the Gophers were swept at Colorado College. Minnesota lost again two weeks later to Denver in the teamâÄôs worst conference start under Lucia. The teamâÄôs difficult schedule this season âÄî this weekendâÄôs series with St. Cloud State, followed by a road series with Wisconsin next weekend âÄî had Lucia concerned of a reoccurrence before the sweep. âÄúWe could dig ourselves a hole again, but now weâÄôve got two in the bank.âÄù Junior forwards Tony Lucia and Ryan Flynn each tallied a goal over the weekend, meaning every scorer for the Gophers was a member of the junior class. Notes: Junior defenseman David Fischer was scratched with an injury on Saturday and is listed as day-to-day. The team is not disclosing the injury. Freshman Sam Lofquist took FischerâÄôs spot on the roster. The Gophers were 2-for-13 on the power-play, but held the Huskies to just 1-for-16. StoaâÄôs goal Friday night came in a short-handed situation, while CarmenâÄôs came just seconds after he got out of the box. âÄúI actually told the guy [in the box] that itâÄôd be nice to get a breakaway and get a goal.âÄù