Kloos’ hat trick leads Minnesota to split

Sophomore forward Justin Kloos netted the first hat trick of his college career.

Ben Gotz

The Gophers played their first true away game of the season — and showed that they’re vulnerable.

The Gophers went to St. Cloud State on Friday and lost to the No. 7 Huskies 4-1.

But the Gophers and sophomore forward Justin Kloos rebounded the following day, winning at home to split the series.

Minnesota’s first loss was a sloppy affair for the team, and head coach Don Lucia said the team couldn’t afford many mistakes in the Huskies’ building.

“St. Cloud’s a good team,” Lucia said. “You have to give a great effort just to give yourself a chance [in their arena].”

Penalties plagued the Gophers throughout the game. Six different Gophers committed penalties, and the Huskies capitalized, scoring two power-play goals.

The Huskies got on the board first with a goal 15 minutes into the game. Then, with three seconds left in the first period, they scored again to head into the break up 2-0.

Power-play goals in the second and third periods widened St. Cloud’s lead to 4-0.

Sophomore forward Hudson Fasching put the Gophers on the board with a goal early in the third period, which junior defenseman Mike Reilly assisted.

The goal was Fasching’s fourth in six games, a number that ranks second to Kloos on the team.

Kloos scored his fifth goal of the season Saturday, an overtime tally that sealed a victory for the Gophers. The goal also gave Kloos his first collegiate hat trick.

The Gophers started strong Saturday after their lackluster performance Friday, outshooting the Huskies 12-2 in the first period.

“There’s no question Friday [that] we came out flat, and I think that was one thing we were going to prevent,” Kloos said on Saturday. “If we went down, we were going to go down with speed and effort.”

Kloos put the Gophers on the board first, 12 seconds into the second period. Kloos tapped in a pass from senior captain Kyle Rau and crashed into the net after his shot.

St. Cloud scored two goals in the second period to take the lead, but Kloos struck again with approximately 12 seconds remaining in the period to tie the game.

The two teams exchanged goals in the third period to keep the game tied 3-3 at the end of regulation.

That allowed Kloos to play hero in overtime.

“Obviously, it was Kloos’ night tonight,” Lucia said. “Kloos was in the right spot, where you need to be in front of the net and quick pass out and a nice, quick shot for the win.”

The Gophers came out of the weekend with a couple of injuries, and Lucia said he expects senior forward Travis Boyd to miss about a month due to a lower-body injury.

Junior defenseman Brady Skjei suffered an injury in the second period of Saturday’s game and did not return. Lucia said he is day-to-day.

The Gophers will continue to face tests in nonconference play going forward, as they take on Notre Dame next, which was ranked coming into the weekend.

“Obviously we’re not going to be undefeated this season,” sophomore forward Taylor Cammarata said. “There’s a lot of good teams out there, and anybody can win any night.”