Power play keeps clicking for Gophers in weekend sweep

David La

A charter member of the WCHA in 1951, Minnesota has long been the figurative big brother to in-state teams like Minnesota-Duluth.
So it was only fitting for Gophers senior Aaron Miskovich to bag one of his teams six power-play goals on the weekend following a roughing penalty by the Bulldogs Michael Miskovich — Aaron’s younger brother — Saturday night.
The Miskovich family saga served as a microcosm for the series: When Minnesota-Duluth became undisciplined, Minnesota’s power play administered the payback.
“Their power play was very, very good and that made the difference,” Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said.
The Gophers struck early Friday and often Saturday. For the weekend, Minnesota converted on 6 out of 13 opportunities.
After leading the WCHA with a 27.3-percent efficiency on the power play last season, the Gophers are 12-for-24 with the man advantage this season..
And they’re doing it with different looks.
Minnesota’s Erik Westrum lined up as a defenseman on the Gophers first power play of the weekend, taking a pass from Jordan Leopold at mid-ice. The captain refused to relinquish possession of the puck until he’d skated around the net and back out to the high slot.
Westrum then released a wrist shot into traffic, beating freshman goalie Adam Coole high on the stick side.
“Again, it’s their power plays,” Sandelin said. “You’ve got to be good on special teams.”
Minnesota-Duluth went 1 for 13 on the power play for the series.
Murphy breaks arm
Minnesota-Duluth suffered a personnel loss early this weekend when walk-on freshman Jim Murphy broke his arm after a blueline encounter with Minnesota’s Jeff Taffe.
“He’s out, he got slashed,” Sandelin said. “Its amazing to me that three (referees) can’t see it. The explanation was it was kind of in tight.”
Derow gives it a go
Bulldogs senior captain Derek Derow saw his first significant ice time this weekend after having arthroscopic knee surgery in September.
Derow scored Minnesota-Duluth’s only goal on Friday.
How’s Hauser?
Gophers goaltender Adam Hauser, while posting four wins and no losses thus far, also sports a less than stellar 88 percent save percentage.
The Bulldogs first goal of the weekend came on their first shot on goal.
“Everyone has confidence in Adam and his ability to play well,” Westrum said. “Its tough for him when he’s not facing a lot of shots right off the bat.”
Hauser saw a total of 13 shots in Friday’s game, 30 on Saturday.
“Adam looked sound,” coach Don Lucia said. “He hasn’t had to win any games for us yet, but as we get deeper into our schedule he’s going to have to win games for us.”

David La Vaque covers men’s hockey and welcomes comments at [email protected]