Minnesota suffers first loss of the season

The Minnesota menâÄôs hockey team broke a streak of starting four-straight weekends with a tie on Friday when the top-ranked Gophers outplayed Denver 5-2 on the road. The next night it was DenverâÄôs turn to end one âÄî the GophersâÄô 11-game unbeaten streak. The No. 10 Pioneers (7-5-1 overall, 5-4-1 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) snapped a three-game skid of their own with SaturdayâÄôs 4-0 shutout, which was MinnesotaâÄôs first loss of the season. A night after giving up five goals and being benched the last eight minutes of action, Denver sophomore goalie Marc Cheverie recorded his first career shutout on Saturday. âÄúI thought Marc Cheverie responded very well,âÄù Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky said. âÄúHe had a tough outing last night, but he was right on his game tonight.âÄù The Florida Panthers seventh-round draft pick in 2006 turned away 34 shots on the night âÄî the first time all season the Gophers have been kept off the scoreboard. âÄúI just wanted to get the win,âÄù Cheverie said. âÄúThat was the No. 1 team in the country right there, and we showed we could play with the big dogs.âÄù Friday Fire After managing only five goals in five games against Denver all of last season, the Gophers (7-1-4, 6-1-3) matched that number Friday night. Four of MinnesotaâÄôs Friday night goals came from the teamâÄôs top line of Jay Barriball, Ryan Stoa and Jordan Schroeder. âÄúWe got off to a good start, and thatâÄôs what we need on the road,âÄù Schroeder said. Although he contributed two goals and an assist in the win, Schroeder uncharacteristically struggled on faceoffs âÄî going 3-for-15 on the night. But the teamâÄôs ace on the draw made the faceoffs he did win count. During a third period power-play, Schroeder slipped the puck between his legs and onto the stick of Stoa, who rifled the puck past Cheverie for his team-high 10th goal of the season. The power-play goal was MinnesotaâÄôs only of the weekend, although the Pioneers didnâÄôt give them many chances âÄî two on Friday and six on Saturday. Series notes Minnesota penalty killing units gave up just one goal on 14 chances over the weekend. Junior defenseman Brian Schack and senior forward Justin Bostrom each added an assist in FridayâÄôs win for their first points of the season. Sophomore forward Tyler Bozak , who had the Gophers number all last season, scored one goal in each game. Denver sat four players, including freshman forward Luke Salazar, following FridayâÄôs loss. âÄúIâÄôm concerned about some of the things happening with our team. There certainly is a different sense within the locker room,âÄù Gwozdecky said following FridayâÄôs loss. âÄúWe havenâÄôt been the same team over the last three games that we were a couple weeks ago.âÄù SchroederâÄôs fifth and sixth goal move him one behind Salazar for the most of any Division I rookie. His 17 points and 11 assists are already the most among national freshmen.