Men’s hockey Live Blog: Gophers vs. (5)North Dakota

Max Sanders

FINAL-Minnesota is humiliated, left to wonder how they are handed their worst loss of the season, and arguably of the Don Lucia era, in a game they had to win… 4:27 3rd-North Dakota hadn’t scored in eight minutes, so they were due for another, and Matt Frattin obliged, firing a shot from just inside the left side of the blue line high and past Patterson for the goal. GOPHERS 0; NORTH DAKOTA 6. 5:40 3rd-Duel penalties are issued, as Cepis is called for unsportsmanlike conduct, and Malone is called for interference, leaving play at 4-on-4 for the next two minutes. 9:22 3rd-The Sioux’s Ben Blood is sent to the box for contact to the head. 12:14 3rd-North Dakota adds another. Mario Lamoureux took a loose puck that bounced in front of the Minnesota crease and chipped it past Patterson for the score. GOPHERS 0; NORTH DAKOTA 5. 19:15 3rd-Patterson is getting tested early, as North Dakota is firing shot after shot on the sophomore. Note: Alex Kangas has been replaced in net by Kent Patterson. Second Intermission Re-Cap: Goals: Gophers 0; North Dakota 1(Frattin) Shots on Goal: Gophers 9; North Dakota 13 Penalties: Gophers 0; North Dakota 1 Instant Analysis: This period Minnesota showed up, but they simply could not keep pace with North Dakota. The Sioux have run over the Gophers all game, taking advantage of errant passes and frankly lack of defensive effort, adding one more goal to their lead which now sits at 4. 1:10 2nd-Folks, this one is over. After failing several times to punch the puck in from the crease, North Dakota’s Matt Frattin took a pass and fired a laser from the right point that went past Kangas for the fourth goal of the night; all for the Sioux. GOPHERS 0; NORTH DAKOTA 4. 9:31 2nd-Halfway through the second, Minnesota is trying but is simply over-matched. North Dakota is out-skating the Gophers, winning the one-on-one battles and just playing a more solid hockey game up to this point. 15:37 2nd-The Gophers get their first real chance of the night, when Mike Hoeffel fires a shot high, but the attempt is glove saved on a nice stop by Eidsness. 16:46 2nd-The Gophers have come out with more intensity to open the second period, though they couldn’t do much less than their first period effort. After Malone’s penalty ended, David Toews was sent to the box for boarding, giving Minnesota another chance at cutting the lead on the man-advantage. Second Intermission Re-Cap: Goals: Gophers 0; North Dakota 3(Kristo, VandeVelde, Malone) Shots on Goal: Gophers 4; North Dakota 12 Penalties: Gophers 3; North Dakota 4 Instant Analysis: Don Lucia talked of being happy if his team ended the first period in a 0-0 tie. Instead, what has unfolded has been 20 minutes of misery. Minnesota has made sloppy passes, turned the puck over in its own zone and failed to cover defensive assignments, and the Sioux have capitalized scoring three goals. The Gophers have built themselves what could only kindly be described as Mount Everest. The good news? Minnesota still has two periods to try and chip away at the lead. The bad news? If the Gophers play like they did in the first 20 minutes, the scoreboard operator will be in for a busy night. 00:28 1st-Malone is sent to the box for the second time of the period just secondcs after scoring the third goal of the game. Malone is sent to the box for holding. 00:54 1st-The game is getting out of hand for Minnesota. Brad Malone stole the puck near the blue line and on the breakaway fired a shot low and past the stick side of Kangas for North Dakota’s third goal of the opening period. GOPHERS 0; NORTH DAKOTA 3. 3:53 1st-It just keeps getting worse for Don Lucia’s squad. Chris VandeVelde stole the puck on Minnesota’s power play and passed to Jason Gregoire on the right side. Gregoire passed back to a wide-open VandeVelde, who was waiting all alone in the crease and knocked in the puck through the wide open net for the shorthanded score. This goal cannot be attributed to Kangas, as he was left all alone with no defensive help, and was clearly upset at the lack of defensive help. GOPHERS 0; NORTH DAKOTA 2. 4:21 1st-Minnesota will get another chance on the power play, as North Dakota’s Brad Malone is called for contact to the head after nailing Kevin Wehrs near the Gophers bench. 5:37 1st-The Gophers futility extends to the power play, where they registered exactly zero shots on net. The Sioux actually had the better threat, as Brad Malone stole the puck near the left boards and put a shot on net that nearly crept past Kangas. 8:12 1st-Minnesota kills of the second power play. The Sioux had one shot on net during the man-advantage. The shot total thus far: 9-2 in favor of North Dakota. Minnesota will be on its first power play as North Dakota is issued a penalty for too many men on the ice, to be served by David Toews. 10:29 1st-North Dakota will be on its second power play of the night, as Kevin Wehrs is sent to the box for interference. 11:00 1st-The Gophers are getting absolutely worked over so far. Minnesota killed the North Dakota penalty, and Aaron Ness made a nice move after getting out of the box to deke a defender before losing the puck; but that has been the lone bright spot in a period otherwise controlled by smart passing by the Sioux, dangerous shots on net and a power play unit that registered three shots on net. If the Gophers don’t turn the on switch soon, this one will be over quickly. 14:44 1st-North Dakota will have a 4-on-3 advantage for 52 seconds, as Minnesota’s Aaron Ness is sent to the box for cross checking. 15:47 1st-Minnesota and North Dakota each have a man sent to the box. Jacob Cepis for the Gophers for roughing, and Brett Hextall of the Sioux for cross checking, leaving play at 4-on-4 for the next two minutes. 16:37 1st-North Dakota continues to dominant the opening period. The Sioux are taking advantage of the Gophers lax passing, and have already registered five shots on net in the opening four minutes, and had several more tip-in chances that fell wide of the net. 18:21 1st-A disastrous opening for the Gophers. The puck deflected off a falling Nick Larson in the crease,bouncing right to a streaking Danny Kristo, who put the first shot of the game past Kangas for the goal. GOPHERS 0; NORTH DAKOTA 1.

The pre-game festivities, including a highlight reel of North Dakota goals and hits on the Gophers shown on the scoreboard (shocker, I know) is over, and we are now ready for the first period of playoff hockey.