The tie marks the second straight conference tie the Gophers (11-10-4 overall, 5-8-2 WCHA) have recorded while the team remains winless against WCHA opponents in the second half.
But overall, coach Don Lucia was pleased with his squads performance tonight against the Bulldogs (8-7-6, 6-6-5).
“I thought we played well. I have no issue,” Lucia said. “Our guys played hard from start to finish.”
Lucia praised his team’s defense and penalty killing lines after the games, both of which were impressive tonight.
The defense gave up just 19 shots on goal ñ tying a season-low for the Gophers.
“That makes it easy on me,” freshman netminder Alex Kangas said of his defense’s game. “They cleared every rebound, so it was a good night defensively for our team.”
Kangas gave up a third period goal to senior forward Matt McKnight but had an otherwise solid if untested game.
Unfortunately as is becoming habit with the Gophers, the goalie’s team couldn’t generate enough offense to back up the freshman.
Senior forward Ben Gordon notched Minnesota’s lone goal in the contest, a rebound that the International Falls native chipped in just over a minute into the third period.
“It wasn’t pretty, but it worked,” Gordon said of his goal ñ one of just 26 shots the Gophers put on Bulldogs’ goalkeeper sophomore Alex Stalock.
Stalock matched Kangas’ play and showed why he has lost only one game at the DECC this season.
While Kangas had a somewhat easy night, Stalock had to make several big saves to keep Minnesota-Duluth in the hunt ñ something Lucia acknowledged after the game.
“Both goalies played well,” Lucia said. “There were no gimmesÖneither goalie had a chance at either goal.”
The Gophers played impressively on the penalty kill in addition to the overall stark defense.
The Gophers blanked UMD on all five power-play opportunities (although Minnesota itself went 0-for-4), including a spectacular five-on-three for 1:22 near the end of regulation when the Gophers gave up just one shot on goal.
It’s seems doubtful the Stalock won’t get the start tomorrow for the Bulldogs and in a rare confession, Lucia has already named Kangas the starter for Minnesota ñ something the freshman is looking forward to.
“Unfortunately, (tonight) we didn’t come out of here with a win, but we got a point,” Kangas said. “Hopefully, we’ll get the win tomorrow.”
Sidenotes ñ Neither team had a shot on goal in the overtime period.
-Junior netminder Jeff Frazee was a healthy scratch for tonight’s game although Lucia said he would likely dress tomorrow.
1 2 3 OT Final
Minnesota 0 0 1 0 1
UMD 0 0 1 0 1
First ñ No Scoring
Second ñ No Scoring
Third ñ 1. MN, Gordon (Wheeler, Howe) 1:16 (ev). 2. UMD, McKnight (Akins, Cascalenda) 8:44 (ev).
OT ñ No Scoring
Minnesota ñ Kangas 6-8-4-0-18
Wayne State ñ Stalock 13-8-5-0-26