Men’s hockey Live Blog: Gophers vs. Minnesota State-Mankato

by Max Sanders

FINAL-The Gophers suffer what could possibly be a debilitating defeat to Mankato, losing 3-1. The loss puts even more pressure on tomorrow’s game, a game Minnesota needs to win to salvage its season. 00:30.8 3rd-Minnesota pulled Patterson, sending Tony Lucia out as the extra attacker. MSU-Mankato’s Zach Harrison stole the puck and put it through the empty net, sending the crowd headed for the exits. GOPHERS 1, MSU-MANKATO 3. 3:37 3rd-Perhaps out of frustration, Tony Lucia absolutely leveled Mankato’s Jason Wiley with a fore check. There was no penalty called, but time was stopped as Wiley was left laying on the ice. Verbal sparring was traded between the two teams, causing the referee’s to step in and separate the squads. Either way, should make for a very interesting final three minutes. 7:35 3rd-Following a take away in the Gophers zone, the Mavericks have a four-on-three advantage and capitalize. Scoring for MSU-Mankato is Rylan Galiardi, his fourth goal of the year, with an assist to Mike Louwerse. The Gophers now find themselves in a precarious situation, with seven minutes left to avoid what would be a devastating loss. 10:30 3rd-The Gophers kill off both power plays, and immediately after the power play ended Schroeder and Hoeffel stormed down the ice. Each player fired a shot, but both were stopped by Lee. 12:51 3rd-The Mavericks will now have 45 seconds of a five-on-three advantage, as Aaron Ness is sent to the box for cross checking. 14:06 3rd-A fast-paced and hard hitting third period nearly saw the Gophers take the lead. Josh Birkholz took the puck, avoided three MSU-Mankato defenders and fired a shot that hit off the right post, just inches away from giving Minnesota the lead. Seconds later Seth Helgeson was sent to the box for elbowing. 2nd Intermission Re-Cap: Goals: Gophers 0; MSU-Mankato 0 Shots on Goal: Gophers 11; MSU-Mankato 11 Penalties: Gophers 1; MSU-Mankato 0 Instant Analysis: Despite playing a much harder, more physical game, the Gophers are left with nothing to show for it. After allowing a power play goal in the first period, Minnesota nearly took the lead on what would have been their fourth short-handed goal of the year, but the shot by Matson was glove saved by Lee. If the Gophers continue to play a physically demanding style of game, their specialty, Mankato will have its work cut out to keep the game tied. 00:00 2nd-A much more physical period comes to a close, with the game headed to the third period still tied at 1. The Gophers had numerous chances to take the lead, an astonishing feat considering they enter the third period getting out-shot nearly 2-1, with the Mavericks holding a 29-15 lead in that category. The Gophers played with an increased sense of urgency, and will need to carry that feeling over to a critical third period, as they hope to escape with two points. 9:13 2nd-The MSU-Mankato power play gave Minnesota its best chance at taking the lead. Tony Lucia stole the puck and went down the left side of the ice. With Taylor Matson trailing down the center, the two-on-one chance was centered to Matson, whose shot was stopped by Lee. The Gophers completely out-played the Mavericks despite being short-handed, and for the first time tonight that power play actually got the sparse Mariucci crowd on its feet. 12:01 2nd-A touch pass from Ryan Flynn sparked a fast break, but the chance was quickly ended when Josh Birkholz was called for tripping, giving the Mavericks another power play opportunity. The Gophers are currently getting out shot 25-6. 16:34 2nd-The intensity appears to be back for Minnesota. The Gophers have levied several hard hits, including a board-rattling shot directly in front of the Minnesota penalty box. The Gophers seem to realize they need this game, and are playing like a team determined early in the second period. 1st Intermission Re-Cap: Goals: Gophers 1 (Hansen); MSU-Mankato 1(Stewart) Shots on Goal: Gophers 4, MSU-Mankato 18 Penalties: Gophers 2, MSU-Mankato 1 Instant Analysis: Despite scoring first, Minnesota was thoroughly outplayed in the first period. Getting out shot 18-4 is unacceptable, and giving up so many shots finally cost the Gophers when the Mavericks capitalized on the power play, tying the game at 1. Minnesota desperately needs this game, and will have to come out with more intensity in the second period. NOTE: Due to technical difficulties I was unable to blog the remainder of the first period. Josh Birkholz committed a holding penalty, and with eight seconds remaining in the power play MSU-Mankato’s Jerad Stewart scored, tying the game at 1. GOPHERS 1, MSU-MANKATO 1. 11:23 1st-A Mavericks turnover leads to the first goal of the night. After passing the puck out from behind the MSU net, Cade Fairchild fought for and won the puck on the near boards. He then fed Jake Hansen with the pass from five feet in front of the net, and Hansen promptly fired a wrist shot past Lee for the first goal of the night. GOPHERS 1, MSU-MANKATO 0. 13:53 1st-The Minnesota power play ends with no shots. Interesting point of note for the power play was that Schroeder was at the point directing action during the Gophers man-advantage. In the past it had been Aaron Ness leading the power play, but as of at least the first man-advantage tonight Schroeder got the play calling duties. The change did no good early on, as Minnesota has looked flat, generating little real threats nearly halfway through the first period.

17:08 1st-First penalty of the night goes to MSU-Mankato’s Zach Harrison, two minutes for holding.