Kaufmann’s hat trick not enough for Minnesota

Mark Remme

If Minnesota’s men’s hockey team hopes to win a national title, it’d better hope St. Louis the city treats them better than St. Louis the player.

Michigan Tech sophomore forward Justin St. Louis notched a hat trick Saturday against a flat Gophers squad, leading to a 5-4 Huskies victory at Mariucci Arena.

Minnesota (26-8-3 overall, 18-7-3 WCHA), coming off an emotional Friday contest during which the team won its second straight Western Collegiate Hockey Association title, showed little emotion in its final regular season game.

St. Louis, a Calgary native, came into the game with just three goals on the year and six in his career.

“He’s on a roll and playing with confidence,” Michigan Tech coach Jamie Russell said.

Following a power-play goal by junior forward Tyler Shelast at 10:19 of the second, which gave the Huskies (16-15-5, 11-12-5) a 4-1 advantage, Gophers senior netminder Kellen Briggs entered the game in place of starter Jeff Frazee.

Frazee stopped just 11 of 15 shots on goal in the game and has allowed nine goals in his past two starts.

“It’s unacceptable,” Briggs said. “There are no excuses for the way we played tonight.”

Briggs stopped the bleeding by allowing just one goal on seven shots, but even a late second-period surge by Minnesota couldn’t bring the Gophers all the way back.

Junior forward Evan Kaufmann led the charge for Minnesota, scoring three goals of his own to complement his game-winning goal from Friday’s game.

Kaufmann almost found the net another time in the third, too, but his shot clanked off the cross bar. He’s been the Gophers’ go-to guy since returning from a leg injury, scoring seven goals in his past six games.

Kaufmann’s play prompted coach Don Lucia to call out other pivotal offensive players who, though kept nameless, he said weren’t playing up to caliber.

“Guys didn’t compete well tonight and haven’t contributed a lot lately,” Lucia said. “Usually the guy (Kaufmann) who competes the hardest does the best.”

GAME SUMMARY

1st 2nd 3rd — T

Huskies 2 3 0 — 5

Gophers 1 2 1 — 4

SCORING

1st: UMN: Kaufmann-9 (Johnson-17, Okposo-20); MTU: St. Louis-4 (Scwartz-5, Angelow-5), St. Louis-5 (unassisted)

2nd: UMN: Vannelli-8 (Peltier-9, Carman-9), Kaufmann-10 (Stoa-10, Peltier); MTU: St. Louis-6 (Gagne-9, BAtovanja-3), Kerr-9 (Rouleau-23, Kinrade-14)

3rd: Kaufmann-11 (Stoa-11, Vannelli-21)

Goaltending:

Frazee 11 saves

Briggs (L 14-6-2) 6 saves

Teslak (W 9-6-3) 26 saves

Officials: Marco Hunt (referee), Dan Carey (linesman), Ed Moberg (linesman)

A: 9,998