Gophers last in Minnesota

The team finished fourth at the North Star College Cup for the second year.

Forward Connor Reilly fights for the puck at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Sunday, where the Gophers lost to the MSU-Mankato Mavericks 3-2 on day-two of the North Star College Cup.

Liam James Doyle

Forward Connor Reilly fights for the puck at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Sunday, where the Gophers lost to the MSU-Mankato Mavericks 3-2 on day-two of the North Star College Cup.

Mike Hendrickson

Junior forward Hudson Fasching didn’t sugarcoat the team’s performance after a 3-2 loss to Minnesota State-Mankato in the North Star College Cup consolation game.
 
 
“It sucks. That’s the bottom line,” Fasching said after the game. “We’re not happy right now. There’s no excuses. There’s nothing we can do about it. It’s not fun. We do not want to be here right now.”
 
 
Sunday’s loss to the Mavericks put the Gophers in last place at the North Star College Cup after a 4-2 loss to Bemidji State on Friday. No. 20 Minnesota (13-12, 8-2 Big Ten) lost the in-state tournament for the second year in a row and is now 1-12 in its last 13 games against Minnesotan teams.
 
 
“It’s embarrassing,” junior captain Justin Kloos said. “I couldn’t feel more disappointed and more frustrated after this weekend.”
 
 
The Mavericks held a 2-1 lead in the third period after a power-play goal late in the second period. Redshirt junior Connor Reilly tied the game with his second goal of the weekend, but the Gophers couldn’t hold up.
 
 
Officials called Kloos for tripping shortly after, and Mavericks forward Teddy Blueger scored the game-winning goal on the power play.
 
 
The Gophers had two power-play opportunities following the goal but were unable to capitalize.
 
 
Blueger was also credited with Mankato’s first goal after a puck deflected off Minnesota sophomore defenseman Jack Glover and into the net.
 
 
“That’s the difference, one shot,” head coach Don Lucia said. “We put one in our net tonight, their first goal. That’s the difference in the game.”
 
 
The Gophers were in the losers’ bracket after their loss to Bemidji State on Saturday, which snapped a five-game winning streak for the team.
 
 
Minnesota also allowed a power-play goal in the game after killing 22 straight penalties.
 
 
Reilly scored the first goal of the night, easily tapping in a rebound from a shot by freshman forward Tyler Sheehy. 
 
 
Bemidji State tied it up midway through the second period, but Kloos scored his sixth goal in six games nearly eight minutes into the third to give the Gophers a 2-1 lead.
 
 
The team held the lead for just over three minutes until the Beavers tied the game again with a goal.
 
 
“We played pretty poor all night, and nothing changed once we got the lead,” Kloos said after Saturday’s game. “We didn’t earn it at alltonight, so we got what we deserved.”
 
 
Bemidji State later went on the power play after a penalty on junior defenseman Nick Seeler, and senior forward Markus Gerbrandt scored the game-winning goal with less than four minutes to go in the third.
 
 
Gerbrandt added an empty-net goal with just more than a minute remaining to seal the Gophers trip to the consolation game.
 
 
The Gophers finished with just four goals on the weekend, two by Kloos and two by Reilly. The last-place finish caused the Gophers to end their nonconference schedule 5-10.
 
 
“We have a fine line between winning and losing with this group,” Lucia said. “We have to be all dialed in.”