Gophers drop finale 3-2 to Bulldogs

Minnesota locks up road series with MSU next week.

Brian Deutsch

Call it a conflict. The Gordon/Stalock conflict of 2008. That’s what fans at Mariucci Arena saw tonight as the Minnesota men’s hockey team fell to Minnesota-Duluth 3-2 in its regular season finale.

The duo of Gophers senior forward Ben Gordon and Bulldogs sophomore netminder Alex Stalock made tonight’s game, which was supposed to be near meaningless, well worth the price of admission to the 10,001 fans in attendance

The rivals’ first skirmish occurred in the opening period in front of the Minnesota-Duluth bench. Gordon almost toppled Stalock with a shove, which was not received well by the goalie’s teammates.

Stalock got in a few shots before referees broke up the tussle, but the pair wasn’t done yet.

The next period, Stalock took a slash at Gordon ñ an action which started another mild melee and ended with both players (among others) receiving penalties.

The senior forward answered back later in the period when he chipped in a rebound after several other attempts had turned up empty-handed.

After the game, Gordon reflected on what was his and the other five seniors last game at Mariucci Arena.

“It really hit me when we got off the ice, that it was the last time I was playing a game out there,” Gordon said. “It’s a special thing that not a lot of people get to do, and it’s sad when it ends.”

The two teams exchanged a pair of goals over the next 20 minutes including junior forward Justin Bostrom’s first goal since late October.

But in the end Stalock was able to get the last laugh as Minnesota-Duluth evaded a late charge by the Gophers to hold on to the win.

“I thought that they looked like they wanted the game more than we did,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said. “They good energy, good jump.”

And Stalock led the way – stopping all but two of the Gophers 27 shots to snap a five-game losing streak for Minnesota-Duluth.

“When you’ve lost five in a row, any win is a good win,” Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said.

With that, the Gophers will meet up with Minnesota State next weekend in Mankato while the Bulldogs will play at Denver in the first round of the WCHA playoffs.