Huskies cruise past Gophers

Mark Remme

ST. CLOUD – If Minnesota’s men’s hockey team dreamed of coasting toward a MacNaughton Cup ceremony this weekend, consider Friday’s game in St. Cloud a rude awakening.

The second-ranked Gophers played uninspired hockey in front of 6,178 people at the National Hockey Center, and as a result, they dropped a lopsided 5-1 decision to No. 4 St. Cloud State.

“They were the more aggressive team tonight,” Gophers coach Don Lucia said. “They out-executed us in basically every phase of the game.”

It was a rare night for Minnesota (25-6-3 overall, 17-5-3 WCHA), a team that had lost just once on the road this season.

Perhaps the rarity of the evening was foreshadowed by Lucia’s decision to give sophomore goalie Jeff Frazee the nod over senior Kellen Briggs, who normally plays on Friday nights.

Lucia said the decision carried no weight and both goaltenders normally start a game each weekend, and while the Huskies’ offensive onslaught overpowered Minnesota regardless of who was in net, Frazee didn’t help his cause.

He allowed five goals on 31 shots, frequently giving up big rebounds and often looking uncomfortable.

On the other end of the ice, St. Cloud State goaltender Bobby Goepfert stood tall all night long, making 29 saves – many in spectacular fashion – on 30 shots.

It was a performance that Huskies coach Bob Motzko said relates to the level of play his team has been facing lately.

St. Cloud State (19-6-6, 13-6-6) came off two weekends of playing desperate teams with playoff intensity like Wisconsin and Colorado College, and Motzko said his team brought that same intensity into Friday night’s battle with the Gophers.

“That’s the mentality we have to have in the next two weeks,” Motzko said. “We need to get points every weekend, but we need to really get that playoff mentality in our demeanor.”

Motzko acknowledged his team didn’t want Minnesota to clinch the conference title in St. Cloud, and the Huskies reached that goal.

Such goals were not met in the other locker room.

Minnesota assistant coach Mike Guentzel delivered a heated speech after the game, one that fellow assistant coach John Hill summed up by saying the team wasn’t mentally or physically ready to play the game.

“The gist of what he had to say was they’re playing for the ‘M,’ there was no passion Ö and that we’re not going to finish the year like we did last season,” Hill said. “We need to make some changes and it has to start with the accountability in one another, in a nutshell.”

GAME SUMMARY

1ST 2ND 3RD — T

Gophers 0 1 0 — 1

Huskies 2 1 2 — 5

Scoring Summary

1st: UMN: no scoring; SCSU: Lasch-12 (Stephenson-15, Swanson-7), Raduns-5 (Lasch-20, Borer-6)

2nd: UMN: Gordon-10 (Goligoski-24, Barriball-19); SCSU: Lasch-13 (Kronick-7, Fletcher-16)

3rd: Brocklehurst-4 (Swanson-8, Carlisle-8), Brocklehurst-5 (Fletcher-17, Goepfert-3)