Gophers tied up by Minnesota St.

by Tim Nichols

The Gophers men’s hockey team came into its weekend series against Minnesota State believing a sweep could get the squad back in a winning frame of mind.
After this series, Minnesota might be tired of kicking themselves in the rear.
The Gophers (7-11-6, 5-6-3 WCHA) could manage only a pair of ties against the Mavericks (9-9-4), which served to frustrate Minnesota even more.
“Obviously you want to win two,” coach Doug Woog said. “Ties don’t accomplish much at all. Maybe it says something about both of us, who knows. It depends which way you’re looking at it.”
And depending on which end of the spectrum either team looked at in this series, they could be either satisfied or disappointed.
The Gophers would be the latter.
Minnesota had to sit through a power outage from the power play unit and an overall offensive slump on Saturday, tying Minnesota State 2-2.
But despite the lack of scoring, the Gophers led the game until the final two minutes, when Mavericks winger Tyler Deis took a Jesse Rooney pass all the way and deked goaltender Adam Hauser for a game-tying power play goal.
“I was hanging out a little high,” Deis said. “One of the players took a shot, hit the post, went right to Rooney’s stick, and he passed it to me and I was all alone.”
And he knew what to do as soon as he got the puck — faking right, left and back to the right to slip the puck in between the post and Hauser’s right skate.
This heartbreaker came off the heels of the Gophers’ biggest comeback of the year, when they recovered from four down in the third period Friday to tie Minnesota State 6-6.
“When we were down in the second period, Wyatt (Smith) really put it into words,” sophomore Erik Westrum said. “He said that this was a joke and that we needed to start playing with tradition. I’m sure my dad (former Gopher Pat Westrum) was embarrassed by the way we were playing.”
Minnesota responded to their captain’s tongue-lashing by rallying to score four goals in the third, including one with Hauser out of the net.
But for all the Gophers’ hard work, and for all their comebacks, they still could not score consistently on Saturday, giving them another disappointing weekend and an even worse taste in their mouths.
“This is a typical example of that we were there physically,” Woog said. “It sheds light on the fact that if we make one or two better decisions, we win the game.”
The pair of ties extends Minnesota’s winless streak to eight, going 0-4-4 in that span.
A turnaround isn’t likely this weekend, as the Gophers will visit the always-hostile Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, N.D. to take on the No. 1 Sioux.
Can the Gophers turn it around in time?
“Tonight we were pretty good, but overall it was pretty bad,” Woog said. “I think maybe this is better for the team because it shows that the margin between winning and losing is only one or two plays.”

Minnesota State 0 1 1 0 — 2
Gophers 0 1 1 0 — 2
FIRST PERIOD: no scoring
SECOND PERIOD: MSU — Severson (Baines, White), 4:48. Minn — Senden 4 (Berg 17), 10:53.
THIRD PERIOD: Minn — Miskovich 6 (Leimbek 3), 5:19. MSU — Deis (Rooney), PPG, 18:04.
OVERTIME: no scoring

Minnesota State 2 4 0 0 — 6
Gophers 1 1 4 0 — 6
FIRST PERIOD: MSU — Martin (Holoien), 5:21. MSU — Christopherson (Holoien), 11:23. Minn — Smith 13 (Westrum 11, Mills 7), PPG, 12:51.
SECOND PERIOD: MSU — Deis (Rooney, Fox), PPG, 4:11. MSU — Baines (Holoien, Martin), 5:37. Minn — Spehar 7 (Leopold 9, Westrum 12), PPG, 8:13. MSU — Anderson (George, White), 10:54. MSU — Schrick (Bushy, White), 13:36.
THIRD PERIOD: Minn — Meyer 2 (Trebil 2), 1:26. Minn — Smith 14 (Leopold 10), 8:58. Minn — Westrum 5 (Leopold 11, Spehar 13), PPG, 10:14. Minn — Westrum 6 (Smith 12, Berg 16), 6×5, 19:22.
OVERTIME: no scoring