Gophers get four points in East Lansing

Minnesota lost in a shootout Friday and beat Michigan State on Saturday.

Minnesota forward Justin Kloos skates against Mercyhurst in the Ice Breaker Tournament at Mariucci Arena on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013.

Chelsea Gortmaker

Minnesota forward Justin Kloos skates against Mercyhurst in the Ice Breaker Tournament at Mariucci Arena on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013.

by Megan Ryan

Considering the way Friday’s game against Michigan State started, ending in a 2-2 tie before losing in a shootout wasn’t the worst result for the Gophers. And rebounding Saturday with a 3-2 win on the road was even better.

Early in Friday’s game, senior defenseman Jake Parenteau left with a broken leg. That injury will leave him out of the lineup for months and put the Gophers down a veteran on the blue line.

Gophers head coach Don Lucia said Parenteau is a classic strong defenseman who excels on the penalty kill. Without him, Minnesota had to make do with two freshmen, two sophomores and one senior on defense.

“We were down to five the rest of the way,” Lucia said. “And I thought they held up pretty dang well.”

While Minnesota overcame the injury and scored first late in the first period, on a goal from freshman forward Taylor Cammarata, the Spartans came back to tie it early in the second period.

The Gophers regained the lead early in the third on a power-play goal from freshman forward Justin Kloos, but Michigan State answered again five minutes later.

After a scoreless overtime session, the Spartans’ Michael Ferrantino scored the only goal in the shootout.

Kloos said Michigan State’s smaller sheet of ice took some getting used to and caused some unexpected results.

“In pregame skate, we learned quickly that there [were] going to be some weird plays, whether it was from the boards or just pucks bouncing off the ice on passes that we were not expecting to,” Kloos said. “And we just have to deal with it.”

The Gophers managed 46 shots Friday but scored on only two. Improving their conversion rate was a main goal Saturday.

Minnesota fired 38 shots on goal Saturday and scored twice in the first period, with goals from junior forwards Christian Isackson and Seth Ambroz on the power play. Sophomore defenseman Mike Reilly added another in the second period to solidify a commanding 3-0 lead.

Michigan State cut the deficit to one goal in the second period and netted a goal late in the game, but it wasn’t enough.

“We knew we had to win the puck battles,” Isackson said. “We’ve gone over the stats from last game, and we had a lot of shot attempts, but there [were] no … second chances.”

The Gophers generated more rebound chances Saturday, and it proved effective.

Isackson said his team focused on not having as many pucks blocked. Minnesota aimed wide of the net and changed shot angles.

Lucia said the extra effort was apparent right away.

“We won the game in the first period the way we came out and played with great energy and got pucks behind the [defense],” he said. “We had to have some guys step up.”

The Gophers are 3-0-1 in the Big Ten and 12-2-2 overall through the first half of the season. Minnesota won’t play again until Jan. 3 in the Mariucci Classic.