Duluth rolls over Gophers

The Bulldogs have now won a program record of six games in a row against Minnesota.

Forward Brent Gates chases down a UMD player, attempting to catch the puck in the second period at Mariucci Arena on Friday where the Gophers lost to the Bulldogs 3-1.

Sam Harper

Forward Brent Gates chases down a UMD player, attempting to catch the puck in the second period at Mariucci Arena on Friday where the Gophers lost to the Bulldogs 3-1.

Mike Hendrickson

The Gophers left the AMSOIL Arena in Duluth late Saturday night with as many questions about their offense as they had last week.
 
The No. 15 Gophers were swept in a home-and-home series against No. 7 Duluth over the weekend, losing 3-1 Friday and 3-0 Saturday.
 
Minnesota (0-3) has now lost six games in a row to Duluth, the longest losing streak against the Bulldogs in program history.
 
“It’s been two and a half years now; they just have our number,” junior forward Justin Kloos told reporters Saturday. “[They] just play with a little more passion than we do. It’s extremely frustrating, and I don’t think there’s one answer.” 
 
The Gophers didn’t hold a lead in either game, and opponents have outscored the team 9-1 so far this season. 
 
Freshman Brent Gates Jr. scored the team’s lone goal on Friday night.
 
“I think we just need to start working as a unit of five out there,” junior forward Hudson Fasching said Friday. “We’re close, but we’re not quite there yet. … It’s kind of tough right now for us. We haven’t quite figured it out. We’re a step short.”
 
Friday night was the only time either game was in reach for the Gophers.
 
Duluth scored two power-play goals in the second period to go up 2-0, but Gates Jr. scored early in the third period to pull the Gophers within one.
 
However, Duluth responded 32 seconds later with a goal by junior Dominic Toninato. 
 
“It’s tough to see that,” Fasching said. 
 
“Come back right away and [make] mistakes. We’re a young team, but we’re learning.”
 
The Gophers had seven power-play opportunities on Saturday but failed to score in their second shutout loss in three games.
 
The Bulldogs also didn’t manage to score on their four power-play chances but still had two goals in the first period from Toninato and sophomore forward Karson Kuhlman.
Duluth added another goal in the second period Saturday for an easy 3-0 victory.
 
Minnesota didn’t score on their lone power-play opportunity Friday night. The team has yet to score in 12 chances in the season. 
 
“We’ve got to start finishing whether it’s five-on-five or on the power play,” head coach Don Lucia told reporters Saturday. “If you score some goals, it gives you life. It gives you energy.”
 
After scoring one goal in their opening six periods of the season, the Gophers forward lines were jumbled Saturday, with junior Vinni Lettieri moving to center.
 
“When you’ve got one goal in six periods, it’s a good time to blow things up,” Lucia said Friday.
 
Freshman goalie Eric Schierhorn started both games for the Gophers over the weekend and made 62 total saves. 
 
“He helped us all the way through the end,” junior Michael Brodzinksi said Friday. “There’s nothing wrong with that. We just got to play in front of him now.”