Men’s Hockey holds off Minnesota State 4-3

Brian Deutsch

Mankato, Minn. ñ

“A win and a power-play goalÖit couldn’t have been any better for us tonight,” coach Don Lucia said after tonight’s 4-3 win over Minnesota State.

It wasn’t pretty, but the Minnesota men’s hockey team finally posted a Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

The record crowd of 5,196 saw the Gophers nearly blow a three goal lead in the third period before hanging on for dear to its first conference win.

“We knew they were going to throw the kitchen sink at us,” junior forward Blake Wheeler said after the game.

Wheeler had a pair of assists in the win including a set-up that ended Minnesota’s 0-for-30 power-play struggles.

Senior forward Ben Gordon chopped a shot past junior goalie Mike Zacharias in the first period to snap the Gophers’ scoreless streak.

Gordon’s goal also ended Zacharias’ streak on nearly three full games without allowing a goal.

Minnesota added another power-play goal in the second period from senior forward Evan Kaufmann and the Gophers would go 2-for-3 on the advantage all night.

“It was nice that both (power-play units) got on the scoreboard,” Kaufmann said. “Hopefully we can keep that momentum going over the weekend.”

Sophomore forward Tony Lucia and freshman forward Patrick White would each add an additional second period goal to give the Gophers a 4-1 lead going into the third.

But the Mavericks had kept with Minnesota all night long despite the score and in the third period, they would continue to make the Gophers sweat ñscoring two-unanswered goals to make it 4-3.

“We haven’t quite played a full sixty minute game,” Kaufmann said. “That was something we said before the third period, coming out and making a strong effort in the third. (We wanted to) make sure we sealed up a win tonightÖit wasn’t quite the fashion we wanted.”

Mavericks junior forward Mick Berge would knock home a rebound during a Minnesota State power-play to cut the deficit to a pair of goals.

Berge also assisted on junior Jon Kalinski’s second period goal.

Then freshman forward Andrew Sackrison netted his first-ever collegiate goal at the 12:14 mark of the period when he lifted a shot over Frazee.

But the Gophers would hold off the last rush by Minnesota State for the win.

In goal, Frazee stopped 20 of 22 shots to pick up his fourth win of the year.

Lucia said he knew who would be in goal tomorrow night although he wouldn’t let reporters in on the decision.