Sour start for UND as Gophers rollMINNEAPOLIS — The University of North Dakota has one last shot at rival Minnesota in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association game tonight.
By: Brad Schlossman, Forum News Service
MINNEAPOLIS — The University of North Dakota has one last shot at rival Minnesota in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association game tonight.
For that, UND is thankful.
The final league series between the longtime foes started well for UND, turned sour and ended in a 5-1 loss to the top-ranked Gophers in front of 10,318 fans — the third-largest crowd in Mariucci Arena history.
Minnesota forward Nate Condon scored a goal and added two assists, goalie Adam Wilcox stopped 24 of 25 shots in his first taste of the rivalry and the Gophers (17-3-3, 9-3-3 WCHA) extended their unbeaten streak to nine games. UND dropped its fourth straight game in this building, moving to 13-7-3 overall and 8-4-3 in league play.
“There wasn’t a lot of difference in this game,” said UND coach Dave Hakstol, whose team hasn’t won in Mariucci since Evan Trupp’s overtime winner in February 2008. “We have to capitalize on a couple of our chances and we have to try to remove one or two of the mistakes.
“We did a lot of very good things, but at the end of the day, it’s about winning the hockey game. So, you don’t look for little positives and walk away feeling good. You look at the things we did well and we have to do them better for 60 minutes.”
The rivalry, which is usually fierce and unpredictable, started strangely with the two teams combining for just two shots in 11 minutes.
UND actually held the lead on a power-play goal by Michael Parks at 3:34 of the middle frame. Corban Knight assisted on that tally to extend his point streak to 18 games. But after that, things slowly turned sour.
Minnesota’s Zach Budish evened it on a snap shot from the high slot at 6:06. Then, the Gophers scored a back-breaking goal at the end of a period. UND’s Andrew MacWilliam took a penalty to try to prevent a breakaway after a bad line change. That led to a power-play goal by Ben Marshall with 5.2 seconds left in the period.
Hakstol called that the turning point.
“It was a tough goal for us to give up with a few seconds left in the second,” he said.
Minnesota extended its lead to 3-1 when Nate Schmidt’s point shot hit traffic and went past Clarke Saunders (22 saves) at 6:03. Condon iced it with a short-handed goal, taking advantage of Joe Gleason’s stick breaking on a point shot at 15:24.
Erik Haula, who rejoined the lineup after missing three games with a hand injury, added an empty-net goal 91 seconds later.
“I thought we played hard,” said UND senior Danny Kristo, whose seven-game goal streak was snapped. “I don’t think it was effort-related. It was mental mistakes. We made a mental lapse with five seconds left in the second that gave them momentum.
“Both teams played hard, they just made more plays than we did.”
The series finale will be played at 5:07 p.m. today as part of Fox Sports North’s Hockey Day in Minnesota. Since the teams are moving into new conferences next season — the Gophers to the Big Ten and UND to the National Collegiate Hockey Association — there’s no telling when they may meet again after this one.
“We’ll be focused,” Hakstol said. “We were focused coming into tonight and we’ll be focused going into tomorrow.”
And UND is eager for another chance.
“That’s the good thing about college hockey,” Kristo said. “If you lose Friday night, you regroup. You let this one go. We’ll go to the hotel, probably have a short meeting. When you wake up, it’s a new day.”
Knight said: “I can’t speak for them, but I think it’s going to be more intense from our side.”
Notes: Derek Shepherd and Marco Hunt refereed the game. After this weekend, they will have called 14 of the last 18 North Dakota-Minnesota games. . . Derek Rodwell returned to the lineup for UND after missing the first four post-Christmas games. He played on the fourth line. . . Brendan O’Donnell didn’t make the trip. Colten St. Clair and Andrew Panzarella were the scratches on the trip. . .UND was 1-for-4 on the power play. Minnesota was 1-for-5 with the extra man.