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UND leaves Gophers arena empty-handed

MINNEAPOLIS--UND will have to wait another three years to try to end its Mariucci misery. Despite putting together one of its best performances of the early season, UND only had a 2-0 loss to Minnesota to show for it Saturday night in the latest ...

Cam Johnson blocks a Connor Reilly shot in the second period. photo by Eric Hylden/Forum News Service
Cam Johnson blocks a Connor Reilly shot in the second period. photo by Eric Hylden/Forum News Service

MINNEAPOLIS-UND will have to wait another three years to try to end its Mariucci misery.

Despite putting together one of its best performances of the early season, UND only had a 2-0 loss to Minnesota to show for it Saturday night in the latest showdown between the two rivals.

Minnesota goalie Eric Schierhorn, who was shaky Friday night in allowing five goals, turned in a brilliant performance Saturday, stopping 33 shots, including a penalty shot by Brock Boeser with 39.1 seconds left.

Schierhorn also got some help from his goalposts and his defenseman. UND hit the post four times and Gopher defensemen blocked 25 shots as the Fighting Hawks were shut out for the second time in two weeks.

Shot attempts were 80-38 UND.

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Shots on goal were 33-20 UND.

But, once again, the Fighting Hawks were cursed in their rival's home building.

In its last nine games in Mariucci Arena, UND has four ties, five losses and no victories. It last won in the Minneapolis arena on Feb. 1, 2008, when Evan Trupp batted a puck out of the air for an overtime victory.

Since then, UND has lost multiple third-period leads, just as it did in Friday night's 5-5 tie.

The Fighting Hawks dropped to 5-3-1, extending its winless streak to four games after a perfect 5-0 start to the season. They host Denver next weekend in Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Minnesota, meanwhile, improved to 4-2-2 overall and ended its 11-game winless streak against National Collegiate Hockey Conference teams.

UND played the game without standout defenseman Tucker Poolman, who took part in the pregame warmup, but was a late scratch because of an injury he sustained during Friday night's game. Poolman hurt his wrist during the series opener blocking a shot on the penalty kill, but finished the game.

Without Poolman, UND juggled its defensive pairings at the last minute, inserting Andrew Peski in the game.

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Although the Fighting Hawks came out flying in the first period-leading Minnesota 24-12 in shot attempts-they missed the net 10 times and ended up in a first-period deficit.

The Gophers, who scored three power-play goals a night earlier, only needed nine seconds of power-play time to get on the board at the 10:34 mark of the first period.

The Gophers won a draw and worked the puck around to Szmatula at the side of the net, where the junior transfer from Northeastern walked to the side of the crease and slammed a puck home on the far side.

Once again, UND played a strong second period only to end up minus-one in the frame.

Minnesota extended its lead at 12:01 of the second period after UND's Rhett Gardner and Austin Poganski got tangled up during a faceoff, allowing Vinni Lettieri to go uncovered at the side of the crease. Although UND goalie Cam Johnson was in good position to make the save, Lettieri snuck the puck underneath him to make it 2-0.

UND continued to throw pucks at the net in the third period, but the Gophers blocked 17 shots in the final frame alone to keep the Fighting Hawks off the scoreboard.

UND had a great chance to break the shutout with 39.1 seconds left, but Schierhorn shut down Boeser's attempt to shoot five-hole.

UND is now 0-3-1 in its difficult run of series against Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota, Denver and St. Cloud State.

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Notes: UND inserted forwards Cole Smith and Mike Gornall into the lineup for Zach Yon and Chris Wilkie. . . Minnesota inserted Ryan Norman, the son of former UND forward Todd Norman, for senior Taylor Cammarata up front, while Jack Glover replaced Jack Sadek on the blue line.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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