Observations from Minnesota's 3-2 Win Over St. Cloud

| No TrackBacks
Another Big W
Minnesota's sweep over St. Cloud, paired with a win and a tie by Michigan Tech at Minnesota-Duluth this weekend, helped the Gophers cushion their lead for first place in the WCHA to five points. The Bulldogs have played two less games, but the Gophers own the tiebreaker over UMD after picking up a sweep in Duluth in October. Minnesota is chasing its first MacNaughton Cup since 2006-07 when the Gophers finished with 39 points at 18-7-3. That season was also the last time Minnesota finished with 15 or more wins in league play, the number it currently has with eight games to play.

UMD will travel to Alaska-Anchorage next week while the Gophers have the week off. The Gophers are guaranteed to finish with a winning record in the WCHA and overall. They need 10 more points to finish with more league points that they had in 2006-07. No team has gotten more than 43 points in the WCHA in the last 10 years.

We Call The Shots
Minnesota outshot St. Cloud 46-12 on Saturday and 72-25 on the weekend. On Friday, the Gophers allowed 13 shots or less for the first time since March 11, 2007 against Alaska-Anchorage when the Gophers allowed 12. They accomplished the feat for a second time on the weekend by holding the Huskies to 12 on Saturday. Minnesota also peppered SCSU's Ryan Faragher with 46 shots in the series finale, the highest amount of shots on target for UM since its first game of the season against Sacred Heart when it had 47.

Saturday Success
With the 3-2 win over St. Cloud, the Gophers improved to 11-2-1 in Saturday games, including a 10-0-0 mark in the WCHA. Minnesota has won five Friday games (8-6-0 overall on that day) in league play and has finished the sweep all five times with the last one prior to this weekend coming at home against Minnesota State.

He Warned Ya
After creating chances all night and all season long, the snake-bitten Sam Warning finally notched his first WCHA point when it mattered most. The freshman from Missouri scored the game-winning goal with 1:19 to play in his 17th conference game. The tally was also his first since Oct. 21 when he scored against Vermont and was his first point away from Mariucci Arena. Warning now has four goals and five assists on the year.

50 Straight For Patterson
Dating back to 2010-11, Kent Patterson started his 50th straight game for Minnesota on Saturday night. Since taking over as the team's starting goaltender full-time in place of Alex Kangas on Dec. 4, 2010, Patterson has gone 27-17-6 and has recorded a school record six shutouts in 2011-12. He has played every minute in net for the Gophers this season. Sophomore backup Mike Shibrowski and senior Jake Kremer have not made appearance between the pipes for the maroon and gold. Shibrowski does have some Division I experience, however. He appeared in two games and had one start (a win) for Colorado College in 2009-10.

Power Outage Ends
Since Nate Schmidt gave the Gophers a 4-0 lead against North Dakota on Jan. 14 with a power-play goal, Minnesota went through 12 straight unsuccessful power plays. That skid ended when Ben Marshall scored on the Gophers' third man advantage of Saturday's game. Erik Haula then scored his sixth power-play goal of the year on Minnesota's next man-up opportunity. Haula was the first UM forward to score on the power play since Nick Bjugstad did it with 2:47 left in the third period against Notre Dame on Jan. 7.

Marshall, Haula Get Back On Track
Goal-scoring-wise, it hadn't been a great 2012 for forward Erik Haula and defenseman Ben Marshall prior to Saturday. Haula hadn't scored in eight games since scoring on Dec. 30 against Niagara and hadn't scored a WCHA goal since Dec. 2 when he scored the game-winner against Minnesota State and Marshall hadn't scored since Nov. 26 against Michigan State. That all changed in the second period on Saturday when Marshall and Haula scored on back-to-back power plays to end their droughts. Marshall's goal was his first in WCHA play and third of the year.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://cstv.collegesports.com/mt5.2/mt-tb.cgi/30420