Momentum Changer

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Nate Condon, forward (four shorthanded goals and one shorthanded assist)

"First we want to shut them down and play well defensively, but as soon as we get the puck we know that we can try to jump the zone and try to attack. I think our speed is pretty effective. Taylor and I are good skaters and we do a good job of getting down the ice. A lot of times, the opponent is not really concerned that much defensively on the power play so if you can get one or two guys jumping up the ice then they have a hard time defending against you.

Coach Guentzel talked about that at the beginning of the year. It is how you cripple a team. It changes the momentum so much because teams are out there on the power play expecting to get a goal. For us to turn the tables on them with a shorthanded goal, it completely changes the momentum of the game.
Go Gophers! Nate Condon
Go Gophers!
Nate Condon is second in the nation with four shorthanded goals.
Go Gophers!

It is just getting a quick shot off and not giving the goalie a chance to react to it. The breakaways, a lot of times, the puck has been bouncing and I am just trying to get a shot off. The other goal Taylor set a good screen and the goalie could not see it until it was already in the net."

Taylor Matson, forward (one shorthanded goal and two shorthanded assists)

"It's crazy. I think we have we have more chances on the penalty kill than we have five-on-five or on the power play. It's something we take to heart when we're out there and we just work really hard in practice together during the week. We know when one of us gets the puck the other one is going hard for a breakaway or we'll try to make a two-on-one out of it. We're just playing hard together and creating chances.

"It's like a tandem mentality in your own zone. You're working together. Whenever I get the puck I want to spring him on a breakaway or chip it off the glass. We have great speed. That's one of our advantages out there and that becomes huge on the penalty kill."

Don Lucia, head coach

"In many ways it is like scoring two goals. More often than not, if a team scores a shorthanded goal they end up winning the game. It is demoralizing for the power play and frustrating for the players and coaches on the other side. It is a bonus goal and a momentum changer.

"We have some good tandems and our penalty kill has been strong all year. Nate Condon and Taylor Matson were a good tandem on the penalty kill last year and they have taken it to another level this year. Their peed allows them to beat other players and get that breakaway."

Mike Guentzel, associate head coach

"We have good speed guys on our penalty kill and guys who anticipate well. We have guys who can take off and create odd-numbered situations. Obviously, a lot of teams are using an umbrella situation which certainly gives you a chance to get out on a two-on-one and we are doing a good job with that. We are pleased that Nate Condon and Taylor Matson have taken that responsibility and they are doing a good job. We have offensive guys killing penalties, which is a good thing.

"I always think of a shorthanded goal as a goal and a half. It is an advantage for you. When they get a power play they think they are going to score and take a lead. But when we take a penalty and then score, well that gives us a lot of the momentum, especially when we are at home. The crowd really gets into the game because they love to see the effort put into killing a penalty. There has been numerous times this year where we have drawn people out of their seats by our hard work and there have been numerous times when we have drawn people out of their seats by the ability to control the puck on the penalty kill.

"There is a time and a place to clear the puck 200 feet and that is obviously our No. 1 emphasis. There are three or four simple things that we really try to take care of in the penalty kill, but smart players realize the time and space around them and the opportunity to control the puck and drain the clock. That is something that I think you see a lot of from our guys. Our forwards take off and open up the rink. Our defensemen back off and then we kind of create that little box when the forwards throw it back and we go defenseman to defenseman and start killing some time. I think we have an idea and a good sense right now of when to clear it, when to go for it and when to possess the puck.

Mark Alt, defenseman (one shorthanded assist)

"It is a huge momentum swing. When you have a guy like Nate Condon who can break free and score a shorthanded goal, it can totally change the game. It also helps the penalty kill and gives them some power."
 
Kent Patterson, goaltender (one shorthanded assist)

"It is always great to see our team score a shorthanded goal. It is a good momentum changer. Our power play has been struggling a little bit recently so it is nice to get a plus on special teams with a shorthanded goal."

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