Thoughts after the Gophers' 2-1 lost to Minnesota State.
Mavericks End the Streak
The Gophers were topped by Minnesota State for the second time this season by a score of 2-1. A late goal by Brett Knowles was the difference. Minnesota's unbeaten streak ends at 10 games. It is the first time the Gophers have lost since November (Omaha). It is also the first time the Mavericks defeated the Gophers at Mariucci Arena since December of 2009. In all three meetings this season, The Gophers have seen just how challenging it is to play Minnesota State this year. The Mavericks have been the better team for all large portions of all three games.
The top two freshman goalies in the WCHA collided tonight, and they did not disappoint. The Gophers' Wilcox and the Mavericks' Williams came into the weekend tops in the league in goals against average. Both Goalies were strong at different times during the game. Williams made 37 saves and Wilcox made 31. Stephon Williams stopped the Gophers' streak of scoring at least four goals in a game at nine and collected the victory tonight.
Nate Schmidt burst on to the scene last year as an offensive force from the backend. Schmidt's ascent up this year's scoring chart can be traced back to a three-point against the Mavericks when the teams met in early November. He was the first to get on the board tonight when a pass from Nate Condon deflected off a Minnesota State skate right to him. Schmidt made no mistake putting the puck past Williams in the Mavericks' net. It would be the Gophers only goal of the game.
Minnesota State scored the winning goal 44 seconds from the end of the third period. Brett Knowles was on the spot to score his second goal of the season in a goalmouth scramble. The Gophers best line tonight was the line of Serratore, Boyd, and Holl. Justin Holl, the converted defensemen, created chances with his speed and blocked shots at the defensive end. He seems to be adjusting nicely to his forward role. The top point producers did not get it done for the Gophers tonight.
Can the Gophers Bounce Back?
When the Gophers played a home-and-home with the Mavericks in early November, they lost on Saturday night in front of an inspired crowd in Mankato. Tomorrow, Minnesota again must go to Mankato and play at the Verizon Wireless Center. Last time in Mankato, the Gophers made too many mental mistakes and got off to a very slow start. Tonight, they were again too sluggish and a late burst of energy was not enough. They will look to avoid a similar fate when the square off with the Mavericks in Mankato Saturday night.
Written by Minnesota Communications intern Josh Brennock