Feb. 10, 2012
The No. 1/2 Minnesota men’s hockey team had its three-game winning streak snapped on Friday night after falling to No. 14 Denver 5-3 at Magness Arena. The Gophers, who scored first before allowing three straight goals to end the first period, still maintained a three-point lead in the WCHA standings with a losses by second-place Minnesota-Duluth and third-place Colorado College.
The first period began with a fast pace and saw each team kill off one penalty before Nate Condon scored the game’s first goal.
Condon picked the pocket of DU defenseman John Ryder and quickly transitioned up ice into a two-on-one odd-man rush with winger Sam Warning. The sophomore forward opted to shoot the puck, snapping a shot past Pioneer goaltender Sam Brittan to give the Gophers their only lead of the night 9:08 into the contest.
Denver answered 40 seconds later when Shawn Ostrow whacked a Dustin Jackson rebound past Minnesota netminder Kent Patterson to knot the score.
It didn’t take long for the Pioneers to take the lead.
Less than five minutes after Ostrow knotted the score, Jackson put DU ahead 2-1, potting his first goal of the season by collecting an Ostrow faceoff win and beating Patterson five-hole on a shot that was redirected by a Gopher defender.
With less than three minutes to play in the opening stanza, Denver added to its lead with Nate Dewhurst slapped a loose puck over the shoulder of Patterson from inside the left circle.
Minnesota allowed three or more goals in a period for the first time since Nov. 11, when Wisconsin recorded three goals in the second period en route to a 3-1 win. The Pioneers also put up 19 shots in the frame, becoming the first team to do so against UM since Oct. 15, when Minnesota-Duluth posted 20 in the game’s final period.
The Gophers inched closer in the opening two minutes of the second when Kyle Rau scored his 14th goal of the season from in tight on a power play, but just like after Minnesota’s first tally, DU responded quickly.
Working toward the end of a Condon interference minor, Denver’s Jason Zucker made it a two-goal game 2:06 after the Gophers’ second goal by sneaking a sharp-angle shot through Patterson.
Just under three minutes after DU took a 4-2 lead, Rau hit Zucker near the Pioneer bench and was given a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct. Zucker was injured on the play and did not return.
The Pioneers added a fifth goal 15 seconds after Minnesota killed off Rau’s penalty on a backhander by Chris Knowlton.
Zach Budish capped the scoring with 4:41 to play in the middle frame, tipping home a point shot by Seth Helgeson. The Gophers amped up the pressure in the third period, but Brittain stopped all 11 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes.
DU has now won nine of its last 11 against Minnesota and UM dropped to 16-5-0 when scoring first.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow night at 8 p.m. CT. The Gophers will return home next week for a series against in-state foe Bemidji State.
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Twenty-nine regular-season Gopher games will be televised including all 20 Big Ten contests this season.
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Hockey Day Minnesota is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 21 with the Maroon & Gold playing a 5 p.m. CT Border Battle matchup at Wisconsin.