MINNEAPOLIS – For the first time in nearly two years, the No. 2 Minnesota men’s hockey program was shutout on Friday night in a 2-0 battle against No. 10/11 Denver at Mariucci Arena. Minnesota was unable to beat Pioneers’ goalie Juho Olkinuora all night as the Gophers were outshot for just the third time this season.
After 40 minutes of scoreless battle, Denver (17-10-5 overall, 12-8-5 WCHA) struck first just 18 seconds into the third period when Shawn Ostrow found the net for his 11th goal of the season. Ty Loney and Zac Larraza were credited with assists.
The quick goal was the only blemish of the night against Minnesota’s Adam Wilcox. The rookie netminder made 34 saves – one off his career high set last Saturday against Minnesota Duluth – to fall to 20-6-5 in his freshman campaign with the Gophers. Olkinuora matched his counterpart with 33 saves in the win to move to 11-4-5 on the season.
The Pioneers added an empty-net goal with 15 seconds left in regulation to hand Minnesota its first shutout loss since March 12, 2011 – a 2-0 loss to Alaska Anchorage in the WCHA playoffs.
The nation’s best power play struggled on Friday night as the Gophers were 0-for-5 while on the advantage and mustered only two shots on goal in power-play situations. Denver was held without a shot in its only power play of the night.
Minnesota (21-7-5 overall, 13-7-5) returns to action with the final WCHA regular-season game ever at Mariucci Arena on Saturday night. The Gophers’ home finale is slated for 7 p.m. with FOX Sports North and ESPN 1500 broadcasting the action.