Oct. 15, 2011
The No. 14 Minnesota men’s hockey team staved off a late rally by defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth to capture its second straight sweep to start the 2011-12 season, downing the Bulldogs 5-4 at Amsoil Arena. The Gophers received another big-time performance from senior goaltender Kent Patterson, who saved 46 of 50 shots for the second straight night—this time, in front of a UMD school-record 6,784 fans.
The Gophers, who started strong on Friday night, fell into an early hole against the ninth-ranked team in the country. The Bulldogs struck quickly when Travis Oleksuk beat Patterson less than a minute into the contest and the home team doubled its lead 7:11 in when Jack Connolly scored a power-play goal.
Just under four minutes later, Seth Ambroz was hit hard by UMD’s David Grun at the UM blueline, drawing a charging penalty that set up what proved to be a tide-changing goal.
Jake Hansen collected his second score of the season on the man-advantage, which capitalized on all three of its opportunities on Saturday.
Friday night overtime hero Nate Condon knotted the score with a fluky goal that went off a Minnesota-Duluth player and in with 3:41 left in the period.
After totaling just four shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes, Minnesota came out of the gate hard following the intermission.
Nick Bjugstad gave the Gophers a lead they would not relinquish 70 seconds in when he danced around Bulldog defender Brady Lamb and beat UMD goalie Kenny Reiter to make it 3-2.
Soon after the midway point in regulation, Mike Seidel took a penalty for charging at Patterson while crashing the net and Condon made him pay by notching his third goal of the weekend and second of the game, giving the Gophers a two-goal lead.
In the third period with 9:58 to go, freshman Kyle Rau added to his impressive early-season resume by turning a long shot by Nate Schmidt into his team’s fifth goal of the night.
Minnesota has now scored in all 13 periods it has played in this season, including overtime.
Caleb Herbert, who got Minnesota-Duluth on the board on Friday, and 2011 Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player J.T. Brown scored in the final nine minutes to bring the Bulldogs within one, but Patterson and the Gopher defense held on for the win in the game’s closing moments.
UM is now 4-0-0 for the first time since it started the 2001-02 season. The Gophers swept UMD for the first time since November 3 and 4, 2006, and earned four points in Duluth for the first time since head coach Don Lucia’s first season behind the Minnesota bench in 1999-2000.
Minnesota will look to continue its hot start in a Friday-Sunday home series against Vermont of Hockey East next weekend at Mariucci Arena. Friday’s game against the Catamounts begins at 6 p.m. and the game on Sunday is slated to start at 1 p.m.
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