Oct. 28, 2011
The eighth-ranked Minnesota men’s hockey team bounced back from its first loss of the season with a 5-0 WCHA road win over Alaska Anchorage at Sullivan Arena on Friday night. UM goaltender Kent Patterson posted his fourth shutout of the season with a 22-save performance and the Gophers ended a three-game losing streak to the Seawolves, who knocked them out of WCHA and NCAA playoff contention last season.
UM got the scoring started at the end of a back-and-forth first period. Erik Haula got on the scoresheet for a seventh-consecutive game to start the season by burying a one-time feed from Zach Budish after a UAA turnover with 1:59 left in the first.
The goal ended Seawolf netminder Chris Kamal’s 86 minute, 43 second scoreless streak against the Gophers, which dated back to last season. It was also Haula’s first career point against Alaska Anchorage in five contests.
The game remained 1-0 through the first half of the second period, but the Gophers took advantage of a Jade Portwood boarding penalty to make it a two-goal game. Nick Bjugstad buried a loose puck in front of Kamal for his sixth goal of the season 39 seconds into the power play.
Just 1:03 later, Mark Alt gave Minnesota more breathing room by scoring his first goal of the year on a seeing-eye blast from the point.
Nate Condon had a chance to record his fourth 2011-12 WCHA goal with under five minutes left in the second by maneuvering his way past a Seawolf defenseman and into the slot, but the sophomore winger rang a hard shot off the crossbar.
With a three-goal lead heading into the final 20 minutes, the Gophers would waste little time adding an insurance goal.
A shot from the blueline from the stick of Justin Holl gave the second-year defenseman his second goal in as many games to make it 4-0 just 30 seconds into the third.
Haula later capped the scoring by quickly releasing a power-play pass dished out by Nate Schmidt to make it a five-goal game.
Patterson only needed to make two third-period saves to maintain the shutout following a 14-save middle stanza. One of those stops, however, came on a breakaway by Blaine, Minn.-native Eric Scheid.
With the victory, the Gophers improved to 6-1-0 overall and 3-0-0 in WCHA. They now sit in a three-way tie with Nebraska-Omaha and Michigan Tech atop the conference standings.
Minnesota will look to complete the sweep and remain unbeaten in WCHA action when the two teams play again on Saturday night at 10 p.m. central time in Anchorage.
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