Backed by Kent Patterson’s fifth shutout of the season, a 24-save effort, the fifth-ranked Minnesota men’s hockey team defeated archrival North Dakota 2-0 at Mariucci Arena on Friday night. The Gophers received goals from sophomores Nick Bjugstad and Tom Serratore in the victory.
The game got off to a slow, but physical start where the teams combined for four total shots through the first ten minutes, but play picked up after that.
No. 15 North Dakota got the first scoring chance of the night when Derek Rodwell got off a good-angle shot on a shorthanded two-on-one with 8:40 left in the frame that was turned aside by Patterson. The odd-man rush came with time on an Andrew MacWilliam slashing penalty winding down.
The Gophers ended up with a 10-7 shot advantage after 20 minutes, but the game remained scoreless. It was the second period all season that didn’t include a UM goal.
The intensity from the first period carried over to the second, but a Seth Ambroz hit-to-the-head major 30 seconds in momentarily stopped any momentum UM had entering the frame.
Kyle Rau started the kill by single-handedly keeping the puck in the offensive zone. Midway through the five minutes, North Dakota got its best chance on the man advantage when a loose puck made its way past an outstretched Patterson, but Justin Holl made a quick stick lift on an opposing forward to keep UND off the board.
Patterson finished with four saves before Sam Warning, who served the penalty, left the box and gave Minnesota and the 10,176 fans at Mariucci a boost of energy.
With 8:13 left in the middle stanza, Dan Senkbeil made contact with Patterson after Patterson covered up a puck for a whistle, causing a skirmish in the UM zone.
Three players from each team ended up in the penalty box and Senkbeil earned an extra two minutes for slashing, giving the Gophers their fourth power play of the game.
On the five-on-four, North Dakota captain Mario Lamoureux came up limping after being hit by a Nate Schmidt slapshot and had his stick broken by a second shot by the Minnesota defenseman.
At 12:44 with Lamoureux still on the ice, Schmidt fed Rau down low and Rau dished a pass to Bjugstad at near the top of the left circle. Bjugstad walked and snapped a shot into the top left corner over the shoulder of UND goaltender Aaron Dell to make it 1-0.
That score held until the end of the period.
There was tension in the building until the Gophers finally added to their lead with 8:43 to go. Nick Larson sent Serratore in alone on Dell and Serratore beat the UND netminder five-hole to pad the lead.
Patterson turned away six North Dakota shots in the final frame to preserve the two-goal win, improving Minnesota to 8-1-0 overall on the season and 5-0-0 in the WCHA.
The shutout, Patterson’s fifth of the year, tied an all-time UM record set by Robb Stauber in 1987-88. Stauber won the Hobey Baker Award that season.
The Gophers meet UND again tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. looking to sweep their border rivals for the first time since Dec. 9 and 10, 2005. The contest will air on the Big Ten Network.