Dec. 28, 2011
Photo Gallery (photos from Patterson's record-breaking 5-0 win against St. Cloud State on Nov. 19)
Senior goaltender Kent Patterson did not have a shutout at Minnesota entering this season. Through 20 games he has six of them and a school record. Patterson began the year with three straight home shutouts and on Nov. 19 he blanked St. Cloud State 5-0 to set a school record with six shutouts in one season. He broke Robb Stauber’s record of five, which he set in 1988 when he won the Hobey Baker Award.
We recently caught up with Patterson, who named the national college hockey player of the month for October, about setting the record and the first 20 games of the season.
GopherSports: What were your expectations coming into this season?
Kent Patterson: I wanted to build off of the way I finished last year. So far it has been good. I am happy with the way I have been playing and want to continue it.
GS: You shutout Sacred Heart in the first game of the season. What were you feeling after that game?
KP: I definitely felt confident after that game, especially with that being the first game of the year. It was great to get a shutout that first game and was a good confidence builder.
GS: Then you shutout Sacred Heart again and then beat Minnesota Duluth twice on the road before returning home and shutting out Vermont. That was quite a nice five-game stretch for you.
KP: Things were feeling right and our team was playing great. Guys were blocking shots and doing all the things necessary to help make my job easier.
GS: With three shutouts in the first five games, did you know that you would have a chance at the school record of shutouts in a season? When did you become aware that you could set that record?
KP: I don’t really know when, but after those first couple I certainly felt great and my confidence was up there. The team was doing all the right things. I had to make a couple big saves, but guys were doing a great job clearing a lot of pucks out.
GS: You set the record in the fourteenth game of the season. That is pretty astounding. Once you got to five, were you happy to set the record so quickly, so it was not something that was going to linger during the season?
KP: I did not really think about it a whole lot. I did not even know what the record was before the season started, but it is definitely an honor to be mentioned with those guys and especially Robb. He is somebody who has been my mentor.
GS: It has to feel nice to do something for the first time in the history of Gopher Hockey.
KP: It makes me feel pretty good, but I am just looking forward to the rest of this year and want to continue what I have been doing and play well.
GS: You mentioned the defense and how they are playing well. That group does not have any seniors and only one junior. Have they surprised you with how efficient they have been?
KP: We are still learning back there. Guys are still trying to figure out their game, but they are improving. I make mistakes, defensemen make mistakes, everyone makes mistakes, but that happens. But we are improving as the season progresses.
GS: You have said in the past that you like to see a lot of shots during games. And outside of seeing 50 in each win at Minnesota Duluth, you have not seen that many shots this year. In 16 of 20 games, you have seen 29 or fewer shots.
KP: I like to see a lot of shots, but even though I am not seeing a lot of shots it is great for our team that we are not giving up a lot of shots this year.
GS: What is a good indicator for you that you are going to have a good game? How do you know when you are in your zone?
KP: A good indicator is when I am just seeing the puck. When I can see the puck through a screen or make a second save and not give up a rebound and put the puck in the corner when I want to.
GS: What do you want to do to better in the second half of the season?
KP: I want to keep working on rebound control and keep fighting to see pucks. I also want to get better at reading different situations and knowing where guys are on the penalty kill. When I can pick guys up and see where plays develop then I usually have a good chance to stop the puck.
GS: Are there any saves from this year that you are particularly proud of?
KP: The one I think about is the three-on-one save late in the game against North Dakota. You cannot plan that save, you just have to react to them. I love making those saves especially at home in front of our crowd. That was a great feeling.