"It's hard to lose two games in the fashion -- it's kind of how it has gone," Gophers coach Don Lucia said, referring to UMD's sweep of his team last weekend. "To lose with two minutes to go [on Saturday] and it goes of your skate. That was three or four [goals] on the weekend that went off of us and went in. But, you know what, you got to make those plays, too.

"The disappointing part both nights is that we were up by two and couldn't get a third goal or get a separation goal to put the game away. The second period [on Satrurday] we had three or four penalties in a row. They were able to convert the one on the power play. Overall, I thought our penalty killing was really good all weekend long. And now the momentum switched a little bit at that time."

UMD was 2-for-11 on the power play, but the Bulldogs have one of the best PPs in the nation. It was the sixth best coming into this series, scoring at a 26.5 percent pace. But Bulldogs defenseman Mike Montgomery, who scored the game-winner on Saturday, said UMD had to change the look of the power play the second night because the Gophers were handing it so well. 

The Bulldogs scored two big goals off the skates of Gophers defenseman, one on Friday and Montgomery's goal on Saturday.

"It's frustrating," Lucia said. "We are not a good enough team to have pucks go off of us. That's the reality. We don't have a large maring for error. The guys, really all weekend long, they competed. They did a lot of good things. They did everything they could to try to win the game. But, again, we are not good enough to have some of those things happen and win."

QUICK SHOTS NEEDED

A reporter asked Lucia after Saturday's game why the Gophers defenseman so seldom one-timed shots.

"John [assistant coach John Hill] is out with our defensemen every day for 20 minutes before practice even starts working on shooting,' Lucia said. "That's why Kevin [Wehrs] was out there [on the power play] again. He is one of the few guys who is willing to one-time a puck.

Wehrs scored a power-play goal on a one-timer late in the first period Saturday to give the Gophers a 2-0 lead.

"We got some guys who like to get it and try to look for a guy in the seam or something like that," Lucia said. "That's how we score our goals. The one off the faceoff, Seth [actually it was Wehrs] one-timed it or got it off quickly and we tipped it in. {Mike Hoeffel did that.] And the other one was a one-timer.

"[One-timers] is something we have to learn to have more confidence in and do it. Because nowadays with everybody blocking shots, if you are going to hold it and massage it, you are never going to get a puck through."

A one-timer is a shot taken off a pass. On those shots, the shooter does not stop the puck and set up, instead he tried to time the arrival of the puck with his swing. It's a quick shot that sometimes surprises goalies with how soon it gets to the net. Often goalies are sliding over from one side to the other side of the net.

"We had some chances," Lucia said after Saturday's loss. "A few shots the goaltender was looking for them and he didn't see them. We had a chance in the second and Hoff {Hoeffel] hit the pipe. We had a lot of good looks and a lot of good chances but we couldn't finish."

UMD goalie Brady Hjelle, a sophomore from Internationals Falls, finished with a career-high 36 saves, 16 in the opening period.

"[Hjelle] made some good saves," Lucia said. "Any goalie, when you let in two, you got to feel good about your game."

 THIRD GOAL A MUST

"We just got to finish teams," Wehrs said. "The last two nights we got up two goals on them and we couldn't get that third goal to finish them off. Until we do that, it's going to be tough for us the rest of the year."

"We know we are a good team. We know what we are capable of. We are not panicking. We know we can -- a lot of  the games we have lost  we could have won. We know we are going to get better and toward the end of the year we can start winning these games."

Why would a 3-0 lead be so huge? "One more [goal] puts a little doubt in their minds: Maybe we can't come back," Wehrs said.. "A two-goal lead, their is an old saying, 'that's the worst lead in hockey.' And that proved true the last two games.

"We are just getting bad bounces. By the same token, they work for their bounces. They get in front of the net and throw the puck in front of the net, stuff is going to happen. Unfortunately, it hasn't been happening for us. We know it will even out toward the end of the year."

 HOEFFEL EXPECTS TURNAROUND

"It stings knowing we had the leads and we let them slip," said Hoeffel, a junior winger.who set up the first goal in Friday's game and scored the first goal Saturday.  "We are going to find a way to turn this around. And we are going to turn it around."

What's the team mood? "Obviously, frustrated but we are going to put this behind us and move on," Hoeffel said. "That's all we can do.

"The frustrating thing is we are doing a lot of good things. We  are getting better in a lot of areas. It's just a couple areas where it is still getting us. Offensively, we are getting more shots, we are getting more chances, we are doing some little things right. But it is just a couple little things kind of costing us each night.

UMD PERSPECTIVE

Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin the sweep over the Gophers was huge for his team because, after having Thanksgiving weekend off, the Bulldogs finish the first half of the WCHA with North Dakota and Denver at home in December on back-to-back weekends. Those are two teams in the thick of the WCHA race for first place.

"Hard work paid off and we ended up getting a bounce at the end," said Montgomery, who scored the game-winner Satuday with 2:02 left in the third period.

"Our guys just keep plugging away. We stress hard work, anything can happen. Luckily it happened for us twice this weekend. 

"It's always tougher the second night, especially battling back the first night. It was definitely a little extra effort our guys had to do [Saturday].."