The public got their first glimpse of the 2011-12 Gophers on Sunday night. And 6,535 came to watch the Gophers smother the University of British Columbia 3-0 at Mariucci Arena. The defense looked solid from the game reports I have read.
And although I was not there -- still have Lynx duty until their season ends -- it sounds like the Gophers' scoring problems from the season-ending series against Alaska Anchorage continued at least this night.
Remember the Seawolves beat the Gophers 4-3, 2-0 in the first round of the WCHA playoffs. I have been trying to forget, how about you?
Last night, the Gophers had more than a 4-1 dominance in shots against the University of British Columbia, but it was a 2-0 game until the final minute. Freshman defenseman Blake Thompson got an empty-netter for the final 3-0 margin.
Jake Hansen, a senior right wing, had a three-point game for the maroon and gold. He scored 1 minute, 25 seconds into the game and had assists on the other two goals. The score stayed 1-0 until Erik Haula scored on a shot off the crossbar early in the third period.
The Gophers are going to need big seasons from Hansen and Haula, a sophomore center who finished last season playing with a broken bone in one of his feet. Ouch.
Senior iron man goalie Kent Patterson, who is expected to play almost every game, and newcomer Mike Shibrowski, were in the nets for the Gophers. Patterson didn't face a shot in the opening period. Shots were 15-0.
The Thunderbirds did not even have a shot attempt the first 16 minutes, according to a Gophers hockey news release. That's hard to believe.
Patterson did face three shots in the first 10 minutes of the second period, then Shibrowski, a sophomore who graduated from Benilde-St. Margaret's and has bounced around since then, replaced him.Patterson and had seven saves in his 1-1/2 periods..
The Gophers open the season against Sacred Heart at home on Friday and Saturday.
The game story on the Gophers' web site is here.
These were the Gophers' lines and defensive pairs against the Thunderbirds, who lost 4-1 to Nebraska Omaha on Saturday and play MSU Mankato on Monday:
Kyle Rau-Nick Bjugstad-Zach Budish
Sam Warning-Erik Haula-Jake Hansen
Taylor Matson-Nate Condon-Seth Ambroz
Christian Isackson-Travis Boyd-Nico Sacchetti
Extra: Joe Miller
Seth Helgeson-Justin Holl
Ben Marshall-Mark Alt
Jake Parenteau-Blake Thompson
Extra: Chris Student
Kent Patterson, Mike Shibrowski, and Jake Kremer