The Gophers did a masterful job of containing Rylan and Jaden Schwartz, two of the top forwards in the WCHA. They had three shots, no points.
But somebody named Tim Hall, a senior with one goal coming in, scored with 36 seconds left to give CC a 2-1 win. Tim who?
Seems like the Gophers had the North Dakota hangover again. They put so much energy and effort into beating the team with no nickname that they don't bring their A game to the rink the next weekend.
Nick Bjugstad was good, with a goal, his 20th, and nine shots. Jake Hansen stood out, too, with seven shots, five in the opening period. Darn, he had an open upper net once if he could have lifted the puck.
Kyle Rau was hitting people, even though he is 5-8. But the Gophers didn't have a lot of sustained pressure on CC goalie Josh Thorimbert except on an early two-minute power play and near the end of the game.
That first power play of theirs looked great, except for not scoring. Their only other power play, which was five minutes, looked mediocre, bordering on awful: Pass the puck around the perimeter. Take long shots that are blocked before they get to the net, or are easy saves.
The Gophers have talent, no doubt, but it doesn't come out every night.
They are like a boxer who needs to be bloodied and bruised before he really starts punishing his opponent.
The Gophers need to beat CC on Saturday because this is the only time they meet and right now, the Tigers hold the head to head edge on the U. That's one of the four comparisons used to compile the PairWise ratings.
And if you don't know what the PairWise ratings are, why are you reading this? Every college hockey fan she be familiar with those ratings because they determine which nine teams will receive at-large invites to the NCAA tournament.
The Gophers have not made hockey's big dance the past three years. This team should get there but ... it won't if it keeps losing winnable one-goal games.