Gophers start second half with nice win over Niagara
December 31, 2011 — 9:07am
Shoot, shoot, shoot. Don't pass up scoring chances.
Get to the net. Get to the net.
The Gophers coaches kept telling their players to do those two things this week in practice. Sometimes teen-agers and young adult actually listen.
The Gophers beat Niagara 5-1 on Friday, scoring all their goals within the circles. They outshot the Purple Eagles 43-21. In shots attempted, the Gophers had a 72-37 dominance.
The maroon and gold defensemen also did a good job of getting shots to the net. Minnesota only had six shots blocked to Niagara's 11.
But the Gophers will get a tougher test on Saturday. Northeastern is a Hockey East team on a seven-game unbeaten streak (6-0-1).
The Huskies beat Princeton 4-3 on a shootout in their first classic game.
Truth be told, the Gophers probably should have had a couple more goals on Friday. One puck was cleared by a Purple Eagle just before it reached the goal line. Erik Haula hit a pipe in the third period. Sam Warning had two great chances in the slot, one off a turnover.
But it was a good start to the second half. The Gophers improved their resume as defenseman Nate Schmidt said.
Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow @RomanStrib on Twitter. E-mail Roman.
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