ADVERTISEMENT

It was another physical game between the Gophers and Sioux as Gophers Nate Condon (16) sent UND's Derek Rodwell into the boards in the first period Friday night.

Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

GOPHERS VS. NORTH DAKOTA

Up next: 7:30 tonight at Mariucci Arena • TV: BTN (1500ESPN)

A rip-snortin' clash ends with U victory

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ
  • Star Tribune
  • November 5, 2011 - 12:58 AM

With Kent Patterson in the nets, the Gophers can win without many goals. On Friday, they got a power-play goal from their top center and a breakaway goal from a fourth-line winger.

That was plenty.

The Gophers edged North Dakota 2-0 as Patterson made 24 saves in his team's WCHA home opener at Mariucci Arena before an announced crowd of 10,176. The shutout was Patterson's fifth in nine games; he already has tied Robb Stauber's program record set in 1987-88 for most shutouts in one season.

Nick Bjugstad scored the game-winning goal midway through the second period on a power play. The 6-5 sophomore got an open look from the left hash marks and buried it for his seventh goal of the season.

Tom Serratore gave the Gophers a two-goal lead in the middle of the third period. Nick Larson's pass created the breakaway.

"Just another ho-hum game, huh?" Gophers coach Don Lucia joked. "No, it was the type of game we expected. It was hard-hitting, it was physical [29 penalties]. There was blocked shots, goaltending, guys making plays.

"And there was not a lot of space in the game tonight. The game was settling in. You knew it was going to be a low-scoring game."

The No. 5-ranked Gophers (8-1, 5-0) remained in first place in the WCHA with the victory and buried the defending MacNaughton Cup champions a little deeper in the league standings. No. 15 North Dakota (3-5-1, 1-4) has struggled to score goals much of the season.

The Gophers, averaging an NCAA-best 5.38 goals per game, were held scoreless in the opening period for the first time this season and started the second period on a five-minute penalty kill.

Freshman winger Seth Ambroz received a major penalty and a game disqualification for contact to the head at 30 seconds. The Gophers killed that penalty, making plays repeatedly that had the crowd roaring.

"We were able to do a good job on our kill," Lucia said, "and maybe even for some momentum from our kill because we did not give up a lot of looks on it."

If the penalty kill didn't energize the Gophers, a melee in the middle of the period probably did. It began when Patterson dived out of the crease to cover a puck and North Dakota's Dan Senkbeil crashed into him.

Soon the ice looked like a shot of the main floor at the state high school wrestling meet, with eight players rolling around on the ice, all paired up. Out of the melee, the Gophers got a power play and scored on what was a 5-on-3 1/2.

The half was Sioux captain Mario Lamoureux. A hard point shot by Gophers defenseman Nate Schmidt broke Lamoureux's stick and had him hobbling around in pain.

"[Schmidt] can really hammer the puck -- I think that's what hurt [Lamoureux] and he broke his stick," Bjugstad said. "Fortunately, it ended up being a 3-on-0. If I wouldn't have scored, I would have caught some heat from the guys."

Serratore gave the Gophers a 2-0 lead with his second goal of the season midway through the third period.

"Our team has been doing a great job of letting me see pucks, letting me make the first save," Patterson said. "I am going to have to make a few big saves once in a while."

But not too often.

Friday afternoon, Patterson was named college hockey's National Player of the Month for October. Last night he started building his case to repeat this month.

Notes

• Along with Patterson, Kyle Rau also was named the winner of a national award on Friday. While Patterson was named Player of the Month, Rau got Rookie of the Month honors.

Patterson was 7-1 in October with a 1.74 goals-against average and four shutouts. Rau led all freshmen with seven goals and 13 points.

• On Thursday, the Gophers got a major commitment for the 2013-14 season. Taylor Cammarata, a forward for Waterloo of the USHL, said he would accept a scholarship offer. Cammarata scored 71 goals for the under-18 Shattuck-St. Mary's team last season. He was the No. 1 pick in the USHL Futures Draft in April.

• The Gophers' shutout was the first against North Dakota since Oct. 23, 2004, and the first at Mariucci Arena against UND since Dec. 12, 1993.

© 2014 Star Tribune