Gophers' D-men do their job in OT win; now have to do it again
- Blog Post by: Roman Augustoviz
- February 25, 2012 - 6:49 PM
Gophers coach Don Lucia was pleased with his re-juggled defensive pairs.
Freshman Ben Marshall was out of the lineup Friday because of an injury, replaced by another freshman, 20-year-old Blake Thompson.
That move led to a couple others. The end results was Nate Schmidt, Mark Alt and Jake Parenteau all were playing with new partners.
Even so the Gophers won 3-2 over Nebraska Omaha in overtime. The Mavericks had only 24 shots on goal -- or about 10 under their average of 34.4.
“Blake Thompson did a nice job," Lucia said. "I thought all the D was sharp [Friday] night as far as playing with new partners and mixing and matching. Mike [associate head coach Mike Guentel did a great job with that.
"Blake was steady. He was physical and he made good decisions with the puck all night long.
“We kept their shots down and kept a lot of it to the outside.”
Thompson's line: no shots, plus-1 and, really important, zero penalties in his fourth game as a Gopher. He had six penalties in his first three games for 23 minutes.
The Gophers did have a few breakdowns. Lucia talked about one of them: “Their shorthanded goal was just the result of a pass that bounced off our stick, and right to them. And away they came on a two-on-one. They had seven shorties coming in and they have some dangerous players that they use. And we don’t have Ben Marshall, who has been there all year.
“[We] had some good looks, too. Their goaltender made some real big saves there in the second period on [Jake] Hansen and [Nick] Bjugstad. We had some really good looks on the power play. But he made the saves.”
Ryan Massa had 29 saves for UNO.
The Gophers' lineup:
1st line/ Kyle Rau-Nick Bjugstad-Zach Budish ... Bjugey credited Budish for screening the goalie on his 23rd goal of the season ... Bjugey had four shots on goal
2nd line/ Sam Warning-Erik Haula-Jake Hansen ... Both Haula and Hansen had several Grade A scoring chances on Friday
3rd line/ Nate Condon-Taylor Matson-Nico Sacchetti .... Condon had a team-high five shots on goal and key assist on winning goal
4th line/ Joe Miller-Travis Boyd-Seth Ambroz ... Miller replaces Tom Serratore in lineup
Seth Helgeson-Justin Holl ... Holl had three shots on net
Nate Schmidt-Mark Alt ... Alt was the only plus-2 player in Gophers' lineup
Jake Parenteau-Blake Thompson ... Wonder if Parenteau has come down from his emotional high after OT goal?
Kent Patterson ... his goals-against average down to 2.09
THREE KEYS TO U WIN
1. Shoot the puck. How many times did a Gopher play with a chance to shoot pass it up and pass instead. And usually the shot was bit off, got blocked or the recipient shot wide. Lots of missed chances. Gophers need to put more sustained pressure on a good goalie
2. Keep taking goalie's eyes away. On two of the Gophers' goals, there was traffic in front. Massa was screened and either didn't see the puck or saw it too late. If he sees it, Massa is tough.
3. Figure out the power play. It looked awful at time. Five shots on four power plays and what's worse, short-handed chances for UNO. Did you see the three-on-one UNO had short-handed late in the second period? Gophers can do better. They must in the playoffs.
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