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 him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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Postgame: Gophers outside the locker room

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers postgame Updated: November 5, 2011 - 4:27 PM

After Gophers' home games, the players come out one by one, and stand in front of the wall outside their locker room while 15 or so media members squish around them for interviews.

Many of the questions are pretty basic. Here is a sample of the Q and A.

Why are you playing better?

Goalie Kent Patterson: "Guys are backchecking through the middle, picking up [opponents] so they are not getting those opportunities. Guys are blocking shots on the penalty kill and when they have scoring chances, too."

The Gophers blocked 16 shots -- 10 more than the Fighting Sioux -- in a 2-0 victory over UND on Friday. Defenseman Justin Holl had four blocks to lead the U, defenseman Nate Schmidt and forward Jake Hansen had three blocks apiece.

How big was the five-minute penalty kill at the start of the second period?

KP: "It was a huge momentum boost, especially when the crowd gets into it like that. It gets our bench going and just gives us confidence. If we can kill off a five-minute power play we can kill off pretty much anything."

Lucia used 12 different players for the first three shifts, then mixed in some others.

Out first were D-man Nate Schmidt and Jake Parenteau with forwards Erik Haula and Jake Hansen.

Next were D-men Mark Alt and Ben Marshall with forwards Nate Condon and Taylor Matson.

Then D-men Justin Holl and Seth Helgeson with forwards Tom Serratore and Travis Boyd.

Stopping jotting the pk units after that but Kyle Rau got out there and the rookie winger stole the puck in the UND end and wasted some valuable time before the Sioux could get it back.

The Sioux had only four harmless chances on the long power play; Michael Parks fanned on maybe the best one in the slot.

Matson, the Gophers captain, had two great chances for a short-handed goal. He had two shots in close on UND goalie Aaron Dell and then had a two-on-one with Nate Condon, but Taylor's pass to Condon was just off and the Gophers didn't get a shot.

Are you doing anything differently?

KP: "I enjoy each and every day. When I do get a shutout, great. But you have to take the good with the bad. Just make sure that I come to the rink every day, preparing for games individually. And just make sure I bring my game day by day."

Why is team having so much success?

KP: "Everybody is selling out. We are all in it for the same thing. Guys have been blocking shots, guys are playing their roles, everybody is getting along and the lines are clicking."

What does being named the national player of the month in college hockey on Friday mean to you?

KP: "I just heard about it [Fri]day. It is great to be honored with that kind of award. but then again it's just an award and there is a whole lot of season left."

Patterson was named the No. 1 star of the game, Nick Bjugstad, who scored the game-winning first goal on a powe play was named the second star and Kyle Rau the third star. Bjugstad's goal was his seventh this season.

Was the team smarter on penalties in this game even though it got 15?

NB: "We learned our lesson against Vermont. We took some dumb penalties there which cost us down the long run. We took a penalty early [in the second period] -- a hit from behind. [Seth] Ambroz. It wasn't really his fault, the guy kind of turned. Penalties like that, [coach Don] Lucia makes sure don't happen again."

 Ambroz received a five-minute major for contact to the head at 30 seconds of the second period.

What is it like playing North Dakota?

NB: “This has to be one of my favorite games to play in. Playing North Dakota at our place, it’s crazy. The fans are into it. There is just no better game you can play. It is a man’s game. Everybody is hitting out there. It is pretty tough and that is what makes it fun.”
 

 

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