Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Mavericks stun Gophers in Mankato; Aeros rally in the OKC

Posted by: Michael Russo under Gophers postgame, Wild off-season news Updated: November 3, 2012 - 11:07 PM

The Gophers played with fire all weekend, having to rally twice from one-goal deficits on Friday night to pull out a victory, then falling behind by 2-0 and 3-2 here tonight in Mankato before ultimately falling, 5-3, thanks to Dylan Margonari’s winner with 3:41 left.

Check out the gamer for most the details, but …
 
The goal came 20 seconds after the Gophers failed to score on a power play. Bryce Gervais came out of the box and dumped the puck. Margonari jumped on the ice and skated wide open into the middle of the zone for the goal.
 
Coach Don Lucia said the center went to help the D down low and the winger never took the center’s spot, which left the middle of the ice wide open. The center was Ryan Reilly, who was helping Seth Helgeson. The winger was Tom Serratore, who was along the wall. Plus, the Gophers just didn’t realize Margonari had come off the bench.
 
Then compounding all this was the fact that Max Gaede won that down-low board battle.
 
Soooo, it kind of epitomized a weekend in which the Gophers looked disjointed and made a number of defensive mistakes. Not just the D. The forwards weren’t picking up assignments tonight, like Zach Lehrke’s goal to make it 2-0. He slipped past Bjugstad.
 
Lucia said the he’s concerned and the Gophers, who have been trying to give freshmen defensemen Mike Reilly and Brady Skjei a chance to get inundated to college hockey, will now have to evaluate that.
 
“Everybody’s fair game,” Lucia said, and he could be talking about a couple vets who have been up and down.
 
The Gophers were outshot 19-7 in the first period – two less shots the amount they had given up per game this season.
 
“Our start was probably our demise,” Lucia said. “We iced three times the first seven minutes. We were sloppy with it. We were outshot badly in the first period and outplayed.”
 
Erik Haula had a goal and two assists for his 21st career multi-point game (81 points in 84 career games). Nate Condon and Nick Bjugstad scored, too, and Adam Wilcox made 30 saves.
 
The Gophers could just never get that go-ahead goal after Condon tied the score with 7:20 left in the second. There was a power play where it spent two minutes in the zone, but Phil Cook made four saves. Then in the final seconds of the second, he made a spectacular post-to-post save to rob Haula.
 
Would have changed the game because the Gophers would have taken a 4-3 lead to the third.
 
“It looked like we were coming,” Lucia said.
 
As for the Mavericks, big win, especially after 5-1 losses at St. Cloud State last weekend.
 
“The last 10 days we’ve faced adversity, and we hadn’t stared it back,” coach Mike Hastings said. “Tonight we did. … They’re the ones putting the work in. [Friday] night I thought we made a step. We talked about continuing to make steps and tonight we made another one.”
 
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As for the Houston Aeros, like Friday, they again rallied from a 3-0 deficit tonight in Oklahoma City. Unlike yesterday where they lost, tonight they won in a shootout.
 
David McIntyre, Chay Genoway and Joel Broda, with Zack Phillips setting up the last two goals. Phillips and Justin Fontaine scored in the shootout.
 
For injury updates on Jonas Brodin and Mikael Granlund, see my blog earlier in the day.
 
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In CBA news, NHL and NHLPA No. 2’s Bill Daly and Steve Fehr have met for several hours today and it’s reportedly still going on. To me, no news is good news. Let’s hope this is all positive after yesterday’s developments that the owners to legitimately “make whole” all player contracts. The devil’s in the details, but there could be some real momentum right now.
 
 

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