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MANKATO — The Gophers have had issues with scoring a goal at the right time this season.
On Saturday night, they had issues with scoring. Period.
Minnesota State Mankato completed a WCHA sweep of the Gophers with a 2-1 victory before 4,612 at Verizon Wireless Center.
The Gophers had 50 shots on MSU goalie Phil Cook, including 23 in the final period.
"We couldn't put the puck in the net," said Gophers winger Jay Barriball, stopped twice on breakaways. "[Cook] played great, give credit ... but we've got to score more goals. It doesn't matter how many shots you have, you have to figure out how to put 'em in the net."
The only Gophers goal came in the third period, when defenseman Cade Fairchild's backhanded whack from the left circle floated over Cook's left shoulder. That made the score 2-1 with 9:38 left, and the Gophers continued pressuring ... to no avail.
"Sometimes it's like that in hockey," Fairchild said. "I guess, when you put 50 shots on net, you have give the goalie credit."
Kent Patterson stopped 30 shots for the Gophers, 8-7-1 overall and 5-6-1 in the WCHA. MSU is 6-6-4 and 4-6-2.
"They really came after us in the third period," MSU coach Troy Jutting said. "They were playing offense with five guys out there. You know when that happens that you are going to get some chances the other way. We did. I just wish we could have made more out of them."
Kurt Davis got the one that counted, putting the Mavericks ahead 2-0 nine minutes into the third period, taking an errant Gophers clear at center ice and skating in on a semi-break before unleashing a 30-footer past Patterson.
And that was all Cook needed.
"There was a flurry in the third, but for the most part the shots were coming consistently and the defensemen gave me a really good look at them," said Cook, a sophomore in his second season as MSU's top goalie. "I thought I was controlling the rebounds. It was still a good all-around effort from our team."
Said Gophers coach Don Lucia: "Well, I think we know who the [WCHA] player of the week is going to be. With any kind of puck luck, we win, but give the goalie credit. We got three goals this weekend, two on rebounds and one that was fluky. That's goaltending and that's hockey."
Mavericks captain Rylan Galiardi scored the first goal of the game, on a power play, in the final minute of the second period, whacking his own rebound past Patterson from the right edge.
The Gophers had a first-period goal by Nick Bjugstad disallowed because linemate Nate Condon was in the crease.
"We had about three kids show up for the first period, and thank God Phil was one of them," Jutting said. "And he was there all night."
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