Nick Bjugstad's power-play goal and Kent Patterson's stalwart goalie play led the Gophers to a shutout over the Sioux that was as hard-fought as anticipated.
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.
|Oakland - J. Lester||7:07 PM|
|Kansas City - J. Shields|
|Minnesota||10/2/14 7:25 PM|
|Buffalo||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|Chicago||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|Cleveland||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|St. Louis||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|Atlanta||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|Tampa Bay||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|Houston||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|Baltimore||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|Pittsburgh||10/5/14 12:00 PM|
|Arizona||10/5/14 3:05 PM|
|Kansas City||10/5/14 3:25 PM|
|NY Jets||10/5/14 3:25 PM|
|Cincinnati||10/5/14 7:30 PM|
|Seattle||10/6/14 7:30 PM|
|NY Islanders||6:00 PM|
|NY Rangers||6:00 PM|
|Tampa Bay||7:30 PM|
|Los Angeles||9:30 PM|
|Fla Atlantic||10/2/14 6:00 PM|
|UCF||10/2/14 6:00 PM|
|Arizona||10/2/14 9:30 PM|
|Louisville||10/3/14 6:00 PM|
|San Diego St||10/3/14 9:00 PM|
|Utah State||10/3/14 9:15 PM|
|(6) Texas A&M||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|(12) Miss State|
|Ball State||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|Iowa State||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|(21) Oklahoma State|
|Marshall||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|Southern Miss||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|(20) Ohio State||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|Purdue||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|Florida||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|SMU||10/4/14 11:00 AM|
|(22) East Carolina|
|Virginia Tech||10/4/14 11:30 AM|
|Eastern Mich||10/4/14 1:00 PM|
|North Texas||10/4/14 1:30 PM|
|Massachusetts||10/4/14 1:30 PM|
|Tulsa||10/4/14 2:00 PM|
|New Mexico||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|(3) Alabama||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|(11) Ole Miss|
|(14) Stanford||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|(9) Notre Dame|
|(17) Wisconsin||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|Navy||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|(7) Baylor||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|(4) Oklahoma||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|Wake Forest||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|NC State||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|Buffalo||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|Ohio U||10/4/14 2:30 PM|
|Oregon State||10/4/14 3:00 PM|
|Vanderbilt||10/4/14 3:00 PM|
|Kansas||10/4/14 3:00 PM|
|Kent State||10/4/14 4:00 PM|
|South Alabama||10/4/14 5:00 PM|
|Texas-El Paso||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|(15) LSU||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|UAB||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|Texas Tech||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|(23) Kansas State|
|Michigan||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|Hawaii||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|Toledo||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|ULM||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|Georgia State||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|Idaho||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|Memphis||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|Arizona State||10/4/14 6:30 PM|
|So Carolina||10/4/14 6:30 PM|
|Pittsburgh||10/4/14 6:30 PM|
|Miami-Florida||10/4/14 6:30 PM|
|(19) Nebraska||10/4/14 7:00 PM|
|(10) Michigan State|
|UNLV||10/4/14 7:00 PM|
|San Jose St|
|Ga Southern||10/4/14 7:00 PM|
|New Mexico St|
|California||10/4/14 9:30 PM|
|Utah||10/4/14 9:30 PM|
|Boise State||10/4/14 9:30 PM|
|Winnipeg||10/3/14 6:00 PM|
|Calgary||10/3/14 9:00 PM|
|Edmonton||10/4/14 3:00 PM|
|Brt Columbia||10/4/14 6:00 PM|
|Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois||6 pm||X||42-20|
|Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St.||2:30 pm||X||35-24|
|Sep 13 - at TCU||3 pm||X||30-7|
|Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St.||3 p.m.||X||24-7|
|Sep 27 - at Michigan||2:30 pm||30-14|
|Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern||11 am|
|Oct 18 - vs. Purdue||11 am|
|Oct 25 - at Illinois||11 am|
|Nov 8 - vs. Iowa||TBA|
|Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State||TBA|
|Nov 22 - at Nebraska||TBA|
|Nov 29 - at Wisconsin||TBA|