Healed and rested Gophers prevail over Huskies

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 9, 2013 - 8:18 AM

A healthy Erik Haula scored twice and sharper 4-on-4 play proved decisive as Minnesota moved closer to first-place St. Cloud State.

hide

Minnesota's Justin Holl tries to get a shot on St. Cloud State goaltender Ryan Faragher.

Photo: Dave Schwarz, Associated Press - Ap

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

ST. CLOUD - Last weekend's break from competition gave the Gophers two weeks to rest up, get healthy and fine-tune their game for the stretch run of the WCHA race. Among their top priorities: allowing center Erik Haula to fully heal from his hand injury and improving their 4-on-4 play.

The benefits of that time off showed Friday, as the top-ranked Gophers ambushed No. 8 St. Cloud State 4-2 before a raucous crowd of 5,648 at the National Hockey Center. The Gophers (19-4-4, 11-4-4 WCHA) broke a 2-2 tie with a pair of 4-on-4 goals midway through the third period. Haula, who had played four games at wing while his hand mended, scored the game-winner -- his second goal of the game -- at 9 minutes, 32 seconds of the third period.

The loss ended a six-game undefeated streak for St. Cloud State (17-11-1, 14-6-1 WCHA) and pulled the Gophers within three points of the first-place Huskies. St. Cloud State had not lost a league game since Dec. 7, a span of nine games.

The Gophers' resolve was tested repeatedly in the first game of the only series this season between the in-state rivals. Two apparent first-period goals by Zach Budish were disallowed after long reviews, and the Huskies twice rallied to tie the score. After Haula put the Gophers ahead 2-1 early in the second period, the Gophers were assessed a costly penalty in the third and surrendered a power-play goal to the Huskies' Drew LeBlanc.

With the teams skating 4-on-4, Nate Schmidt fed Haula for a pretty goal that gave them the lead for good. Schmidt, a St. Cloud native, finished it off less than a minute later with a blistering slap shot past Huskies goalie Ryan Faragher. The Gophers outshot St. Cloud State 42-24 and got an outstanding performance from freshman goaltender Adam Wilcox, who made 22 saves.

"There were a couple of things that didn't go our way in the first period, and that happens in hockey games,'' said Schmidt, who leads all NCAA defensemen with 27 points. "You've gotta overcome the obstacles put in front of you.

"It was a little disheartening [to have the disallowed goals], but you've just got to rally the troops for another shift. We just had to weather the storm.''

The Gophers struck first on Nick Bjugstad's 14th goal of the season, which came in between the two goals that were waved off. On the first, the Gophers' Sam Warning brushed Faragher, and the goalie's helmet popped off before the puck crossed the goal line. On the second, Kyle Rau was knocked into Faragher as Budish shot.

The Huskies' Joey Benik tied the score late in the first period. In the second, the Gophers dictated play for most of the period -- outshooting the Huskies 16-5 -- and took a 2-1 lead on Haula's wrist shot from the right circle.

But Seth Helgeson was called for hooking early in the third, and LeBlanc tied the score with a power-play goal at 3:59. When the Gophers' Seth Ambroz and the Huskies' Taylor Johnson were penalized for roughing at 8:47, the Gophers got a chance to show coach Don Lucia what they learned during their time off.

"One thing we talked about [in practice last week] was that we should be a better 4-on-4 team than we had been,'' Lucia said. "We have a good skill level, and we have defensemen who can make some plays with the puck.''

Schmidt got the puck out of a tangle in front of the Gophers' net and passed to Haula, who made a slick move on Faragher. Only 58 seconds later, Schmidt got open in the right circle and waited for the perfect moment to blast a shot for his seventh goal of the season.

"We just had to stick with it,'' Haula said. "We did a great job of fighting back.''

  • (1) GOPHERS 4, (8) ST. CLOUD STATE 2 • Up next: 7 p.m. today at St. Cloud State • TV: FSN Plus (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota - T. May 6:05 PM
Baltimore - M. Gonzalez
NY Yankees - C. Capuano 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Buehrle
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. deGrom
Boston - A. Ranaudo 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Miami - T. Koehler 6:35 PM
Atlanta - E. Santana
Cleveland - D. Salazar 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - S. Carroll
Texas - S. Baker 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Oberholtzer
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks 7:15 PM
St. Louis - S. Miller
Colorado - C. Bergman 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Oakland - J. Lester 9:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Los Angeles - D. Haren 9:10 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Washington - J. Zimmermann 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 9:15 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Houston 7:00 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Phoenix
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close