BOSTON – Captain Justin Kloos had a hat trick — doubling his season goal total — and the Gophers built leads of 2-1 and 4-2 on Friday night, but No. 11 Minnesota lost 6-4 to Northeastern of Hockey East in a nonconference game.
The loss kept the Gophers’ Don Lucia from becoming the eighth coach in NCAA history to win 700 games in his career. This was his first chance to reach that milestone.
Lucia’s career record is now 699-378-99 in his 30th season, including 18 at Minnesota. The Gophers are 5-4-2 this season.
Kloos’ first goal came at 9 minutes, 21 seconds of the opening period and tied the score at 1-all. It came on a tip-in on a centering pass from Tyler Sheehy. His second goal, at 17:32 of the first on a power play, made it 3-2 Gophers. It was his 50th career goal in college.
He also scored the only goal of the second period, at 6:28. This was his second hat trick; the other came against St. Cloud State on Nov. 1, 2014.
Kloos’ big game came after he scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Minnesota State Mankato in the Gophers’ previous game six nights ago. That goal was the ninth game-winner in his career.
But the Huskies (5-5-4) kept Kloos from being the hero again. After getting only three shots in the second period — to the Gophers’ 11 — they scored four consecutive goals in the third period as junior forward Dylan Sikura completed his hat trick by getting two of them. His third goal was the winner, putting Northeastern ahead 5-4 at 13:22. It came from the top of the right circle and beat Schierhorn low to his glove side after he lost his stick on a dive.
Zach Aston-Reese added an empty-netter for Northeastern with 32 seconds left.
Sikura started the rally with his second goal at 1:40 of the third. Then Adam Gaudette tied the score at 4-all on a power-play goal at 3:22.
Eric Schierhorn had 21 saves and Vinni Lettieri the other goal for the Gophers, Ryan Ruck stopped 27 for Northeastern.
Minnesota still leads the all-time series with Northeastern 8-6. The Gophers won 4-0 and 4-3 last season at Mariucci Arena but lost 3-2 on Nov. 29, 2014, the last time they played at the Huskies’ Matthews Arena.
Minnesota will play Boston College, ranked No. 4 by USCHO.com, at noon Sunday in Chestnut Hill, Mass. The Eagles are coached by the legendary Jerry York, the all-time leader in career coaching wins with 1,023.
“These are important games against quality opponents,” Lucia said before the trip, “… a good test for our team.”