Gophers Come Up Short in Vegas Against UND

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LAS VEGAS – The No. 5 Gopher Hockey program took its first loss of the season on Saturday night, falling 3-1 to No. 17 North Dakota in front of 7,412 at the 2018 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

After a scoreless first (Minnesota’s third-straight game without allowing or scoring a goal in the first period including both exhibitions contests), the long-time rivals traded goals in the second stanza before North Dakota added a pair of tallies in the final period.

Gates and the Gophers (1-1-1 overall, 0-0-0-0 Big Ten) struck first when the senior captain pounded home a rebound at 4:01 during a Minnesota 5-on-3 advantage. Sampo Ranta’s one-timer attempt caused the rebound while Rem Pitlick was also credited with an assist. Gates picked up his first goal and point of the season with the goal.

North Dakota (2-2-1, 0-0-0-0 NCHC) answered back later in the period when Colton Poolman scored at 14:11. Poolman struck again with a power-play goal at 10:14 of the third period to give UND its first lead of the night and force Minnesota to play from behind for the first time this year. Joel Janatuinen added an empty-net goal for North Dakota at 19:18

Minnesota was outshot 21-33 in the nonconference battle while penalties and several delays due to loose glass panels prevented either team from consistently building momentum. The Gophers went 1-for-5 on the power play while UND was 1-for-7.

Mat Robson took his first loss of the season, making 30 saves on 32 shots faced.

Minnesota returns to action next weekend with a non-conference home-and-home series against Minnesota State. The series opens on Friday, Nov. 2 at 3M Arena at Mariucci with the finale set for Saturday, Nov. 3 in Mankato. Tickets for the 2018-19 Gopher Hockey season can be purchased at