Minneapolis, MN – One step forward…
The evolution of this Gopher team under Bob Motzko is a process, and there are plenty of growing pains. Saturday night was one of them.
The Gophers (6-7-4 Overall, 3-2-3 B1G) fumbled a chance at their first sweep of the season, giving up a third-period lead to lose to a Ferris State team (5-14-1, 2-9-1 WCHA) that had not won a game since November 3rd.
Just like Friday night, Minnesota got on the board first, grabbing the first lead of the game at 5:22 on a Brent Gates power play one-timer from the right circle – the goal was nearly a carbon-copy of the power play tally Gates scored Friday.
The game remained 1-0 for almost 30 more minutes before another power play goal was scored by Ferris State’s Corey Mackin at 13:13 of the second. The Gophers answered back quickly when Nathan Burke scored on a power play breakaway off of a line change at 15:09 of the middle period.
Although Minnesota entered the third period with a 2-1 lead, Ferris State was able to tie the game quickly at 2-2 when Coale Norris scored at 1:47 of the final stanza. FSU’s Mackin netted his second of the game on the power play at 11:20 of the third to give Ferris State the lead with less than 10 minutes to play. The Bulldogs took a late penalty to give Minnesota a chance on the power play to tie the game, but FSU goalie Roni Salmenkangas was up to the task, stopping all 15 Gopher shots in the third (and 44 of 46 throughout the game) to seal the win for Ferris State.
Big Ten conference play kicks back into gear next weekend as the Gophers host Penn State. Friday’s game is an 8PM start and can be seen on ESPNU and streamed on Watch ESPN, while Saturday is back to normal with a 7PM game on FSN and Fox Sports Go.
“That one hurts.”
“We missed the net far too many times. I think we had point-blank chances where we could’ve got a lead and gotten that game won, but we let ’em hang around and we did a very poor job on the penalty kill… and that’s the hockey game.”
“We needed a 5×5 goal tonight.”
On Schierhorn’s play: He “gave us a chance. Made the saves early in the game. He did the things we needed to have done. The whole game turns right back on us not being able to score a 5×5 goal.”
“You have to give [FSU goalie Salmenkangas] a lot of credit. There were 46 shots. Even in the last nine minutes when we were down, we had quality chances to tie it up. We just couldn’t get the right stick on the puck.”
“Our penalty kill wasn’t great. We had letdowns again. There’s a lot of areas of the game that we still need to clean up. We did things right obviously, the shots show that, but at the end of the day if you want to be a big time team and take a step in the right direction you’ve got to find ways to win those games.”